Nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
I understood what he was doing, that he had spent four years fulfilling the absurd and tedious duty of graduating from college and now he was emancipated from that world of abstraction, false security, parents, and material excess.
He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight.
Happiness [is] only real when shared
You get a compound fracture in Colorado where I live, and you can probably be in a hospital within a matter of hours, certainly within a day.
Rob Hall was, without doubt, the most competent guide in mountaineering.
The way to Everest is not a Yellow Brick Road.
You can get a lawyer with two months off or a New York socialite who wants to play at being Lewis and Clark and put them up there, but Everest is still in charge; it can still kick butt.
When I was 23, I went to Alaska by myself into the glaciers of the coast range and climbed a mountain by myself. It was incredibly reckless, incredibly stupid. But I was lucky. And I survived, and I came back to tell my story.
As I point out in the very first pages of 'Into the Wild,' I approached this book not as a normal, you know, unbiased journalist.
I really enjoy researching, and for almost every piece, I research enough to write a book.
The pieces I've written for 'Outside' magazine are definitely my best work, and they're virtually all about the outdoors.
I knew that you couldn't make a living simply writing about the outdoors, so I made an effort from the beginning of my freelance career to write about other subjects.
Climbing Mount Everest was the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life. I wish I'd never gone. I suffered for years of PTSD and still suffer from what happened. I'm glad I wrote a book about it. But, you know, if I could go back and relive my life, I would never have climbed Everest.
There's something about being afraid, about being small, about enforced humility that draws me to climbing.
Most friendly fire incidents aren't investigated properly because of neglect or a natural inclination to cover up the embarrassing fact that they killed one of their own.
The way Everest is guided is very different from the way other mountains are guided, and it flies in the face of values I hold dear: self-reliance, taking responsibility for what you do, making your own decisions, trusting your judgment - the kind of judgment that comes only through paying your dues, through experience.
Let's not mince words: Everest doesn't attract a whole lot of well-balanced folks. The self-selection process tends to weed out the cautious and the sensible in favor of those who are single-minded and incredibly driven. Which is a big reason the mountain is so dangerous.
What makes climbing great for me, strangely enough, is this life-and-death aspect. It sounds trite to say, I know, but climbing isn't just another game. It isn't just another sport. It's life itself. Which is what makes it so compelling and also what makes it so impossible to justify when things go bad.
I guess I don't try to justify climbing or defend it, because I can't. I see climbing as a compulsion that, at its best, is no worse than many other compulsions - golf or stamp collecting or growing world-record pumpkins.
Why climb? That's a question that baffles me. It perplexes me. I really asked that a lot on Everest. I can't justify it. I can't say it's for a good cause. All I can say is look at the history of exploration: it's full of vainglorious pursuits.
When I write books, I've learned not to have any expectations that I'm going to change the world.
I'm not even religious, but I get fanaticism. I get the appeal of it.
Happiness means nothing to me. I just want to have meaning and purpose.
When I was 23, I climbed this mountain in Alaska called Devil's Thumb alone. It was incredibly dangerous, and I did it because I thought that if I did something that hard and pulled it off, my life was gonna be transformed. And of course, nothing happened. But I get the search for purpose.
Everest is not real climbing. It's rich people climbing. It's a trophy on the wall, and they're done... When I say I wish I'd never gone, I really mean that.
I've had a lot of crappy jobs, but one of my favorites was working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. What I loved about it was, you got paid for what you caught.
When I went to Everest, I underestimated things. I just didn't know what altitude could do. Or the cold - I especially didn't appreciate the cold. It can be just debilitating, and things can happen so quickly.
As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane-as a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devout-there may be no more potent force than religion.
Having stumbled upon a tolerable career, for the first time in my life I was actually living above the poverty line. My hunger to climb had been blunted, in short, by a bunch of small satisfactions that added up to something like happiness.
It is true that I miss intelligent companionship, but there are so few with whom I can share the things that mean so much to me that I have learned to contain myself. It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty...
The trip was to be an odyssey in the fullest sense of the word, an epic journey that would change everything.
Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence - the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes - all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand.
<...> though he found that if you are stupid enough to bury a camera underground you won't be taking many pictures with it afterwards. Thus the story has no picture book for the period May 10, 1991 - January 7, 1992. But this is not important. It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found. God it's great to be alive! Thank you. Thank you.
I thought climbing the Devil's Thumb would fix all that was wrong with my life. In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams.
The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences.
I mean, how can you not be a feminist if you have a brain in your head? If you're not a feminist, then you're a problem.
It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it.
Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past.
An extended stay in the wilderness inevitably directs one's attention outward as much as inward, and it is impossible to live off the land without developing both a subtle understanding of, and a strong emotional bond with, that land and all it holds.