There’s not much I would add to this entry. It’s one of the most concise explanations I’ve ever managed to pen for why I climb.
2026 on May 7, 2014
I am feeling fucking strong and confident. One more week of this before I get on a plane to throw my best against a cold, icy, menacing route that cares little about my times on the bike or the number and intensity of my circuits. Mount Stuart has only to loose a single rock, open up one icy crevasse, or let slide one wet, cement-like slab avalanche, and my life will be snuffed out like a candle (and with about as much fanfare)…and for this, I love her, for it is only because of these risks, this rolling of the dice, that the endeavor is worth our striving.
Overly dramatic? Some would doubtless say so, and I would agree while sitting here in the safety of my apartment. But on the mountain, everything changes. On the mountain, the danger is palpable, and fear is a living, breathing thing. On the mountain, the grey landscape of existence transforms into the shimmering technicolor of survival. Suddenly, each decision matters, has consequence. All at once, the brain engages and links perfectly and inexplicably with instinct. Each choice on an alpine climb becomes, at some level, a matter of life and death. We roll the dice over and over, each time knowing that we are gambling more than we should – more than we can really afford to lose. But this…this is why we fucking climb. Not to die, but to risk death in order to feel truly, wonderfully alive.
I pity those who never know this feeling.