Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Journal 9

Mike Fanning
Journal 9

"If you chronically avoid what you feel, eventually you do not know what you are feeling at all"-Steven Hayes, ch. 9

When working with a highly traumatized population, feelings, or rather avoidance of feelings, tend to pose the biggest challenge.  These people will do whatever they can to avoid going into this dark, murky, and sometimes terrifying place. They will turn to drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, interloping, and other addictive activities to keep their minds occupied.  If they do this, they can escape the pain.  I run into this constantly when working with my high school students.  All of them have a history of complex trauma, including severe neglect, physical, mental and sexual abuse.  I know I have spoken about this ad nauseum but it is just so relevant to the ACT approach. I had an incident this afternoon with a student with a complex trauma history, including domestic and physical violence, in which this 15 year old female was looking to fight another 15 year old girl. I have worked with her for just about a year now, trying to help her recognize the physical and mental cues that will signal to her that she is about to "go dark." (Going dark is when she blacks out and goes into a blind rage and trauma reenactment.)  She will strike anything that is in her way and she screams a scream that few people should ever have to hear.  I could see her begin to pace in front of this other girl today, and I knew right away that she was about to get to the point where I would lose her.  "Jackie*," I said.  "It's happening.  Can you feel it?  Jackie, what do you feel right now?" Jackie, it's Mike. Can you feel your feet on the ground? 
I had her.  For a few moments.  And then she was gone.
Her rage was so intense that when another administrator and I attempted to push her back into the front office to get her safely away from the other girl, she punched me four or five times in he stomach trying to get past me to fight the girl. She went into the principal's office and put a hole in the wall and screamed bloody hell.
I consider this progress, believe it or not. In the past when I have worked with this girl, she couldn't even acknowledge my presence when I would try to thwart her fighting efforts. This time, she stayed with me for a few moments, and for me this is so positive. From an Act perspective, I was trying to help bring awareness to her bodily experience as she was beginning to slip into her trauma response.  I will continue to do this with her both on and off the battle field.  I am confident that with persistence and patience, we can bring her to a place where she can recognize when she is about to hit the point of no return and able to turn back.  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Until Next Time

So that's it! Another summit for the books. Writing this from the
comfort of an Anchorage hotel room, I am reveling in the amenities I
almost always take for granted, i.e. a big bed, shower, pillow, etc.
Thinking back on the expedition, I realize that the physical aspect of
mountaineering is one thing, but the true challenge, at least for me,
was the mental stamina needed to succeed. One of our guides put it
best at the end of the trip: "I like mountaineering because it's
uncomfortable." I couldn't agree more. The rewards of enduring such
hardships are what makes it all worthwhile. Pulling together as a
team, looking out for each other, and standing on top of some of the
world's highest peaks is simply an unbeatable combination. I am
extremely lucky to have had these opportunities. I hope you all will
stay tuned for the next adventure! Thanks for following. Mike Fanning

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And Back to Base Camp

At 11:43 AM Alaskan time, Mike and team appear to have made their way back to base camp on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier and are likely awaiting their turn to fly off back to Talkeetna.  It's a amazing how fast you come down off that mountain that took weeks to climb!

Official Alpine Ascents Dispatches

For your reading pleasure, I've gathered all the dispatches from Mike's team here from the Alpine Ascents cybercast page:

June 13, 2010 - Team 9
This is Alpine Ascents Team 9. We are at the airport and we are looking forward to flying in. There’s no telling what the weather is going to do. It’s been raining, it’s been storming, then we had some sunshine coming through and now it’s cloudy again. The pilot’s looking up right now looking for a place to fly through so we can actually go in and start at basecamp. So if that comes to pass we’ll be right on schedule. We’ve got team members Jim, Bill, Brent, Brent’s brother Sawyer, Suzanne, and myself, Vern, and then Ben Jones is co-guiding with me and it looks like it’s going to be an all star cast so please stay tuned and see what happens and see how everything transpires and find out whether we make it in tonight. Shout out from team 9, we’re looking for a new name but you’ll be able to find us here on your favorite cybercast channel,!

June 17, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Alpine Ascents team 9, also know as Sawyer and the Monoslavics. We are now at 9,853ft about sea level and we’re digging a cache. Everybody is in good health and good spirits. It’s snowing and blowing to beat the band and we can’t see where we’re going so we’re making home right here. We’ll come up from Camp 1 tomorrow and then Camp 2 here. So please join us and stay tuned for the further adventures of Sawyer and the Monoslavics. That’s all for now.

June 18, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, This is team Bret and the Boys high on the flanks of Mt. Denali. We’re thinking we’re around 9,600ft. We can’t really tell because there are still too many clouds but we’re starting to get a little bit of a view and everybody is really excited [transmission garbled]. Ben has made us a great dinner and everyone is now celebrating with fig newtons and camera shots. Big smiles all the way around. Okay ladies and gentlemen, join us tomorrow for the further adventures of Bret and the boys.

June 20, 2010 - Team 9
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Suzanna and the White Mountain Boys calling in from 10,000ft high on the flanks of Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali, the Great One. We had a wonderful evening last night, had pizza, and everyone slept quite well. Woke up this morning and it was clear enough where we could see some of the mountains around us; it’s beautiful up here. We are just getting ready to move up around the corner out of Kahiltna pass. Wanted to make sure we got our last call in for a few days. (...Transmission garbled...) everyone else here is doing well. Stay tuned for the further adventures of Suzanna and the White Mountain Boys.

