Are Mountain Climbers self-centred, self-contained, selfish and single-minded?

Are Mountain Climbers self-centred, self-contained, selfish and single-minded?

roger
roger

January 6th, 2002, 11:42 am #1

Here's an interesting article on competitive mountain climbing. Excerpt:
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Those unfamiliar with the lore of the hard men of the hills, and who feel more comfortable ensconsed in the relative anonymity of games played out on flat expanses of grass, find it hard to comprehend why some are born to risk their lives clinging on to cliffs and traversing crevasses – in driving rain and blinding snow in the middle of nowhere – slithery toe-holds and fingertips the only saving graces between life itself and being cast into the void below to suffer a sudden bruising and battering on the way to certain death.

What mere mortals fail to understand is that mountain men like Dougal Haston are self-centred, self-contained, selfish and single-minded, the antithesis of what is required in a successful team game. And when they do come together, as they must to scale the most difficult of peaks, the egos tend to get rubbed the wrong way. The peak can very soon turn into pique, and at the basic level in the climbing fraternity enmities are reflected in the rivalries between informal groups.

One such group in Scotland, the Creagh Dhu, founded in 1930, are eerily typical. According to Jeff Connor in his fascinating book on the Haston phenomenon, The Philosophy of Risk, their members cultivated an image as aggressive, anti-social hardos “for whom a smack in the mouth was as satisfying as a pint”. In such an atmosphere of raw rivalry and drunken scrapping, Haston and his mates made great strides.

http://www.sport.scotsman.com/home/head ... d=12752002
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Ken Akerman
Ken Akerman

January 7th, 2002, 9:52 pm #2

I disagree. Mountain climbers seem to me to have richly rewarding lives, and many are highly successful in life. They are healthier, have better health habits, and exhibit better relationships with people, and generally achieve greater accomplishments than people who don't climb.

Ken
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David
David

January 8th, 2002, 6:08 pm #3

Here's an interesting article on competitive mountain climbing. Excerpt:
-------------

Those unfamiliar with the lore of the hard men of the hills, and who feel more comfortable ensconsed in the relative anonymity of games played out on flat expanses of grass, find it hard to comprehend why some are born to risk their lives clinging on to cliffs and traversing crevasses – in driving rain and blinding snow in the middle of nowhere – slithery toe-holds and fingertips the only saving graces between life itself and being cast into the void below to suffer a sudden bruising and battering on the way to certain death.

What mere mortals fail to understand is that mountain men like Dougal Haston are self-centred, self-contained, selfish and single-minded, the antithesis of what is required in a successful team game. And when they do come together, as they must to scale the most difficult of peaks, the egos tend to get rubbed the wrong way. The peak can very soon turn into pique, and at the basic level in the climbing fraternity enmities are reflected in the rivalries between informal groups.

One such group in Scotland, the Creagh Dhu, founded in 1930, are eerily typical. According to Jeff Connor in his fascinating book on the Haston phenomenon, The Philosophy of Risk, their members cultivated an image as aggressive, anti-social hardos “for whom a smack in the mouth was as satisfying as a pint”. In such an atmosphere of raw rivalry and drunken scrapping, Haston and his mates made great strides.

http://www.sport.scotsman.com/home/head ... d=12752002
I agree with Ken. The article was scathing, there is the odd mountaineer with an inflated idea of him/her self, but look at soccer players (I'm from England,in the US Base Ball would be a better example). Climbing or mountaineering (at least for me) is a very personal thing. The joy of getting to the top (and back down again) is something that only people who have been to a top can relate to. My team helped me and I helped them but I got to the top and it is my acheivement first and then the success of the teams.

I've never had an argument or row on a mountain, if tempers frey it's because of the danger we are in not because I don't want someone there. I also feel that any competetiveness to climb a peak first is vastly over reported by the press, the days of Whymper and Carelle are long over. People who do compete (in mountain marathons) want to test themselves against other people and nature, they don't throw walking sticks to the floor tennis racket style if they don't win.

As for team work in a more personal sense; mountains have only ever strengthened teams, made friends and built characters.
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Jeffrey Cook
Jeffrey Cook

January 8th, 2002, 7:02 pm #4

Here's an interesting article on competitive mountain climbing. Excerpt:
-------------

Those unfamiliar with the lore of the hard men of the hills, and who feel more comfortable ensconsed in the relative anonymity of games played out on flat expanses of grass, find it hard to comprehend why some are born to risk their lives clinging on to cliffs and traversing crevasses – in driving rain and blinding snow in the middle of nowhere – slithery toe-holds and fingertips the only saving graces between life itself and being cast into the void below to suffer a sudden bruising and battering on the way to certain death.

What mere mortals fail to understand is that mountain men like Dougal Haston are self-centred, self-contained, selfish and single-minded, the antithesis of what is required in a successful team game. And when they do come together, as they must to scale the most difficult of peaks, the egos tend to get rubbed the wrong way. The peak can very soon turn into pique, and at the basic level in the climbing fraternity enmities are reflected in the rivalries between informal groups.

