Adventure: Because It Was There

Back at base camp, at 9,000 ft. on the Yukon Territory's Mount Kennedy, the mountaineer peered red-eyed through a three-day growth of beard, stripped to the waist in the — 10° cold, gave himself a rubdown with the contents of a cup of hot water. Then he settled down to a dinner of chicken soup, T-bone steak, instant mashed potatoes with butter, Madeira wine, vanilla ice cream and coffee. Shortly thereafter, New York's Democratic Senator Bobby Kennedy crawled into his sleeping bag for a nine-hour snooze.

Bobby had acquitted himself well on an exploit he had undertaken rather reluctantly. Months ago,...

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