June 21, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, This is Big Jim & the Prospectors, Team 9, and we are now at windy corner. It is a beautiful day, we can see all 13 peaks of Hunter sticking out. We can see all the way down the Kahiltna Glacier, Peter’s Dome, and Mt. Foraker sticking out. Beautiful day, wish you could be here, we’re working hard. We’ve got sleds full of food and fuel, we’ve got backpacks that are loaded down to the gills, and we’re just moving our cache up around the corner. The weather has been very cooperative the last day or two. Before that we had some nasty, snowy, windy weather but all that seems to have vaporized and everybody is enjoying the view and taking lots of photographs. We are planning on coming up from 11,000 to 14,000 tomorrow depending on how people feel, if they are acclimatizing well, and on what the weather is doing. The weather currently looks good and we can see the top of McKinley from the corner here, it’s beautiful and bold today. So, like we said we wish you could be here and know that we are thinking of you. Have a Happy Solstice. Ciao for now from Big Jim & the Prospectors.

June 23, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, This is team Buffalo Bill and the Cowtown Kickers. We’ve moved our cache up to 14,200ft. We’re sitting in a beautiful [transmission garbled]. It’s beautiful up here and we can see the clouds below. We’re feeling good and everybody has been enjoying life. We’ve got some sunbathers here. We’re all acclimatizing, that’s what we’re doing today. We also want to send out our sincere good wishes (...transmission garbled...). Our thoughts are with you. Ciao for now, talk to you tomorrow.

June 24, 2010 - Team 9
Good evening friends, family and loved ones this is the Dementos checking in from 14,200 high on the flanks of Mt. McKinley. The sun is going down and so are we but we just wanted to tell you what we are up to. Today we were up to 16,200, do you know why we say 2 because it is a 100 feet higher than 16,100. We buried our cache up there of food and fuel and we are hoping to take a rest day tomorrow and then be reunited with our food and fuel as we go to camp 17,200. Anyway we are going to bed and so should you ciao for now brown cow.

June 25, 2010 - Team 9
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones, This is team Transmission Garbled calling in from 14,200ft. The gang is doing well; we had a big day of rest, relaxation and acclimatization. First things first, we got up early this morning to look at the edge of the world. But there were clouds there so we all lay in for another hour. We had a huge breakfast of French toast, excuse me, Freedom toast, and then we had a great sled down death hill. After that, it was lawn darts and bow and arrows. Fortunately, the saner people took a nap and the young ones, myself included, went around throwing things at each other for hours on end. A great way to acclimatize, I highly recommend it. There’s nothing like catching an arrow in the back when you are trying to gasp for your breath. We are currently enjoying Ben’s fabulous pizza, sitting in the hole in the snow, and giggling a lot. Ciao for now.

June 27, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there this is Paul Koubek from Alp 10. I’m calling in the cybercast for Vern Tejas from Alp 9. Vern’s group is currently up at high camp, 17,200ft, and they are finding that they don’t have cell communication from there. So he asked me to relay by radio the message that his group is doing great there. Today is Sunday and they are planning to go for the summit Monday, weather permitting, and the forecast is good. They made the move on Saturday and spent Sunday resting. Thanks for following the cybercast, Paul Koubek signing off on behalf of Vern Tejas.

June 28, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, Standing on top of North America, it’s a spectacular day up here and [transmission garbled]. Thank you so much for following along with us. We’ve been having a very fun adventure. We got stormed in the other day and we missed a birthday for Audrey because we didn’t have contact. We were in a big storm hunkered down and we couldn’t get out that day but Happy Birthday Audrey and congratulations to the whole team. Well done guys. So we should be down to the airstrip in a couple of days. We won’t be in telephone communication for a while but we’ll try to fly out as soon as possible. We’re looking forward to seeing all of you guys. Love ya, ciao ciao for now from the top of North America.

June 29, 2010 - Team 9
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is team Happy Campers coming down from the summit. We were successful yesterday on the top of North America, everybody is still intact and happy. We descended down to 14,000ft, lost our ski poles in the snow that had accumulated while we were up high. A little bit of slough avalanche covered them up. However, [transmission garbled] they were able to uncover all of our ski poles. So were down at 14 and headed to 11.2. That means if we get to 11.2 early enough tonight we’ll be pushing on early in the morning to basecamp and the airstrip. So hopefully we could be getting out of here in the next 24 to 48 hours if the weather permits. Otherwise, we’ll be out of communication until we actually fly out. Stay tuned to the further adventures. Ciao ciao for now, bye bye.

June 30, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Ben Jones, Vern Tejas, and the greatest team ever calling from Talkeetna, Alaska. We’re off the mountain! It worked out quite easily. We got up this morning about 2 o’clock, ate a quick meal, packed up and headed down the glaciers. It got pretty interesting there towards the end, lots of crevasses inviting us in. However, persistence persisted and we got up to the airstrip. Fortunately we got to use the low one and we spent two hours organizing and snoring and then Paul from TAT came and picked us up and we’re now heading to whatever restaurant serves breakfast. So stay tuned to the further adventures of the greatest team ever!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Wow.  According to the latest SPOT update - Mike and team reached the summit about 5:54 PM Alaska time.  Nice work!!

On their way to the Summit!

I corrected the previous data error and Mike and team are moving their way up to the summit.  Looks like they cleared Denali Pass (18,200 ft.) just about 40 minutes ago.

Bad Data

Looks like the SPOT personal locator tracking device that Mike is carrying reported some bad data on the slope up to Denali Pass this morning.  I will correct that later.

In the meantime --  Mike is making his SUMMIT PUSH right now.  Go Mike Go!