Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers

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Mountaineers Books, 1995 - Sports & Recreation - 256 pages
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If we are fascinated by adventure, we are even more inspired by adventurers. Are any more intriguing than the men and women who risk life, limb, and sanity to scale rocky pinnacles or stand on icy summits? Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers brings us closer to understanding those for whom climbing is the ultimate form of self-expression. These in-depth interviews with seventeen of the world's most innovative and accomplished climbers illuminate the influences, events, and philosophies that have shaped their immensely personal approaches to climbing. O'Connell asks the questions we might of pioneers Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Voytek Kurtyka, Catherine Destivelle, and others: What first inspired them to climb? How do they garner the resources - physical, financial, and emotional - to continue climbing? How do they cope with success, failure, and the danger inherent in the sport? What do they feel about their contributions to climbing? Their candid answers reveal a range of opinions on ethics, motivations, fellow climbers, and the future of mountaineering. The climbers reflect on the turning points and milestones of their lives, what they feel are the accomplishments of their contemporaries, and where they themselves fit in mountaineering history. Through these interviews, we learn that the world's leading climbers did not set out to become so; only by following their passions did they inadvertently come to define technique, style, and achievement. What emerges is that despite vastly differing life histories, generations, and nationalities, the experiences of success, disappointment, fear, and tragedy inextricably bind all mountaineers. As they describe their brushes withthese heightened states and emotions - these episodes of fully living life - we may begin to develop a deeper understanding of the passion that underpins this richly rewarding and challenging sport.

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About the author (1995)

Nick O'Connell is the author of several books, including "Beyond Risk: Conversations with Climbers" and "On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature". His writing has appeared in "Newsweek", "Outside", "National Geographic Adventure", "Conde Nast Traveler", the "New York Times", the "Wall Street Journal", "Sierra", and many other publications.

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