After a few minutes, the small talk faded. Worries went unexpressed.
“When you’re up on top of a peak like that, it’s usually hang out for a second, and then it’s momentum,” Castillo said. “You just kind of feel it. Everyone’s like: ‘O.K., we’re not here to hang out. Let’s start going.’ So I saw people starting to slide, get going, and I was like: ‘Hey, Johnny, partner up. Buddy system. Let’s go. Me and you.’ And at that point, it clicked. Everyone’s like, yeah, partners, partners, partners.”
It is a tenet of avalanche safety, and the command snapped the group to attention.