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September 07, 2010


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Sean Arbabi

Well said Jake- that's why I love Ed Viesturs attitude on it all- safety and caution first over summits, then years of hard work and luck to make it happen.

Nathaniel Pulsifer

Great points Jake- Few value the journey in the face of pressures to succeed. it's hard in life, business, or climbing to jut be ok with the process. Perhaps business people are lucky, especially in the US, where failure as an entrepreneur is almost a prerequisite of later success- How often do you read of people who ' made, lost, and made a fortune again" ?... Pretty often. Not many climbers have that luxury.

Jake Norton

Hi Sean,

Thanks for the comment. Yes, Ed has a good perspective on it. We both cut our teeth at Rainier Mountaineering, and I'm glad that place and those people provided a lot of the foundation of my climbing and my climbing ethics. As you well know, years of hard work eventually pay off...just like in the photo business, right?!

Hope all's well,


Jake Norton

Interesting points, as always, Than. I hadn't thought of that before...you're right, one DOES hear often of "made, lost, made a fortune again", but rarely is that story told in the mountains. And, of equal interest, in our society, one is generally not considered "successful" if they started off trying to gather wealth, and instead pursued a different life focusing on other things...or simply "failed" to attain the wealth they initially focused on. Instead of valuing the journey that person went through, they are considered a failure.

Why is that, I wonder? I can't help but think much of it comes down to our often short-term outlook on life. Perhaps we need to shift our paradigm to a more long-term focus where the fleeting moment on the summit is not what we're after, but rather the long-term pursuit of that summit and the joy that journey brings us.

Good thoughts...

Sujoy Das

If leading mountaineers start faking ascents for what ever reasons then what is left of climbing ethics?

Alice Norton

A terrific perspective on what ethics, the mountains and what is truly important. I love the great tie-in with Charlie Houston. So sorry to miss the Aspen talk - I'm sure it was great. Alice

David Lim

sorry to see this arise again - it reminds me of an even greater climbing scandal - when in 1991 Tomo Cesen claimed to have climbed solo - the south Face of Lhotse - one of the 'last' Great Himalayan Problems. He was awarded the Piolet D'Or. Then one of his summit pictures was actually taken by another climber from another expedition, and doubts began to surface. Messner took back the award , and Cesen never regained a state of grace in the climbing world. I think we should still take people's claims on their word - unless there is reason to believe otherwise.

And the lure of $$ is not exclusive to developed mountaineering communities, nor the issue of poor ethics. Even in tiny SIngapore, we have had people claiming to have climbed a well-reported 6000mpeak when they only reached the summit ridge, or people who have claimed big peak ascents alpine style when sherpas were used, as well as well-trodden paths of other teams..

Himalayan Trekking Nepal

This article helped me understand why people climb mountains. I mean, it's an obvious questions that arises in one's mind when he/she seems people climbing high peaks. One can only imagine the happiness one gets out of it.

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