Thoughts Worth Thinking

“Because it’s there.”  –George Mallory, when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest.

“There are only three real sports; bull-fighting, car racing, and mountain climbing.  All the others are mere games.”  -Ernest Hemingway

“Pretty places are good for the soul.”  -Lester Zook

“The best climber in the world is the one who’s having the most fun.”  -Alex Lowe

“It’s a round trip.  Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory.”  -Ed Viesturs

“Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence.”  -Hermann Buhl

“Good judgment comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgment.”  -Evan Hardin

“To the sober person adventurous conduct often seems  insanity.”  -Georg Simmel

“Climbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an inner tube; there are some things one would rather have done than do.”  -Edward Abbey

“There is probably no pleasure equal to the pleasure of climbing a dangerous Alp; but it is a pleasure which is confined strictly to people who can find pleasure in it.”  -Mark Twain.

“In the mountains there are only two grades: you can either do it, or you can’t.”  -Rusty Baille

“The risk inherent in climbing such mountains carries its own reward, deep and abiding, because it provides as profound a sense of self-knowledge as anything else on earth.  A mountain is perilous, true; but it is also redemptive.  Maybe I had dimly understood this when, as a rootless boy, with no earthly place to call my own, I deliberately chose the iconoclast’s rocky path of mountain climbing.  But in this moment of pure clarity I realized that ascending Everest had been, for me, both a personal declaration of liberty and a defiant act of escape.  Now, suddenly, I felt an inexpressible serenity, a full-blooded reaffirmation of life, on Everest’s icy ridges.”  –David Breashears, from his book High Exposure.

“Danger in the mountains is a reason not to climb, but it’s also a reason to climb.  It’s not thrill seeking.  Accepting risk means you gain immediate direct control of your life.  It forces open your senses and puts your mind into sharp focus.  You become a keen observer of nature’s grand design and quiet nuances–the sights and sounds on which your survival depends.  Thoughts and actions take on real-time intensity that’s rarely achieved off the mountain.  Risk is essential to the spirit of climbing.  It’s what elevates it above sport.”  –Kenneth Kamler, MD from his book Doctor on Everest.

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