Monday, February 25, 2013

A New Perspective on a Familiar Mountain

The most common thought I had while reading Touching My Father's Soul was "FINALLY!"  Jamling Tenzing Norgay repeatedly articulated my reservations about mountain climbing(though he seems enlightened, instead of cranky).  He writes in the first chapter, "Because of our precious human rebirth, Buddhists consider it irresponsible to voluntarily place oneself in harm's way unless the act is motivated by need or compassion.  For the Sherpas who grew up in Everest's shadow, carrying loads up the mountain is a job, a justifiable necessity.  For most foreigners  it is a form of recreation" (Norgay 21).  Despite his reservations, Norgay considers Everest to be a necessary risk, and because of the time he spends examining his religious background, his familial obligations, and his passion for climbing, I agree.  I didn't find myself thinking "Stupid!" once.  Despite being on the mountain for personal reasons, like many of the Western climbers, he possesses a self-awareness and respect for the mountain that they lack, which makes him more sympathetic to someone deeply skeptical of mountaineering.

1 comment:

  1. I thought it was particularly interesting when he compared being a Sherpa on the mountain to working in the army. He said that climbing Sherpa's get better pay and better compensation for their families if they die--the emphasis on this particular compensation underlines the level of poverty in some of these villages, and certainly enforces the point that climbing is more of a necessity that an hobby.