Saturday, May 3, 2003 Franconia Notch, New Hampshire
The constant thrashing of the Bigtop’s nylon walls from the relentless wind combined with the ripping staccato of McAnus’ amazingly loud snoring was annoying Vincentoli. He couldn’t take it any more. The sound of four feet of unzipping zipper followed by a blast of cold air awoke the rest of the team from their slumber.
“Hey, what’s the deal…?” Timur yells as Vincentoli staggers through the door of the Bigtop.
Marcus is equally annoyed by the rude interuption. “Shut the freakin’ door, yazzhole…”
“Where are you going?” McAnus mumbles from inside his down filled chrysalis.
“I’m outa here,” Vincentoli responds, “Your snoring is keeping me awake. I’m gonna set up my survival tent away from that buzz saw…” With that said, Vincentoli zips up the door and is off. The rest of the guys fall back to sleep while Vincentoli struggles to survive on the granite outcropping.
Vincentoli unrolled the tent and went to work setting it up. The last corner stake wasn’t going into the crack fast enough for Vincentoli and he reached for a nearby rock. With a sharp blow, the metal stake slipped neatly into the fissure in the well worn rock. The low rumble from deep inside the earth could be felt by the entire team.
Timur was the first to exit the Bigtop in a panic. McAnus was next, followed by Marcus still partially wrapped in his sleeping bag. Vincentoli was already running towards the top ot the cliff away from the edge. The rumble turned into a great roar as the ancient rock underfoot vibrated like the Magic Fingers of a No-Tell Motel bed.
When the HAE team stopped their scramble away from camp and looked back, the entire iconic rock face was gone.
Marcus was the first to speak after the rumbling of falling rock started to subside. “I knew setting up camp on the Old Man of the Mountain was a bad idea.”