Zapffe

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Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 28, 2012 - 12:40pm PT
Peter Wessel Zapffe - Norwegian climber, humourist and philosopher.

In the polar sea
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
Climbing Stetind
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 12:43pm PT
Climbing
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Dec 28, 2012 - 12:43pm PT
Talented man, but appears to have lost his sense of humour in the Polar Sea. Shares birthday with Stalin. Gotta be a jerk in every crowd.

Better?

EDIT: Kurt Vonnegut was a funny guy, too and he even cracked a smile now and then





Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 12:45pm PT
A short time before his death Peter Wessel Zapffe was interviewed.

In the interview he said that he during his time had been struggling a bit with the question about the existence of God. After a while the question had lost all interest to him. If he was forced to choose between calling himself religious or atheist he would choose atheist. It does not matter if there is a God or not.

Zapffe has a certain sympathy and is to a certain degree interested in Jesus, but in today's world we will have to see him as a psychopath - a person willing to die a terrible death on the cross because he believed he would become crown prince in heaven. It is evident that he must have been mad.

Being an old man, the only thing Zapffe has to meet death with is a silly smile - and that is the best he can do.

Zapffe is seeing the philosophy of nothingness as liberating. A death where you return to a nothingness or eternity that happened before you were born leaves no need for expectations and no fear for lurking evil. We just decompose and return back to the elements.

Zapffe says he has come to his inner pole where there is no advancement, no movement in the direction of progress. The inner pole is a condition of the soul where there is no possibility of getting longer in any direction, where nothing is the background for everything. This is also what he thinks about the condition of man in the world. Behind there is a large nothingness.

Human life can be seen as a theater - there are passions, striving and concerns - everything happens/everybody is stumbling around with a horizon of nothingness around. This is how it is - Zapffe says he can stand for that, the final answer is nothing, everything is nothing.

When we are first thrown into the world, sitting in it, we are doing the best we can. If we see the human world from outside, however, we will find no refuge in this.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Dec 28, 2012 - 01:00pm PT
His art reminds me of Samivel. I wonder if he was influenced by Samivel, or if his art developed independently. Do you know?

Zapffe is seeing the philosophy of nothingness as liberating

I share in his sentiments.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 01:04pm PT
Skiing
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
Sierra

I don't know. Zapffe read a lot and had his connections. There may have been an influence. There may also have been an influence the other way around. Z had a very distinct style.

zBrown

Every crowd needs a jerk or a rotation of jerks. Thanks to you and to Mouse! And thanks to every non-jerk and jerk in rotation.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
People in the northern part of Norway are known for their humour.

A couple of examples (in Norwegian):
[Click to View YouTube Video]
[Click to View YouTube Video]
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Dec 28, 2012 - 02:11pm PT

Sailing and climbing.

They just don't mix. Anybody that pursues both skills in the same life time is, well...
Simply put, grossly misdirected !
tiki-jer

Trad climber
fresno/clovis
Dec 28, 2012 - 02:42pm PT
You are right Tami, I see abit of Sheridan in there too.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 28, 2012 - 02:50pm PT
Well, said, TB.

Shipton and Tilman agree. One or the other...

As far as this thirties artwork goes (most of the way thru the war, for that matter), it all looks kind of similar in the pen & inkish mode. Cute mis-shapen figures, sweet and grotessque at the same time. Caricature to a large extent. And skill in rendering, generally.

Good thread, Marlow.

edit: Please note that I am being facetious in regard to S & T. My oold fantasy was to cruise the Chilean archipelago, but I found I hate brine.

ALSO, I thought I'd mention the similarity in looks between John Skaglund, a Camp 4 res in 1970, and PWZ. Just add a greasy down parka.
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Pebble Wrestling.... Badly lately.
Dec 28, 2012 - 03:24pm PT
Hmm, well I have been called misdirected before. I race sail boats and I climb. I think of sailing like being in the mountains. I like it best when the wind is howling. The difference is that I am lazy and don't have to work nearly so hard to get on a sailboat as I do to get high up in the mountains. Two passions in life are always better than just one.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 28, 2012 - 03:56pm PT
A bit of background about Zappfe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Wessel_Zapffe

Fascinating character. There's a route at Kolsås, outside Oslo, named Zappfe's Trap. Done in the 1930s, IIRC, and about 5.8 - good fun.

