Author: Will Gadd
“The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun.” – Alex Lowe
A quote well-known and somewhat overused in the outdoors community that came from a truly great climber. But was he right? Is fun really what our outdoor experiences are all about and what we strive to get out of them? Will Gadd think there’s more to it than that…
In this article, Gadd talks of the well-known reputation of his friend Alex Lowe and his untimely death during an epic ski across the 8,000-metre Himalayan peak, Shishapangma. He says that Lowe had always believed in the philosophy of how our outdoor experiences are all about fun, but recites why they are so much more than that. Outdoor experiences are more like a religion in his mind; he doesn’t “camp-out at -40 without an RV for a week” because it’s fun, but for the experience, knowledge, and memories that it will give him. We all really do this, and although some of us may just call it fun, Gadd is right when he says that it’s mostly just false. When looking back over an adventure, you might consider it to have been fun in hindsight, but while it was being done you were probably in pain and distress of some sort because that’s essentially what these outdoor activities are all about. These things are decided to be done for the meaningful experience that they will grant us when we choose to do them, whether we are aware of it or not, and Gadd thinks that saying it’s for ‘fun’ doesn’t even nearly do that meaning justice.
This was a great read for me, as I think I’m quite guilty myself of thinking I have excursions all for the sake of fun and they have to be fun during the time that I have them. But thinking back, some of the most memorable moments I’ve had are ones in which I’ve had truly deep, unexpected adventures thanks to something somewhat unfortunate. So in the future I think that when I am planning on something and might start to second guess myself, fearing it will not be ‘fun’, I will hopefully remember this article and have that memory inspire me to go through with a new adventure for the experience and wisdom that adventure may grant me.
Gadd, W. Gadd’s Truth: Don’t Call it Fun. May 27, 2014. Explore Magazine. Recovered from: http://www.explore-mag.com/Gadds_Truth_Dont_Call_it_Fun on June 1, 2014.