Why Heinrich Harrer climbed mountains

208910Author of Seven Years in Tibet and one of the first men to ever scale the incredibly dangerous north face of Eiger:

“Let us grant courage and the love of pure adventure their own justification, even if we cannot produce any material support for them.

Mankind has developed an ugly habit of only allowing true courage to the killers.

Great credits accrue to the one who bests another; little is given to the man who recognises in his comrade on the rope a part of himself, who for long hours of extreme peril faces no opponent to be shot or struck down, but whose battle is solely against his own weakness and insufficiency.

Is the man who, at moments when his own life is in the balance, has not only to safeguard it but, at the same time, his friend’s- even to the extent of mutual self-sacrifice- to receive less recognition than a boxer in the ring, simply because the nature of what he is doing is not properly understood?

In his book about the Dachstein, Kurt Maix writes: “Climbing is the most royal irrationality out of which Man, in his creative imagination, has been able to fashion the highest personal values.”

Those personal values, which we gain from our approach to the mountains, are great enough to enrich our life. Is not the irrationality of its very lack of purpose the deepest argument for climbing?”

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Categories: Adventure, Mountaineering

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