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Dennis_the_Menace

Extreme Alpinism

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Fast Eddie:

You speak the truth!!! I've been reading mountaineering "literature" for a long, long time and then last summer, I finally read Lansing's "Endurance" book which was recommended to me years ago. It was THE greatest tale of ultimate toughness and outdoor survival I've read. This ain't three days of getting cold in the Alps; this went on for days, and days in the harshest and scariest of conditions. They should have been dead many times over yet all survived. Listen to Eddie! He knows! Forget this Twight sports-drink pounding, Gu-sucking, I'm in so much pain baloney and read about some real tough guys!!!!

- Dwayner, inspired just thinking about that story!!!

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I think that instead of GU on my next trip I am just going to carry a bunch of frozen penguins!!!

Yummy!!

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ok, guys, have it your way. I met Twight a few years back, and he was quite pleasant in person. I just don't care for his writing - never have. And having sold two runs of my own book back in the seventies, and written an article or two along the way, I DO consider myself equipped to critique writing.

He can climb any way he wants, and so can anybody else. But I cannot condone his putting down all who don't play the game his way.

Stump, Fisher, Childs (both Geoff and Greg), Donini, Tackle, Lowe (Alex), Hargis, Kearney, - and yes, Stutzman - these guys are/were all fun to hang out with.

and guys - we were using honey and butter in squeeze tubes before gu's inventor was out of diapers. get real...

anyway - I don't follow the guy's climbs - much less critique his climbing style. His writing sucks.

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"Dude, I'm beat."

"Here try some of my honey and butter."

"OK" throwup.gif

[This message has been edited by lambone (edited 08-21-2001).]

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Twight is a prick, grandstander, and shameless self promoter...and he's completely up front about all of it. That much I can respect. If the system oppresses your spirit, fuck it, exploit it before it exploits you. Follow your own path, but at least be honest about what that path is.

At a certain level standard tactics no longer work. It's similar to desert hiking, you can carry a shit-load of water and torture yourself carrying it, drinking it half because you're so tired from carrying all of it, or you can opt for a light approach and cover alot of ground to get you to that next water source. The margin of error grows smaller, but chances of success also skyrocket.

There's a concept called the "conventional wisdom" which was coined by William Kenneth Galbraith, a Harvard Economist who wrote The Affluent Society. Basically, Twight has set forth some new, genuine advancements in thought concerning alpine climbing and training. Of course these are outside the conventional wisdom, as all genuine acts of progress are.

The nutritional and training information alone make the book worth reading. I've expereinced some of the nutritional phenomena he relates and the theory behind it is sound.

Much to do is made over the suffering aspect of climbing at the limit. If you really investigate the impacts of psychological training you may find (as I have)that you can separate yourself from the dualistic sensations of the body (heat/cold, pain/pleasure, etc) and merely observe yourself feeling them. Cultivating a centered and mindful consiousness plays a major role in pushing your perceived limits.

Climb anyway that satisfies you, that is the end goal afterall. BUT, until you climb as hard as Mark, or repeat some of his routes using different tactics you don't have much room to criticize. Just because it isn't right for you doesn't mean it isn't right for anyone. The book focuses on long, hard alpine routes where objective hazards abound and the faster you an get up and off the route, the safer you are. Even if you have enough gear to hole up for three days in a storm, will you last that long before rockfall or an avalanche wipe your scrawny ass from the world of the living? Follow your bliss...

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quote:

Originally posted by gearbot:

Has anyone else out there read some of the books listed in the reference section of “Extreme Alpinism”?


I actually read a few of them before the Twight book. Tales of Power (and the rest of the Casteneda books, Separate Reality, Lessons of Don Juan, Journey to Ixtalan). Climbing Ice by Chouinard, Freedom of the Hills (of course), The Zone, Climbing Anchors, Choose your best sport and Play it, The Seventh Grade. I also took the Keirsey temperament test....said I was an 'onery and crusty spray lord (actually, it spec'ed me as an NT or Rational)

BTW, who was the author of "Bone Games"?

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Thanks, Eric, I couldn't remember the name of the author of "Bone Games" but I HIGHLY recommend it. As to great climbing literature, I don't know the list everyone is referencing, but any story of the Endurance expedition is well worth reading- on a related note to that trial of human courage, Conrad Anker and Reinhold Messner just went to the island Shakleton and his buds had to cross to get to the whaling station and recreated their climb- it was filmed in IMAX and will have some focus on the environmental changes that have occured on the route in the short span of just 100 years, like, there is no way they could have slid down the glacier if they had to do it today! because of global warming.

More great mountain lit: "Mount Analogue"

by Rene Daumal and "The ascent of the Riffelberg" by Mark Twain.

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quote:

Originally posted by Dwayner:

I finally read Lansing's "Endurance" book which was recommended to me years ago. It was THE greatest tale of ultimate toughness and outdoor survival I've read.

Not to denegrate Shakelton's achievements (to me the most amazing aspect of that adventure is that not a SINGLE man died, in all of that) but the most dramatic tale of outdoor survival I've come across is a book called "The Long Walk." Four Polish POWs escaped from a concentration camp in Siberia. In winter. Walked south, through Siberia. Through the Gobi Desert, where at one point they went for, I think, four days with no water. Over the Himalayas. Three of them made it to India and survived, and the author went on to fight in WW2. Whenever I feel sorry for myself for being tired, hungry, and a long way to go yet, I think about them.

