Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mountaineering video

This is an hour-long video, so I'm not sure I'll last through it, but Tommy found it and his tips are usually solid, so there it is if you're just a little interested in climbing.
Warning: 7-8 minutes in he talks about a fatal accident in such gory detail that it made my stomach turn.

The picture here is of a mound made of the dinner plates/bowls from the people who have died on mountain K2. Yep, mountaineering makes a lot of sense. :-)


Anonymous said...

Yes, those people are geniuses. Risk your life climbing a big rock. Makes sense.

Bronislaus Janulis said...

Living at the extreme of one's abilities makes more sense than cowering in fear and despair, though most, like me, are somewhere in between. From someone who has enjoyed armchair mountaineering.

Tommy said...

I thought I'd jump in here. While I certainly wouldn't attempt anything like this. I'll sit in the lodge in front of the fire with a beverage in my hand.

But, what I did get out of this was an amazing story of teamwork. How each international group was able to join together in this effort was absolutely wonderful. I'm sure this is the reason that he was asked to speak at Google.

Of course, this didn't occur on the Italian team, which I also found interestesting, "above 8000 feet you're on your own". That team was so disjointed that I don't know of any way they would have succeded.

neeraj said...

Thanks for sharing this video.

Living at the extreme of one's abilities ...

In my understanding that's a basic characteristic of "male energy": To explore and to expand the limits of the abilities, which you've got from existence as a gift, as your potential to come into bloom. (And "female energy" offers the spaces where to go into.) Individually very different. For women as well as for men, because everybody is an individual mixture of female and male energies.

Life is a walk on razors edge, and the most important thing is not to fall on either side: Neither "to cower in fear and despair", nor to overstretch your limits in a selfdestructive way. Or maybe better to say: One WILL fall again and again, but try to stand up after that (if still possible), until the balancing works, and go on. Like any child learning to walk.

Basically no difference whether you are doing this by means of the body e.g. in extreme sports, or by means of the mind e.g. as a scientist, or by using whatever tools as an artist. These are artificial distinctions. It's a deeply built-in spiritual quest, whether consciously or unconsciously. Of course, often mixed with ego-trips like "I am the first" or "I am the greatest", but that's human nature during the search.

Yes, those people are geniuses... in their own way, I agree. Even if I'm (or was) not doing THAT. (Some decades ago, I was climbing a lot in the Alps, the highest peaks were about 4000 m, mostly alone, I didn't know why exactly, but trying to explore what I could do without any tools like hooks and ropes and with light shoes in order to be able to feel the ground better, maybe pioneering a little bit the so called "free climbing", which was not yet existing at that time. And I agree too, that it was sometimes dangerous not to have a team around. But a big challenge to be aware every moment, or being finished.)

(Captcha "stance" ;-)

eolake said...

I agree with "Living at the extreme of one's abilities", but for me if you put yourself in danger, it should at least be in a productive way, not just to Feel Alive.

Bronislaus Janulis said...


Who decides that climbing a mountain is not "Art"?

eolake said...

Mmmm, I think art needs at minimum to have an audience.

Bronislaus Janulis said...


Your comment seems to imply, based on what I said, that risk is the important part, whereas the reading I have done would indicate, as Neeraj said, that it is similar to the quest for the infinite in art and spirituality.

Bronislaus Janulis said...

But mountaineering has a huge audience of mountaineers, arm chair and otherwise.

As an artist, I know that certain sublime moments of creation will go unnoticed and unheralded, so I would say that an audience is not that important a part of the equation. Appreciated if it comes, but not relevant to creative act.

eolake said...

It might well be that I just don't understand it.

Anyway, for me art is at essence communication, and you need a sender *and* a receiver to have communication.

hank scorpio said...

Living at the extreme of one's abilities makes more sense than cowering in fear and despair

It's not cowering in fear because you decide not to pointlessly risk your life. You really are one of the least intelligent people on Earth, Bron. I'd heard that but couldn't believe it. I hope you don't have kids. Don't pass on those genes.

Jimbo said...

It does seem kind of pointless to me to risk your life attempting something like climbing a big rock, especially since that body and mind can be so easily fooled. When you go on a rollercoaster, you know nothing's going to happen to you, but your body doesn't know that. It's tricked, so you feel the thrill.

Anyway, I was reading in an issue of Scientific American Mind that there's something wrong with the brains of these thrill seeker types. I'll have to go back and find the article to see why, but basically ordinary thrills don't do it for them, they need a bigger hit to feel what a normal brain can feel through normal, non-death-defying challenges overcome.