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Death or the summit?

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Postby peladoboton » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:29 am

The Chief wrote:What is with all this summit or nothing shit any how.

Like any of us got into this game thinking that it was all about the summit or death... right?

Not this dude. It's all about the process for this poser, all about the process. The summit in most of my endeavors is no where on the agenda and not achieved. If the process line (route) happens to involve the summit, then there it be.

The process.

After reading and researching all these Big Mountain folks and their emphatic quest for the Seven Summits, the last week or so, will, I guess I am just a poser.

Believing in and living the process forces me to rethink this death thing. The process does not allow for the death deal being a part of the accomplishment. Listening to that little voice that has told time and time again to get the fk outta there so I can return another day and climb again, that is part of this process and what keeps me alive.

This process does not allow for the death deal. Thus, I am just a poser cus I am not concerned with the summit nor dying in the attempt to achieve it.


made me think of a quote from a guy who backed off of everest in 1980 three time before heading back up and making history...

"Put on your boots and get going. If you've got a companion, take a rope with you and a couple of pitons for your belays, but nothing else. I'm already on my way, ready for anything - even for retreat, if I meet the impossible. I'm not going to be killing any dragons, but if anyone wants to come with me, we'll go to the top together on the routes we can do without branding ourselves murderers." --Messner
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Postby Ejnar Fjerdingstad » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:03 pm

artirm wrote:Mountaineering is intrinsically irrational activity. There is no valid point in climbing mountains. Therefore, calling some behavior "stupid" or other "smart" is kinda out of place. It's utter stupidity to go there anyway. So, I guess "admire" is a good word. Yes, I do admire people who can conquer their own fear and press on. Plain lack of endurance hinds behind an apparent prudence way too often.


No more irrational than a lot of other things people do!
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Postby bergs » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:56 pm

"Mountaineering is intrinsically irrational activity."
I know what you're saying. I'm not sure if it is entirely irrational but, mountaineering, like other sports and games is done primarily for its own sake.

I read Viesturs's "No Shortcuts.." and while I admire his greatness as a mountaineer I found his story a little boring. He's a little too rational to be as interesting as some of the pioneers. He's like a machine. That's no knock against him but I'm talking more about life as a story and an adventure.
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Postby The Chief » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:15 pm

Dingus Milktoast wrote:I think of some of the classic mountaineering tales we all grew up reading and hearing. I still marvel at the shitty weather guys like Bonatti et al climbed up into ON PURPOSE.

Whether or not any of us has the stones, death or the summit has long been a fact, in this sport of ours. Not everywhere all the time... but those Golden Age blokes were some hard motherfuckers.

Sometimes too hard for their own good.

Ah but our tribe is stronger for them and the stories to which their tragedies produce.

I've been reading too much death and mayhem mountaineering stories lately - Joe Simpson's Beckoning Silence most recently, where he catalogs death after death as a way of examining his own growing sense of mortality and dread. Particularly the Norwand of the Eiger - death or the summit has long played its role.

I keep asking myself as I read those stories... (A Short Walk with Whillans remains to this day my favorite Eiger story)... WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???

Being first was worth risking it all, to a lot of those guys.

DMT


One difference here DMT, the gents you write about, you and your partners had the common sense to know your limitations and when & how to retreat/bail, together, safely, in order to return another day to climb.

Big difference.

That my friend comes with experience and truly is the rational side of this deal that many never achieve. They are too busy involved in their ego and in attaining the damn summit.

Modern day "Summit Fever" is deadly and is killing novices who have absolutely no business being where they are dying, plain and simple.
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Postby SoCalHiker » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:46 pm

I don't find anything admirable if someone still pursues his/her goal and death seems inevitable. Of course serious accidents and even death are almost all the time part of the equation if one climbs these mountains but it should never become the only possible outcome.
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Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:16 pm

SoCalHiker wrote:I don't find anything admirable if someone still pursues his/her goal and death seems inevitable. Of course serious accidents and even death are almost all the time part of the equation if one climbs these mountains but it should never become the only possible outcome.