This is not the Steven King book, but I'm at work, and don't have the author's name in front of me. As of a couple of years ago, it was still in print.

 

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"Seven Years in Tibet" with Brad Pitt. Man that Pitt dude really has the big cojones. Can you guys believe the journey he took? What a stud.

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Glad you brought that one up. The Long Walk is the ne plus ultra of the genre. The author's name contains no vowels, as far as I remember; it's much easier to search the library or Evil Empire (aka Amazon) under the book's title. This one is a must-read.

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The Long Walk is written by Slavomir Rawicz. My favorite parts of it are 1) when somebody dies in an avalanche while they are avoiding the Yeti they have just seen (pre Reinhold Messner!!) and 2) they find a watch made by Pavel Bure's great grandfather (if you aren't a hockey fan that one is going to seem kind of obscure).

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The Long Walk is pretty much considered a fairy tale at this point, not a credible story.

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The Long Walk is pretty much considered a fairy tale at this point, not a credible story.

 

and what's your source? confused.gif

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The type of wildlife they claim to have encountered does not exist in the Gobi. They trekked across Mongolia without food for weeks and without water for days. They crossed the Himalayas with no real warm clothes, and no climbing gear, or maps. The author never even bothered to learn the first name of his American friend (Smith) let alone his life story, and this is on a 3000 mile journey where they are constantly dependent on one-antoher. None of his companions were ever located, or found on military records.

 

I don't doubt that there were amazing escapes, but this is one where the nugget of truth is coated in a thick batter of deep-fried exageration. Check out various reviews and records for more precise geographic and biological discrepencies.

http://outside.away.com/outside/features/200301/200301_adventure_canon_9.html

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Twight's book was instrumental in helping me pick the right windshirt.

 

*deleted*

 

oops... sorry - thought I was in spray for a minute.

 

-kurt

Edited by knelson

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I agree with Cavey (a while ago on this thread). I got alot out of the book and I think it goes several steps further than books such as Freedom of the Hills. I didn't find too many things in the book that far out there. There were a few things i remember thinking I wouldn't probably try, but overall, if you want to go light and fast, alot of the advice is worthwile.

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This dead horse again.

Because Mark is a self promoter and a ego maniac you shouldn't buy his book or agree with any of his tatic's?

 

If you like his book, you worship at his feet?

 

I found nothing useful in his book?

 

It took a guy like Mark, with his personality, to write this kinda book. The Mountaineers would not have done it at the time or now. I think most understand Mark did not invent advanced alpine tactic's.

Thank god this book did not come from some armchair mountaineer who researched hard alpine climbing on his pc. I would think it would be more dangerous than telling more truths, as Mark does.

I don't think anyone here has the combination of knowledge, experience and the will or want to lay all their alpine knowledge out, into a book. You have to be willing to put all your hairbrained idea's out there to be scrutnized (sp?), questioned and torn to pieces. This would be from piers to armchair alpinist.

Geeze, look at the shit people get here on this board for the tiniest of questions or statements.

 

Sure, I am positive we could make a list of absolutely stellar climbers, past and present. Would they write a book on alpinism past what the mountaineers would publish on the topic? Appearantly not.

 

So...should have Mark written it? Why not?

Because nay sayers say there is no relative information for them? That is great for them. Maybe they have pushed their limits and are happy with what they have achieved.

 

I liked the book. I found it informative.

I've liked many books and found them informative. I am not a member of anyone's fan club because I did.

History has shown that people will attack what they fear and or do not understand. Also what they are envious of.

 

If you do not like Mark because of his chest thumping and ego. That's fine. But he still wrote a good instructional

book.

I'm sure many people would have been more pleased if Alex Lowe, Edmund Hillary, Captian Kangaroo, Gandi or the Pope or someother nice fella would have written a sililar book.

But if one of these people really started digging deep in the darker reccess's of their minds, you might not have liked what they had to say either.

 

People have a tendancy of being hipocrits. We all are to some extent. It's an ugly human trait.

Fucked up things go through everyone's minds.

To write about those fucked up things in your mind for others to read, well you are asking to be attacked. Not by people whose minds are pure (because there is no such thing). But sometimes by people who have the same thoughts.

That makes them feel better and maybe more superior.

 

Mark is just willing to write more honestly about what many of us have on our minds, to some degree.

 

Geeze, even Mark has changed some of his idea's that he wrote about since writing Extreme Alpinism and will probably continue to do so as time goes on.

 

 

 

Jedi

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Reading Extreme Alpinism (and Kiss or Kill) was both funny and informative. As long as there are boundaries to what people think is possible, then there will be people pushing those boundaries. Though Twight's rage (at least the rage that live is Kiss or Kill) is comical, what will be really funny is the person who tries to push the limits beyond what Twight has set.

I'm glad Twight wrote these books, because it is always interesting to hear what the Extremos are doing. And he must be somewhat accurate with his information because he is still alive.

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I think the book is good for giving you new things to think about and consider. A few of the things are really far out ideas that you would never hear about anywhere else, maybe even because they're a bit dangerous.

 

For example, the idea of taking a piece of tin and bending it over the bottom of your canister so that the ends are heated up in the flame. Does anyone actually do this? It sounds a bit dangerous but I'm sure you'd save a lot of time melting snow at high altitude or in really cold temps.

wazzup.gif

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