Saturday, September 23

Reminder - Objectives of "8000m and above"

My achievements versus my objectives will also be evaluated in the next
couple of days...

Herewith a reminder of what my objectives were:

• Go high
• Experience the freedom of the hills
• See the curvature of the earth from land
• Get to an 8000m summit
• Sleep above 8000m
• “Enjoy life” as Mallory said
• “Dare Mighty Things” as Theodore Roosevelt said

1 comment:

    We have just heard from Hoseman at Camp 1 (6400 m). He is coming down the mountain!
    - and we are mightily relieved. We immediately send SMS to his Thuraya satellite phone:

    1 - Well done! You have successfully ascended 5 of the 7 highest peaks of each continent –
    2 – Europe Elbrus 5642; America N Denali 6194; Antarctica Vinson 4897; Australasia Carstensz 4884; Africa Kilimanjaro 5895 –
    3 – Congratulations too on displaying sense and sensibility. You still have your wits about you.

    You might ask “Why are you relieved”? That would take some explaining.
    Reading between the lines, I gather this is the question Hoseman has had to field most often: WHY? (Yes, even from me!) Why carry all that gear when you’ve got all those Sherpas? Why endure all that loneliness when you can join an expedition and share the experience? Why do it? Etc etc.
    The fact is that this is a real, not a ‘play-play’, world. We are still reeling from the news of the untimely death of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Man. We are mindful of another eccentric, Maurice Wilson, who (aeons ago) was compelled by a powerful urge to climb Mount Everest unaided. He was truly committed to the extent that he bought himself a little bi-plane and taught himself to fly – from England to India. After a series of daunting setbacks and adventures and accompanied by two Sherpas he eventually got to the slopes of Everest. But dedication and commitment wasn’t enough. Eventually his devoted and trusted Sherpas were obliged to turn their backs on him and Wilson died alone on Everest of starvation and cold. A year later (1935) Eric Shipton and party found his desiccated body which they wrapped in his shredded tent and buried in a deep glacier crevasse.
    Such commitment and dedication does not of course always and inevitably result in failure. Master mountaineer Reinhold Messner succeeded in climbing Everest unaided in 1980 at the age of 36 years. This is the man who at 20 years had climbed most of the Dolomites and Western Alps. At 25 he summitted a 6500m peak in the Andes and a year later climbed Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas.
    In this context his respected views have a pertinent relevance. During his ascent of Everest with Peter Habeler in 1978 he began to ask himself the same question “Why?” All the mountain meant to him then was a terrible compound of punishing days, metres to be climbed and stresses to be endured. It took him many years to recover and for the mountain to regain its mystery. He came up with the following views:

    ”Men simply cannot resist exercising and stretching to their fullest extent the faculties and aptitudes with which they each happen to be specially endowed.
    One born with an aptitude for painting is dull and morose and fidgety until he can get colours and a brush into his hand and start painting.
    Another is itching to make things – to use his hands and fashion wood or stone or metal into forms, which he is continually creating in his mind.
    Another is ever pining to be on a public platform, swaying the audience with his oratory and playing on their feelings as on a musical instrument. Each has his own inner aptitude, which he aches to give vent to and bring into play.
    And, more than this, he secretly owns within himself an exceedingly high standard – the highest standard – of what he wants to attain along his own particular line, and he is never really content in his mind and at peace with himself when he is not stretching himself out to the full towards this high pinnacle which he has set before him.”

    In time, this highest standard manifests itself in Messner too – nothing less than a solo attempt on Everest! He succeeds in this quest but, rather than a ‘conqueror’, he says he was a ‘gambler who was lucky.’ Now he says: “I can’t step up my performance any more. I know that in recent years I have reached my limit several times, if not overstepped it. I would be a fool if I did not recognise this.”

    Like me, Reinhold Messner enjoys his Cat Stevens:

    ”Miles from nowhere
    Guess I’ll take my time,
    Oh yeah, to reach there.
    Look up at the mountain I have to climb,
    Oh yeah, to reach there.
    Lord my body has been a good friend,
    But I won’t need it when I reach the end.

    Miles from nowhere,
    Not a soul in sight.
    Oh yeah, but its alright.
    I have my freedom,
    I can make my own rules,
    Oh yeah, the ones that I choose.”


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