Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Alpine Wisdom

"Go slow—we're in a hurry." John Harlin just passed on this great saying, which he picked up from the German climber Nico Mailander. Essentially it's "Haste makes waste." So true in the mountains, where shortcuts or carelessness often results in problems, usually just as the wind is rising and graupel is starting to pelt from the sky: a sloppy rappel setup leads to stuck ropes; leaving off the crampons for that easy snow patch leads to sketchy and time-consuming moves over ice; skipping a chance to rehydrate leads to the inevitable bonk. Great mountaineers consistently take care of the little things—they slow down when they're in a hurry.

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