The Quotable Climber: Literary, Humorous, Inspirational, And Fearful Moments Of Climbing

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9781558217188: The Quotable Climber: Literary, Humorous, Inspirational, And Fearful Moments Of Climbing
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A collection of quotations on such topics as spirituality and nature, accidents and epics, humility, female inspiration, outsiders, and famous climbs

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Review:

Jonathan Waterman says his parents were his motivation for putting together this collection of hundreds of climbing quotes culled from dozens of mountaineering sages, in that he was never able to explain to them adequately as a boy just what the appeal was, and why it wasn't some crazy kind of death-wish stunt. To quote Waterman (this is a book of quotes, after all), "If climbing were merely an accepted and televised sport--in which the spectators never asked why--the literature would not be so tall." If only he'd had Tom Patey's line handy at the time, he could have told them, "The sensation is akin to coasting down the motorway after being held up at every set of traffic lights in Glasgow." And while many of the quotes are not exactly the sorts of pithy responses likely to quell parental fears, they speak volumes about the drives, risks, rewards, and experiences of mountain climbers the world over.

Organized by categories such as soloing, spirituality, accidents, summits, hubris, and humility, the quotes range from the religious to the obscene. Says Naomi Uemura on why she goes solo, "In all the splendor of solitude ... it is a test of myself, and one thing I loathe is to have to test myself in front of other people." H.W. Tilman expresses climbing's irresistible appeal ("No pay, no prospects, not much pleasure"). Ed Drummond describes what dedicated climbers have to look forward to ("My puffed and bloody knees, ripe from the night, softly exploded in crimson berries on my dirty trouserless legs"), while Elizabeth Knowlton's summation ("Naked of life, naked of warmth and safety, bare to the sun and stars, beautiful in its stark snow loneliness, the Mountain waits") goes a long way toward elevating the urge from some silly adolescent impulse to a laudable, worthy, and lofty pursuit. --Stephanie Gold

From the Back Cover:

In The Quotable Climber, one of our preeminent adventure writers has collected some of the most fascinating, evocative, and humorous comments on the subject into one volume. In these pages you will find pithy sayings from the best writers in the field - Jon Krakauer, Heinrich Harrer, Maurice Herzog Joe Simpson, Miriam Underhill, and Peter Boardman, to name a few - as well as obscure and uncensored witticisms from the many world-class mountaineers known more for their climbing than for their tact. In addition, there are observations from notable non-climbers such as William Shakespeare, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Albert Einstein, D. H. Lawrence, and Theodore Roosevelt.Derived from hundreds of books, as well as magazines, journals, the Internet, remembered lectures, and even videotapes, these entries proffer one-of-a-kind insights into the romanticism, motivation, and discipline of climbing. With selections that explore the tragedies and triumphs as well as acts of profound will and sacrifice, this is truly a book that will both inspire and enlighten. (5 7/8 X 6 7/8, 260 pages, b&w photos)

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Publisher: The Lyons Press, 2002
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