Monday, February 3, 2014

Endpoints of the Timeline

Maurice Herzog states that his adventure on page 67, yet starts the book at page 1.  When trying to define the term adventure I look back at what I have qualified as adventures in my own life.  Some start in my mind at some key point close to the highlight of the event, like a page 67.  Sometimes the adventure includes preparations or the car ride, while sometimes the start reaches back before the creation of the idea for the event connecting sharply to other adventures.  I think Herzog states that his great adventure starts when he does because that moment was somehow a key transition for him.  For me, the start occurs at a point-of-no-return moment in my mind, often coinciding with a key event like getting into a car or my first step on a trail.  The end point of the adventure timeline is also up for debate.  As a leader Herzog's end was at the summit of Annapurna.  The end could also be considered to happen when he reaches the bottom of the mountain, or the ceremony at Katmandu, or when he reached his family, or, at the extreme, the end of his life.  In my life, though the consequences and effects of the adventure may linger on, I consider it over when my life as it was before continues in its relatively normal state.  When the tasks are done and the residue adrenaline and excitement fade, it's time for a new adventure.


  1. After the Timeline

    Is it that Herzog’s end was at the summit of Annapurna, or is it that the summit of Annapurna marked the start of his adventure? The descent was harrowing. It took as much—if not more—commitment from Herzog and his team to make the descent down as it did to reach the peak’s summit.
    It seemed to me like the end for Maurice was most tangible on the homeward bound airplane. Speaking about his arrival home, Herzog says, “But I should never have imagined the violent emotional shock that I should in fact experience when it came to that point, nor the sudden nervous depression which would then take hold of me” (p. 223). Facing life after the climb seems like a bigger feat than the climb itself. How does one deal with losing—or coming to terms with the end of—a life defining moment? It’s hard to come down from a high like successfully climbing Annapurna just like it’s hard to walk away from your last college volleyball game. Those big moments in time speak to your capabilities; they contribute to your self-image whether you like it or not. Affirming the importance of the climb, Devies writes, “Climbing is a means of self-expression” (p. x). How does one deal with the feeling that a part of your self-image is suddenly less tangible? According to Conrad Anker, Herzog spent the months immediately after the climb writing, which speaks to the power of self-reflection—through writing—in coming to terms with events passed.
    Although Herzog reflects on the end of his adventure during his ride home, neither the plane ride nor his thoughts on the plane mark the end. Devies writes, “The summit we have reached is no longer the Summit. The fulfillment of oneself—is that the true end, the final answer?” (p. x). If the fulfillment of oneself marks the end of an adventure, there is no end since we continue to live and grow. Only new beginnings.
    To answer my initial question, I believe the answer is: the timeline does not exist.

  2. I think this is a really interesting aspect of adventure to look at, and it gets back to the idea of how do you define adventure to begin with? I think I like to imagine that adventures for me start at the moment I step on a trail or get into the car, like you said, but I think retrospectively I have a perspective more akin to Herzog. I think when I really look back I can only feel like the adventure happened if there was key transition or moment that I felt something shift for me internally. I think it's fascinating that not only is the definition of adventure subjective in the sense of what activities constitute adventure, but also in the way that each moment of said activity can shape and define the adventure.