Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
yup, mountain climbing is a rather bad example of moral hazard. If the consequences of fall off a mountainside aren't enough to encourage you to take safety precautions, I'm not sure what will. And serious mountaineers are just plain nuts. A teenage memory burned in my mind:

An old college era friend of my mom's visiting, the two of them reminiscing over a few drinks. A yes, remember her, how did she die again; oh yeah that guy such a silly way to go; so how's he doing these days - avalanche, really... And on and on it went.  The kicker: a year later that friend was dead as well.  

by MarekNYC on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:31:04 PM EST
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Heinrich Harrer's definitive Eiger history, The White Spider. ... included, "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?"

 Shortly after the Italians died in 1938, Harrer himself made the first ascent of the Eiger's north face. He was perhaps the least experienced climber in what started as two rival teams of Austrians and Germans and merged into one rope of four. Anderl Heckmair emerged as their leader, and together they climbed brilliantly up the face in four days, the last two of which were spent in storm."


Yes, "mountaineers are nuts" :-)

Just came across this coincidence:

[Simpson, see Touching the Void above] discovered climbing after reading Heinrich Harrer's classic account of the first ascent of the Eiger North Face, The White Spider.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:51:35 PM EST
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My parents gave me the book as a Christmas present when I was eleven or twelve. Didn't quite have the same effect. I've done tons of hiking and some climbing and mountaineering but none of the serious stuff - too damn scary, not too mention too damn difficult - I have neither the head, nor the balance, nor the muscles for it.  That said, basic climbing is very safe - about the only danger is on a traverse where you can end up turning into a swinging pendulum and slam into some rock; that or at the very beginning if you're climbing lead.
by MarekNYC on Wed Apr 16th, 2008 at 02:53:35 PM EST
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