Monday, February 11, 2013

A Woman's Perspective

I wanted to touch upon why climbers climb mountains and what mountains bring out in people. To Blum mountains were "totally benign, full of joy and wonder, the best place to know people and be happy. Climbing made her feel strong and at peace" (13). She then goes on to say that she was unaware of the danger because of her confidence in the goodness of the mountains was so great. This feeling of confidence while climbing is what offsets the "stupidity" and "immaturity" of early climbers like Krakauer and Stemph. 
            To follow up on the discussion we began in class, Blum was aware of achievement and senses of achievement within her expedition. In two instances, Blum acknowledges the tension of climbing all the way to the summit versus not climbing there. On page 131 she says, “I had emphasized the possibility that only two climbers might make it, and that would be a triumph for the whole team. Back home, everyone had readily accepted that. Here on the mountain, though, it was another story, and while I told myself it was not surprising, I was still disappointed. I wanted our group spirit to outweigh individual-achievement ethic – a lot to ask”.  This supports my insight in class. I am not surprised that while it may be easy while you’re in the planning stages or at base camp to say you are content on not making it to the top, I feel like in class we downplayed the role of personal achievement. On page 195, Blum recognizes that Alison has been so discontent with the climb because her previous climb of Gasherbrum III had been completed without oxygen and two women without the use of Sherpas. Alison personally felt as if the use of sherpas and oxygen took away from the difficulty of the climb, almost like using a cheat. Thus, preventing Alison from feeling that sense of accomplishment.  

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