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Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing?

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Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing?

Postby blazin » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:18 pm

I generally find attempts to justify or explain the urge to climb stilted and unfulfilling, and in many ways this one shares those problems, but still an interesting question: "Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing?"

Do I, like Mallory before me, and no doubt countless generations of warriors before him and after, climb because, like the nameless 24 year old demobilized in March 1919 who applied to be on the first Everest Expedition, "feel stifled" in civilian life and following demobilization? Do we seek adventure to recapture the sense of purpose, mission, and camaraderie we may have found in war?


I know that we have a few veterans on SP, do you see any connection between your service and your love of the mountains?
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Re: Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing

Postby TimB » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:06 pm

I know one fellow that served in Afghanistan, Infantry(Ranger). He fell in love with the mountains there and said he would like to take up mountaineering when he retires from the Army.
My impression is that the mountains in the 'Stans gave him a sense of peace as well as provided him with a physical and mental challenge-as if being shot at by the Taliban wasn't challenging enough!
:shock:
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Re: Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing

Postby kylenicolls » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:37 pm

A few things in common: Depend on yourself and team, environment is less than hospitable in most cases, use your strength and sense and see what everyone else only see in photographs.

Speculation.
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Re: Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing

Postby phydeux » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:01 pm

I've rarely met a veteran while in the outback. Most of the veterans I know ( Vietnam and Gulf War I) have no desire to spend time outdoors in a sleeping bag inside a tent on a cold/rainy/snowy day eating reconstituted dry/freeze-dried food or MREs (Meals Rejected by Everyone); they did enough of that when they were in the military. They'd rather spend their time off of work in a nice hotel with plenty of amenities (a well-stocked bar seems to be high on the list of amenities).
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Re: Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:42 pm

I've met and climbed with two vets (one was wounded in the 'Black Hawk Down' battle in Somolia) whereas I have easily climbed with >100 software devs, scientists, lawyers, doctors, and academics of every stripe.
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Re: Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing

Postby Mountainjeff » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:48 pm

There has been a recent push by some groups to use climbing as a way to help iraq and afganistan readjust to civilian life and also as a way to help ones who have sustained life changing injuries. I believe it was this last spring that a group out of Lewis-McCord climbed rainier. Some of them had lost limbs and almost all had PTSD. It seemed to be a positive event for all of them. (I will try and find the article)
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Re: Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing

Postby lcarreau » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:12 am

As it turned out, I didn't see combat during the entire length of my military service ... I served in the Cold War.

But, I can emphasize with those who did see combat. They welcome the challenge of renewing their spirit, and the mountains give them the
opportunity to be all they can be, and perhaps (at the same time) give them a better insight on being themselves.
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Re: Why do so many combat veterans turn to mountain climbing

Postby SeanReedy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:23 am

Image

Empathic soul; I do have one!

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