I really wonder why people do this climbing thing


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john hansen

Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 6, 2013 - 12:41am PT
i used to climb a bit, it was fun and I made a lot of good friends, even free soloed a time or two ,, but,,

Steve House , one of the greatest climbers of his generation ,took a fall.
His body was totally wrecked, two pelvic fractures, with vertabre and ribs destroyed, so close to death. Too many climbers have come to this end. I know this will slide down the page into obscurity , because it deals with an unpleasant subject, but is it really worth it?
So many lives cut short. And so many terrible injuries.. with years of pain and rehab, and deaths.

Even the best can fall..


Sorry to be so cynical, I know Donini and Lowe have been safe through the years, but it seems cutting edge climbers seem to have a short life expentacy. And begginers face a sharp learning curve.

And for Werner, I know, that is the path they took, and I am OK with that. At 52 I am surprised I am still alive, with all the chances I have taken, and have started to tend to more sedate activities like trying to learn jazz guitar and planting seeds.

I have been a construction supervisor for the last 10 years, and I always thought, That will never happen. But now I start to wonder... What if it does??

Be careful out there..


Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:46am PT
The NUMBER 1 leading cause of DEATH, Is, LIFE!!!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:48am PT
on this planet, the penalty for death is birth

and death is the penalty for laziness, boredom and inaction

best to live a long interesting active life
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:50am PT
john, from my perspective some people (ones I've loved and love), actually Need to do what makes them feel alive, real. It is Life to them. Living in an office/work environment would be worse than death.

They are the ones that when this country was explored and discovered were the first out there. They are the ones that like Davy Crockett said, "Wife, I see smoke from a cabin. It's time to move on."

My heart goes out to the ones that love these men and women. You that love them have huge challenges, because they challenge you. But these people are truly among the most unique and special people I have ever lived with and loved. Lynne.
john hansen

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 01:18am PT
LL I understand why people take risk's. I used to do that all the time where your life was in jepradey. It was engaging and fun.

There are 7 billion people on this planet, and lots of people die every day.

Just hate to see a life cut short. Be careful out there

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:20am PT
You've got it backwards.

I do this sh#t TO live

That being said I have no plans on dying anytime soon...but then again no one does
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:26am PT

That's what I was trying to express.....
john hansen

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 01:32am PT
I have no plans of dying soon either. When I was climbing I never had a doubt I could make it. And I always did, just like most of the people here.

But..So many gone. It is a hard game they play.

Social climber
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:35am PT
Serious rehash here with this question - it has been asked probably more than any other single question across the board.

Got anything new to ask?

That being said, at least it IS CLIMBING CONTENT.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:35am PT
"Death is not the greatest loss in life.
The greatest loss is what dies
inside us while we live."

--Norman Cousins
john hansen

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 01:40am PT
Mister E,,

Do you have any links,?

Would love to see them

It would be a real drag to die bouncing off of a rock.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:41am PT
john, this is a thought from my perspective. Sure, they are gone but they went doing what they loved. That Is Huge!!

You want to live to be 90 years old being safe and never living your life goals? There are many sitting on a couch watching the tube that live to 90.

My husband and I joked about dying many years ago. He said he'd like to go off El Cap. I wish he would have. Better than F'nnnn dying after spending a month on life support in Intensive Care then having to pull the plug.

It's not always length of life. Quality has a huge part to play. lynnie from the heart.

Edit: sorry to post so much but feel strongly about this....it's a Dan thing.
john hansen

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 01:50am PT
LL, I agree, life is for living, I just wish every body could reach Luaria's age. I did not know he was older than Robbins..

The ST keeps on amazing.


Way out there....
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:56am PT

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:58am PT
I am a very risk averse climber. I am not bold. I do not like bold. It does not impress me. Not as it applies to putting your butt on the line anyway.

What impresses me is skill and control and decisions to BOLDLY back off, slow down when there is reasonable doubt and the myriad types of pressures to keep going or hurry.

I like systems and backups. I like identifying every point of deadly failure and putting in place simple practices, skills and awareness that negate their ability to bite you.

