Mountain Climbing

Okay, this really doesn’t have much to do with anything other than it simply being on my mind.  Of course, it’s only on my mind thanks to the Weather Channel showing the film “Into Thin Air” which then compelled me to read the book.  I’m almost done so a review will be forthcoming, but I thought I’d take a few moments and talk about how I used to view writing a novel like climbing a mountain.

I’ve come to the conclusion it’s nothing like it.  Like, at all.  Okay, there’s strategy involved, plotting and scheming with a good dose of determination in order to get to the summit… errr, conclusion.  But in writing, so it seems to me, the climax comes toward the end, while the reaching of the summit (climax) is actually the midway point in climbing.  As is the case of this devastating tale of an expedition up Everest gone horribly, horribly wrong, one might reach the summit, but you still have to get down alive in order to tell the tale.

Of course one has to get up the Hillary Step , aka nature’s way of saying, “28k feet climbed and you think you’re done?  Bwahahahahahaha!   WRONG!” [Click on the link, it’s a different pic than what’s below]:

Photo Credit

Of course in order to even get to Camp I, never mind Camp IV, you have to climb past the Khumbu Ice Falls:

Photo credit

If nothing else reading about climbing Everest makes me feel like working on my current wip is almost easy.  ALMOST.

Anyone else seen/read Into Thin Air?  Ever climbed Everest or any other notable mountain?  Heck, any mountain is notable!  How does it compare to writing?  Does it?  And if you had 65k would you pay for a guided climb up the tallest peak in the world?



7 responses to “Mountain Climbing

  • Jan

    Naw, I don’t mind reading about it and almost all the things that could go wrong. My own experience of climbing Mt. Washington (completely and totally unprepared, i.e. wrong clothes, no snacks or water, hypothermia by the top) gave me plenty of distaste for mountain climbing. What did I know? I was a kid going with other kids. Luckily I could and did take the tram back down. I never would have survived the climb back down. I think what really got to me was that no one made it sound like anything unusual to do or that some preparation would be necessary. I know I’m dating myself but this was in the days before you could look it all up on the internet. The signs along the way didn’t help either. They listed the number of people killed at that spot and the date. Duh!

  • Arlee Bird

    I would much rather write a novel than climb a mountain. Falling off my desk chair doesn’t hurt as much as falling off a mountain.

    Tossing It Out

  • Hart

    I’ve seen ‘Into Thin Air’ and it’s definitely true that some reserves need to be saved for the trip back down! When I lived in Portland, EVERY WINTER there were hikers killed on Mount Hood. I just don’t get what compels people to DO THAT. In summer, sure, but the Cascades have weather that changes over the year, so the snow is prone to avalanche–just seems darned stupid to me to test it in winter. But that’s me. I don’t mind the idea of hard work at all. risk of death is a whole different matter.

  • Grant

    Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” is a great introduction to the world of Mount Everest and climbing literature. Krakauer is one of the few good writers who happen to also be great climbers. Others in the category, I believe, are Peter Boardman, Joe Tasker, or Greg Child. I’m an amateur at both climbing and writing, and I find that slogging ahead and getting through what you can gives you a better vantage point that analyzing things from below!

  • jessicabookworm

    I love your comparison between writing a book and climbing a mountain. I haven’t wrote a book but my dissertation was a pretty meaty thing, I have also climbed a few mountains (nothing that big!). When writing there is a lot of prep work which is boring and harder stuff which so like the bottom of the mountain as until half way up theres not the greatest view as an award. I have climbed a mountain called Haystacks in the Lake District here in England, which is amazing at the top but has several false summits, so basically you think the end is in sight until you round a corner and you discover even more. Very much like writing when your in full flow you think I’m nearly finished but then you can be taken off on a tangent.

  • laurelrainsnow

    Mountain climbing is not my thing! It’s good that writing is NOT like that, or I wouldn’t have written a word.

    I haven’t read “Into Thin Air,” but another mountain climbing story is Anita Shreve’s “A Change in Altitude,” a somewhat thrilling and tragic adventure.

  • Alan Wolever

    i like mountain climbing because it is a particulary challenging tasks.-

    Please do visit our blog site

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