18 years ago today, my teammates and…

18 years ago today, my teammates and...

18 years ago today, my teammates and I scrambled about in the forlorn corners of the North Face of Mount Everest. I don’t think any of us harboured particularly high hopes that we’d find anything of great significance; we were there to find traces of a mystery from 75 years before. But as the twisted threads of luck and fate would have it, we found on that solemn morning the remains of George Mallory, one of the great and visionary climbers of his era, and of all time. Fast forward to today, and our community is mourning the loss of yet another visionary, Ueli Steck. I didn’t know Ueli well; we shared but a few cups of tea, lots of conversation, and laughter, on Everest in 2012. But I do now that his loss is much more then simply the loss of a climbing genius. Though their tools and techniques were far different – separated as they were by the passage of time and development of sport and ability – the underlying drive, motive, and passion was shared. When stripped of the pressures and perspectives of the press, and the statements and structures of sponsors, Ueli – like Mallory – I think was propelled by a true and profound love of the mountains, of the portal to self discovery and reflection they allow and, at times, force upon us. Their goals, while risky, dramatic, and tragic, we’re motivated by an underlying desire to push the boundaries of the possible to greater understand their – and our – role and place in this world. Like Mallory before him, Ueli’s abrupt and tragic passing will be looked upon by many as simply the logical outcome of a life on the edge. Perhaps so. But, I think there’s more to it than that. Most of the climbers I know, and choose to be with, do not embrace risk simply for the adrenaline, simply to tempt death. Underneath the seeming casualness, the at times cavalier approach to real consequence, is a deeper philosophy and process of thought which doesn’t make for good headlines and translates only seldom into the press and papers, but one of wanting to know where the edge of possibility lies, what this … MORE IN COMMENTS

Mount Everest

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About the Author : Jake NortonClimber, guide, photographer, speaker, founder of www.Challenge21.com, and - most importantly - husband and father.View all posts by Jake Norton

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