These are my favorite challenges in climbing. How do I get up what I want in the way I want, have fun and absolutely not die.

I had this approach from day one.

Yet I still can think of a few cases where I am alive due to too much luck. Where I screwed up and it did not bite me in the ass.

It's one hell of an unforgiving place to f*#k up.

But I still climb. Because cumulatively it's by far the most valuable, rewarding joyful and beutiful set of experiences in my life. I could throw away lots of things out of my life.. but the climbing would be one of the very last I'd choose.


Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Feb 6, 2013 - 02:04am PT
Asking 'why' gets you to a particular kind of answer.

Ask "how" it is that people come to do this climbing thing.
That asks a far more personal question, which hints at what you are saying.

I don't solo much these days either, and I'm not, nor have I ever been a high performing climber, but I crave the adventure. Being somewhere I have never been before. Seeing some section of rock I have never seen before. And having fun with friends while at the crags.

john hansen

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 02:05am PT
I thnk the downer is when one of your friends dies,

Have you ever had that happen to you?

Dont get me wrong I respect climbing,, I just don't do it any more.

It is a hard occupation with many rewards, but a lot of people die,

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 6, 2013 - 02:14am PT
Jeez john. You tread on harsh ground but I suppose it is a fair question.

I can only say this.. It's better than being the walking dead.. with no passion and great joy in life.

Absolutely 100% better than living a non-life.

Is there a safer way to live a spectacularly great life?.. probably millions of em.

But none of those ways chose me.

Another thought John.. How many lives have climbers saved? A ton of us do or have done SAR work most as volunteers. The very skills we risked our lives developing have saved the lives of non-climbers. In many cases only climbers could have done it.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Feb 6, 2013 - 02:39am PT
Thanks for the thread John. I won't bash you on it, as I think each of us has honestly thought about that question at least a few times.

There was a time when I tried to put into words why I do this "climbing thing." After a while, I came to the simple realization that I feel good when I climb, and I feel that something is missing when I don't. That's enough for me, without trying to unravel the psychology of 'Why." It seems to me that when I spend time trying to self-rationalize, I get wrapped up in things that have nothing to do with the question.

I haven't lost a close friend to climbing. But I started in aviation at a young age, and over the years I have lost about a dozen friends in aviation accidents. I can honestly say that over time, I lost my desire to fly, and a large part of that was due to the loss of so many that I cared about.

I can't say if I would respond the same in climbing though. I was never as happy while flying, or as successful, as I have been in pursuing my love of climbing.

I understand and accept the risks that are involved with climbing, and to me the reward out weighs the risk. I don't push my limits, because I am very happy with what I enjoy, which is mostly low level stuff. I take my time, and I minimize the risks to the best of my ability.

I also volunteer for SAR, and utilize the skills I have learned to help others - not only in SAR, but also to introduce others to the sport that have always wanted to try it, but need someone to spend the time with them and give them the opportunity. The fact that I can make a change in a persons life through my sport is a great reward for me.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 6, 2013 - 03:04am PT
I have seen so many preventable deaths in my life, only some of them from climbing.

Three kids from my graduating class were killed the night after high school graduation from drunken driving. In fact, out of a high school of 200 students, 6 had died from drunken driving before they got out of high school.

Then there's my experience in Nepal in a village where 40% of the children died before the age of 5. If only their parents had understood about germs and had the money to buy nutritious food.

I also worked in an American nursing home where people begged to die every day but we force fed them so they could go on living because it was the "humane" thing to do.

I've also lived through two wars where young kids, just babies really, away from their mothers for the first time, were sent off to die for reasons no one could quite explain.

There are many ways to die and climbing doesn't look like the worst way to go compared to these. Having said so, I personally believe that climbers with significant others should not take unnecessary risks. If you're into the thrill of that kind of danger, stay single and don't have a steady other. I think it's selfish to want to have it all, especially when the significant other(s) often have no idea about the danger until the worst happens.

The problem as I see it, is that climbers often don't recognize danger and even the best can have unanticipated accidents often from over confidence.

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