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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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