I decided I would never again listen to advice from any of my friends.
– from “Walls without Balls” by Sibylle C. Hechtel
I’ve been reading a ton of mostly trashy historical novels. But somewhere in the mix I picked up Rock and Roses, a collection of essays on women’s climbing tackling the 1920s to the middle 90s (Lynn Hill’s Free the Nose story is included). It was mostly awesome, with a few duds. These kinds of essay compilations can seem contrived and precious sometimes, like Oooooo the women pioneers of mountaineeeeeeering how amazing yet boring, but once I got into this one it pretty much rocked. I get a lot out of reading first hand accounts of women pursuing their lives. It’s a thing, and it’s what reminds me to keep up this little blog and to try to keep it honest. Because it’s so helpful to me to read things like this. Anyway, I want to share a passage that I highlighted in the book, that has been tumbling in my mind the last couple of weeks as I’ve been sorting out the feelings that seem to come up inside me when faced with climbing industry people, pros and pro-hos, standard Hueco high season ish.
At times, feeling a need to accede to the expectations of a society I thought I had rejected, I have tried to use climbing as a means to gain recognition, to be considered a success. I have sometimes got caught up in the pursuit of summits, as a collector pursues butterflies, to capture them, and take the life from them, and display them to the amazement and approval of his colleagues. but these attempts to take the mountains for ambition and not for love have all failed. Because it is not what I have done that ultimately brings me a feeling of peace and belonging, it is doing it. And it is not even what I am doing, but how I am doing it, if it is honestly, joyfully, whole heartedly then surely I am living as I was meant to live.
– Julie Brugger, A Mountain Experience