Whymper Bowman


Was an renowned explorer, and a member of the Eldritch Explorers’ Club, for climbing mountains in reverse. His technique was ingenious and silly: he would jump out of an aircraft and parachute onto the summit of a peak, and from there he would climb down to the bottom headfirst. He called this method ‘unconquering’ and claimed it was less patronising and imperialistic than making a normal ascent. In this manner he unconquered Ben Nevis on his eighteenth birthday, Mont Blanc when he was twenty and Aconcagua when he was thirty, progressing to higher and higher altitudes. On his fortieth birthday he successfully unconquered Mount Everest. After that, there was only Rum Doodle, which at 40,000½ feet should be better known than it is.
When he finally reached the base of Rum Doodle, touching the ground with the crown of his head, Whymper Bowman formally announced his retirement.
But a local porter mentioned that in the legends of his own people there was an even higher mountain to the north; known only as Madness Mountain, it was higher than Rum Doodle some of the time, because it kept changing its height according to its moods. It was a completely insane geographical feature.
Mr Bowman soon became obsessed with it and made preparations to add it to his impressive list of unconquests. Every time he was asked why he wanted to ‘climb’ an insane mountain upside-down, he gave the same answer, “Because it’s not all there.” That was his last adventure.
True, he successfully parachuted onto the summit of Madness Mountain; but at that moment it chose to quadruple its altitude and it rose out of the atmosphere, suffocating Mr Bowman in the freezing vacuum of space.

Information extracted from the story The Paradoxical Pachyderms.

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