SANTA ROSA BEACH-Cretonia Times-Picayune editor and all around wonderful guy Jerry Dickerson has acquired a cool new “Steep Tech” jacket from The North Face via the fabulous folks at Backcountry.com. During a phone interview with our ace reporter Bruce “The Coyote” Becker, Mr. Dickerson said that he will use the jacket on his summit bid on Mount Mediocrity later this spring.
Mt. Mediocrity is the highest point in Cretonia, towering a full 95 meters (312 feet) above mean sea level. (For our readers in Florida we are not saying that the sea is malevolent or parsimonious. Mean sea level is a datum representing the average height of the ocean’s surface and is used as a reference point for determining land elevation.) The mountain is considered one of the most dangerous in the southeast. It has been compared to K2 in level of difficulty, but a more apt comparison would probably be Mt. Suribachi in February of 1945. The slopes of the peak are littered with the corpses of climbers dating back as far as the mid 50’s. The mountain is considered too hazardous for teams to be sent in to recover the remains.
Mt. Mediocrity is considered treacherous and life threatening because of a series of deadly obstacles that any climber must conquer on the way to the summit. Unlike on K2 there are no multi-ton seracs waiting to crash down upon your head. However, a series of man-made (or more accurately cretin-made) horrors await the intrepid climber and threaten to deprive him of life and limb.
The only viable route up the mountain is via its north face and it is fraught with peril. First, one must make it through a gauntlet of brain-washed high school kids who come to Florida from all over the country to spend their spring break waiting to ambush the unwary with “come to Jesus or you will roast in hell for eternity” religious tracts. This terrifying prospect is usually enough to dissuade most adventurers, but it is only the beginning.
Once through the rabid teenage zealots, one must successfully negotiate the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Sniper Training Facility, which is located at the base of the massif. Deputies trying out for the coveted sniper positions within the department are known for their propensity to waste prodigious quantities of ammo firing wildly at anything that moves. This is because the officers are allowed to take home any meat they kill to serve for supper. The skeletons of deer, raccoons, possums, and even stray dogs and cats make the landscape look like something out of a horror flick.
Next the audacious climber must pick his way through an EPA Superfund site consisting of dozens of burned-out trailers that were once thriving meth-labs. Hikers who have ventured into this area by mistake have returned to civilization with running sores all over their bodies and scorched lungs caused by exposure to harsh chemicals.
But perhaps the most mortifying of all the hurdles one faces on the climb is the trip through the satellite graveyard of the nearby Florida School for Boys located near the summit. Here the restless souls of hundreds of delinquent teenage boys, murdered by their guards in bygone days, wander around seeking vengeance and some kind of justice for the maltreatment they experienced in life. The bones of the dead rest in elevated graves made of logs and branches similar to the structures encountered by Robert Redford in the movie Jeremiah Johnson. This is the area where most climbers come to grief.
Mr. Dickerson plans to make the ascent in what would be a record time of three days. The present record holder, Florida State Senator Bubba McDim of Panama City, took three weeks to make it to the summit in the spring of 2009. Once there he celebrated by planting the Confederate battle flag as a protest against the “first Muslim negra president of the United States.” If he survives the ascent Mr. Dickerson plans on replacing the Confederate banner with a flag combining the Greenpeace and PETA insignia on a background of the old Soviet hammer and sickle logo.
“I bought the jacket to wear as a shell as I make my final summit push,” said Mr. Dickerson. It is specially designed to keep out powder and the thing has all sorts of neat pockets on it where I can store essentials like my cellphone, Marlboro’s, and the latest copies of the Huffpost and Daily Kos that I intend to print-out before departure.” (Just what kind of powder Mr. Dickerson is referring to he did not specify.)
Although the ascent is considered almost suicidal by most members of the climbing world, if Dickerson makes it to the summit he will have no problem descending. The entire south face of the peak has been converted into a giant water-slide and cheap amusement park featuring tooth-rotting cotton candy, lukewarm draft beer, and a never-ending stream of hideous overweight women participating in wet t-shirt contests. All our editor will have to do is strip down to his Speedo and slide back to what passes for civilization here in Cretonia.
We at the Cretonia Times-Picayune wish him the best of luck.