Monday, April 14, 2014

Why We Climb: Piolet d’Or Honorees on the Value of a Life in the Mountains

By: Ian Welsted

Rating: ****



                This article is about the Piolet d’Or and the pride and respectfulness that go along with being a participant in the inherently anarchic sport of mountain climbing.  It provides a wise outlook on how things should be perceived and thought about in both the everyday life, and the unordinary life.  A delightful piece to read to say the least.


            The article starts off talking of a charter that has been written up by the organizers of the Piolet d’Or which emphasizes the spirit and sustainability of alpinism as well as provides some guidelines about respecting cultures and the environment.  Then is talked of a few winners at the Piolet d’Or; a Swiss speed climber by the name of Ueli Steck that pushed boundaries of what was thought to be possible on the South Face of the 8,000-meter Annapurna, and the two writers that wrote the article who climbed an unclimbed 7,000-meter peak in Pakistan.  It is through near death experiences that these climbers have had and all the wisdom that comes with it, stumbled upon was the idea that there’s no use going to the mountains and nature, if you do not return.  The era of the heroic warrior climber that climbs himself to death is over, and we must now find ways that we can sustain ourselves, like we do our environments.  Because the greatest thing is growing old with these memories, not just the memories alone.


            Personally, a bit of me fell in love with this article and thought.  As I plan on possibly trying to become involved with the climbing community and journalism along with it, it was great to see a piece that provided such thought-out inquiries and questions.  It then even goes a bit farther and gives the reader a moment to think on how the best part of their memories really is having the chance to grow and reflect with them.  It isn’t always just about life in the moment, but rather how those combined moments change you as a person.


Welsted, I. Why We Climb: Piolet d'Or Honorees on the Value of a Life in the Mountains. March 30, 2014. Beyond the Edge: National Geographic Adventure Blog. Recovered from: on April 14, 2014.

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