Arne Næss was in a somewhat similar vein, a philosopher-mountaineer. (That is, Arne senior, not Arne junior, the businessman-mountaineer.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arne_N%C3%A6ss

Marlow, where did the drawings come from? One of Zappfe's books, or the national library, or? It'd be nice to have a copy.
Borut

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dec 28, 2012 - 04:26pm PT
Zapffe is seeing the philosophy of nothingness as liberating. A death where you return to a nothingness or eternity that happened before you were born leaves no need for expectations and no fear for lurking evil. We just decompose and return back to the elements.

Zapffe says he has come to his inner pole where there is no advancement, no movement in the direction of progress. The inner pole is a condition of the soul where there is no possibility of getting longer in any direction, where nothing is the background for everything. This is also what he thinks about the condition of man in the world. Behind there is a large nothingness.

Human life can be seen as a theater - there are passions, striving and concerns - everything happens/everybody is stumbling around with a horizon of nothingness around. This is how it is - Zapffe says he can stand for that, the final answer is nothing, everything is nothing.
sounds like daoism
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 28, 2012 - 05:31pm PT
It's a pleasure to share. Thanks to all for the feedback!

The book - Barske Glæder - has been published many times before. It was first published in 1969 and was republished in 2012 with the addition of four essays and a lot of pictures taken by Zapffe himself.

Here is a link to the book on the web-site of the publisher - Cappelen Damm: http://www.cappelendamm.no/main/Katalog.aspx?f=10123&isbn=9788202363888

As a curiousity - the route mentioned by MH - Zapffe's trapp - route 13:

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Drawings by another Norwegian philosopher/ecosopher, climber and artist, Sigmund Kvaløy Setreng.

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
Drawings by Sigmund Kvaløy Setreng continued.

Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
Sigmund Kvaløy Setreng's take on Askeladden (The Ash-lad)
http://norwegianjournaloffriluftsliv.com/doc/sigmund_kvaloy_setreng_the_ash_lad.pdf

Askeladden with the queen, the king and the princess from Ivo Caprino's animation of the fairytale. Askeladden is the main person in many of the most loved Norwegian fairytales.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
"Peter Wessel Zapffe (1899–1990) was the philosopher, humorist and mountaineer, who wrote his Candidate of Law Paper in rhyme. During his studies in Oslo he made acquaintance with Arne Næss and learned climbing at Kolsås. Back in his hometown, Tromsø, he succeeded in more than 20 first ascents. Zapffe was an outstanding character in the Norwegian climbing scene with his many literary contributions and humoristic drawings. This is what he said about climbing “… a sport for individualists, original characters and outsiders. A sport related to other sports in the same way as champagne is related to bock beer, and for this reason it can never be a sport for the masses in Norway. And who could seriously think of bringing the masses to places with hardly enough space for one single seeking soul?”

Zapffe is especially well known for his literary descriptions of climbing. In several essays and stories he speaks subtly and humorously of his escapades in nature. His essay "Stetind" first appeared in the 1937 yearbook of the Trekking Association. The mountain is described as a giant, titan, majesty and horn of hell: "an anvil upon which the gods can hammer." "In 1904 Slingsby himself had failed to become the first to climb Stetind: "The ugliest mountain I ever saw. There is nothing like it in the world." A picture was taken of the peak in 1904 that crucially prompted the Norwegian climbing trio of Schjelderup, Bryn and Rubenson to become the first to ascend Stetind 30 July 1910.

Several of Zapffe's essays are collected in the 1969 book "Barske glæder" ("Rough joys"), among them "Stetind" and an extended, previously unpublished version of "Fire Korstog til Piggtind" ("Four Crusades to Mt. Piggtind"). This selection is regarded today as classics that opened the world of the mountains of North Norway. Through his writings Zapffe has united northern Norwegian humour with an authentic intellectual's clear thought and sharp pen. He himself never climbed Piggtind, in spite of his four attempts in winter to reach the top - the first time during Christmas of 1922. In fact, the first successful winter ascent of the peak took place as late as in 1971."

Fauske & Bruland
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