In the military I was ordered on a mission that seemed terminal to me. I was sad realizing that that day was my day to die. There was also a lot of disbelief. We started our engines and taxied up to the catapult, and then the mission was scrubbed.

In climbing, you put yourself in dire situations voluntarily. The life-and-death struggle can be as taxing as anything you might encounter in war.

Mountaineering is indeed a strange sport.
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Re: Death or the summit?

Postby dan2see » Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:30 am

No I've never done "Summit or die". It seems like the ultimate stupid move, if you're talking about taking that choice, just for the challenge.

On the other hand, I'm sure a lot of climbers and scramblers have found themselves beyond the safe zone.

I have been in situations where I thought my next move would be my last. I was afraid that if I move, I'd die. But I knew that if I didn't move, I'd die anyway. So I moved. Only to find myself on yet more of this move and die, or don't move and die. It's an interesting feeling!

After it was all over, of course, my second-guess was that it never was as hazardous as my fear. But the important thing was how I chose to go on.

So my experience certainly is not what the OP is asking. But it tells you something about how a normal, sane climber would behave.



(Edit: Yes it's an old thread. Well sometimes it takes me a while to get around to doing stuff...)
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Re: Death or the summit?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:13 am

The Chief wrote:I have backed off tenfold times more than I have suceeded.


Me too

The Chief wrote:A very important part of that process is knowing when to turn around.


Totally agree.

There's a fine line between bravery and foolishness. Cross that line too many times and you'll pay the consequences and end up a gimp like me.

Once my partner and I had an agreement, "Summit or death." Well, when it came it came time for "death" on a long, difficult and frightening climb, our agreement seemed pretty silly and we bailed.
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Re: Death or the summit?

Postby lcarreau » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:08 pm

Man, I thought this thread was dead and gone. The ultimate question is ... can somebody come back from the dead ?

The answer is no ... so why not enjoy life to the fullest ???
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Re:

Postby TimB » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:33 pm

butitsadryheat wrote:I admire my cousin, who is a retired crop duster pilot. :wink:



Not many of those around! Kudos to your cousin.
:cool:
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Re: Death or the summit?

Postby DrGranola » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:57 pm

Why would anyone choose death over summit? I have to say, in my opinion (and most others as well) if you don't make it back down alive, it simply DOES NOT COUNT. Which, for me, ends the debate of Mallory and Irving Vs Hillary and Tenzing.
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Re: Death or the summit?

Postby dan2see » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:55 am

Actually, there's a lot to be said for determination. Resolution. Will. Guts.

Plenty of times, I've "chosen" to back off a challenge, because I felt the risk was building up. Sometimes I've picked some lame excuse, like I'm cold and hungry, or I'm moving too slow. Only to come back and score another time.

Sometimes it's some sort of mind-game? Recently, I started leading sport climbs. Anybody who has struggled to overcome that challenge would know how hard it is to start leading climbs. But once you get in the swing of it, it becomes fun. Still scary, but fun.

On my solo scrambles to the summit rocks, I usually get pretty conservative about route-finding. But then again, there's been times when I just kept pushing forward, despite the bad rock, despite the exposure, despite the fear. Well I made it, there and back again.

So what the hell is this "summit or die" thing anyway? I'm not sure I actually know.
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Re: Death or the summit?

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:48 am

dan2see wrote:So what the hell is this "summit or die" thing anyway? I'm not sure I actually know.

One of our particular resident SP members could perhaps explain it best. He's apparently also suing me for libel.
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Re: Death or the summit?

Postby toxo » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:44 am

mrchad9 wrote:
dan2see wrote:So what the hell is this "summit or die" thing anyway? I'm not sure I actually know.

One of our particular resident SP members could perhaps explain it best. He's apparently also suing me for libel.


I've heard the phrase "libel/defamation suit" so many times it has lost all meaning.
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