This entry for illustration friday was inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's ode to untethered (possibly unhinged) heroism, Excelsior, the first stanza of which reads:
The shades of night were falling fast
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device -
Oh dear, I see I have left the exclamation point off...in any case, I was introduced to this poem in The Thurber Carnival, James Thurber being a domestic diety in my childhood home. You can see Thurber's own interpretation here. I think I made the climber a fair-haired Englishman because I had in the back of my mind the Scott expedition member Captain Oates who famously said "I am just going out and I may be some time". If you would like to see some actual icy expanses, Transient Lives has posted a virtual tour of a glacier in Patagonia.
Edit: Avid reader has commented that I left the L out of the banner. It was not intended to make the piece more editorial and is in fact an error...I will have to see if my conscience forces me to fix it in the course of the day, or I leave it as a happy accident. [Fixed]