Friday, November 04, 2005

Report from Banff (3)

This morning, Geoff Powter, editor of the Canadian Alpine Journal, interviewed Steve House in front of a large audience. House, of course, is one of America's leading alpinists at the moment, and is a blunt voice for the purest forms of alpine-style climbing. Most recently, House and Vince Anderson climbed a direct new route on the 4,100-meter Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat in six days up, two days down. Some quotes from today that I liked:

"My mission statement is I want to be the best alpinist I can be. And so I ask myself, how do I structure everything else to meet that goal. Where do I live? What do I do for work? How much do I spend on a car? If you're going to try to be the best you can at anything, then everything else has to follow."

"Different routes have different half-lives, if you will. I might go do half a dozen pitches at Smith Rock, and the next day I'm ready to go climbing again. But after Nanga Parbat I was ready to rest for a while; I was happy not to climb at all. The more intellectually and emotionally involving a climb is, the longer this feeling lasts."

"The perfect climb for me is one that takes everything I have. But, obviously, no more."

Q. Where do you see this taking you?

A. "Back to ground zero. The root of anything, whether it's a project at Smith or Nanga Parbat, is motivation. To find that next project is going to take some time. I just listen to my intuition. Where it takes me next is probably not what people think. They'll think the next bigger, badder, most awesome face. But that's not what's interesting to me. To me that's not pure. It's looking at the target and not at the process."

By the way, Vince Anderson has posted some terrific photos of the Nanga Parbat climb at his Skyward Mountaineering web site.

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