One such group in Scotland, the Creagh Dhu, founded in 1930, are eerily typical. According to Jeff Connor in his fascinating book on the Haston phenomenon, The Philosophy of Risk, their members cultivated an image as aggressive, anti-social hardos “for whom a smack in the mouth was as satisfying as a pint”. In such an atmosphere of raw rivalry and drunken scrapping, Haston and his mates made great strides.

http://www.sport.scotsman.com/home/head ... d=12752002
My observation is that so-called "team sports" are simply busting at the seams with egomaniacal hotheads, and I think it's inaccurate to suggest the sport of climbing is for some reason worse. I've known a few egotistical and overly competitive climbers who I won't share a rope or a backpack train with, but many more are decent, considerate people with whom you can comfortably trust your life.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

January 9th, 2002, 3:40 am #5

I disagree. Mountain climbers seem to me to have richly rewarding lives, and many are highly successful in life. They are healthier, have better health habits, and exhibit better relationships with people, and generally achieve greater accomplishments than people who don't climb.

Ken
I think that's a bunch of @#&&!@@!

Take it how you want. I think hard core climbers are self centered. They don't care about other people, only themselves. Let's see. How to begin? Well, a famous climber lost on Shishapangma in 1999 (former best friend of my ex husband's) ran off with my ex's first wife.

After years of marriage to my husband, (I fell in love with him partly because I felt so sorry for him, how his heart was broken before) he threw all caution to the wind and started screwing around with his new best friend's climber wife.

He got caught, lost everything and now is stuck with an aging, wrinkly, withering, lazy, ex wanna-be climber groupy.
I think they deserve each other.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

January 9th, 2002, 3:44 am #6

I agree with Ken. The article was scathing, there is the odd mountaineer with an inflated idea of him/her self, but look at soccer players (I'm from England,in the US Base Ball would be a better example). Climbing or mountaineering (at least for me) is a very personal thing. The joy of getting to the top (and back down again) is something that only people who have been to a top can relate to. My team helped me and I helped them but I got to the top and it is my acheivement first and then the success of the teams.

I've never had an argument or row on a mountain, if tempers frey it's because of the danger we are in not because I don't want someone there. I also feel that any competetiveness to climb a peak first is vastly over reported by the press, the days of Whymper and Carelle are long over. People who do compete (in mountain marathons) want to test themselves against other people and nature, they don't throw walking sticks to the floor tennis racket style if they don't win.

As for team work in a more personal sense; mountains have only ever strengthened teams, made friends and built characters.
There is no character in adultery. See above.
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Dave C
Dave C

January 9th, 2002, 3:56 pm #7

I think that's a bunch of @#&&!@@!

Take it how you want. I think hard core climbers are self centered. They don't care about other people, only themselves. Let's see. How to begin? Well, a famous climber lost on Shishapangma in 1999 (former best friend of my ex husband's) ran off with my ex's first wife.

After years of marriage to my husband, (I fell in love with him partly because I felt so sorry for him, how his heart was broken before) he threw all caution to the wind and started screwing around with his new best friend's climber wife.

He got caught, lost everything and now is stuck with an aging, wrinkly, withering, lazy, ex wanna-be climber groupy.
I think they deserve each other.
I love it when folks really tell it like it is....

I think we need to differentiate between "Mountain Climbers" and "Peakbaggers". 99% of the readers of this Forum are probably Peakbaggers. It's a hobby, it's something they do for fun, it may even help to define 'who they are'. Mountain Climbers plan their entire lives around that activity, gain employment in jobs that will cut them some slack in terms of time off, if they are employed at all, and truly live the role. Many are really nice people, and I personally know a few of these. Many others are precisely as the woman above depicts them, unfortunately. As for Peakbaggers who have egos or are otherwise of low moral fiber, I'm still waiting to meet one I truly didn't like. A few prefer to hike ahead of the pack, or boast a bit of their exploits, but those are outweighed by the dozens of wonderful folks you are likely to meet who would admit to being Peakbaggers. Attend the convention in OK in September and see what I mean. You just might make frineds for life.
D
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David
David

January 9th, 2002, 9:40 pm #8

There is no character in adultery. See above.
There's no mountain in adultery either. I symapathise, the person in question sounds like a bastard but you shouldn't stereotype. Also on reading what I wrote it sounds a little defensive I just find the article a little sweeping. There are people who are bastards, anyone from a world champion ice climber to a hairdresser, it should be considered that being a bastard is not a requirement in a good climber.
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x
x

January 10th, 2002, 6:54 pm #9

My observation is that so-called "team sports" are simply busting at the seams with egomaniacal hotheads, and I think it's inaccurate to suggest the sport of climbing is for some reason worse. I've known a few egotistical and overly competitive climbers who I won't share a rope or a backpack train with, but many more are decent, considerate people with whom you can comfortably trust your life.
!
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