Posts Tagged ‘Shirttail Rock’

Joe Simpson’s Beckoning Silence

26/05/2011

Bravo, Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson’s documentary, The Beckoning Silence, is a well-done re-enactment of Tony Kurtz’s infamous climb on the Eiger. It’s part adventure, part history and part personal reflection. It shows the insight of wisdom that, in this case, comes with age. Having almost died more than once, the first time in Peru, Simpson has arrived at place in his life that is refreshingly thoughtful. Simpson is a climber who is growing older and facing his own mortality. Congrats to Simpson for making this “on the edge of your seat” film and letting us into his personal growth.

I reflect on Eckhart Tolle who writes in his first book The Power of Now about thrill seekers such as climbers who get addicted to the calm that comes with climbing, where past and future fade away and one must focus next move or ice axe placement,  because “taking your attention away from the task at hand, even for a split second can mean death”. Tolle  adds, “Fortunately you don’t have to climb the north face of the Eiger in order to feel the presence of the moment,  you can do it, right here and now*.”

I just did a bit of leading on rock yesterday, for the first time in a while, getting out from behind the desk here in New Zealand. It was great to clear the head and be on the  cliffs right outside our house here in Kingston on Shirttail Cliffs.

Top of Shirt-tail Cliffs, Kingston, NZ

Great quality climbs in a spectacular setting. Moving on the rock again felt great, and motivating, being on the sharp end. However,  I’ve never had that wild-eyed look of adrenaline, pumped, on the sharp end, need of the thrill . I like to test myself, but my survivalist instinct is too strong to be too bold. There are old climbers, bold climbers but not a lot of old bold climbers.   I know quite a few fellow climbers who I’ve lost to the mountains over the years, including one of my mentors, Alan Bard. I think of these things too, as does Simpson, as we have a baby boy expected to arrive in four weeks.  It’s good to be in the mountains, but to those hardcore dudes, don’t be afraid to take the easy way up, it won’t kill you.

*A free translation

Nature’s Seven Doctors in New Zeland

29/03/2011

A book for the ages

Hanging out at the Telemark Inn and Llama Farm (Newry, Maine)  years ago, when I was a ranch hand, and pack guide, I came across a little book on Steve Crone’s bookshelf called “Nature’s Seven Doctors” by Kirschner and White. This little volume espoused the basics of how simple living and paying attention the basics keeps one healthy.

After the Christchurch Earthquake and all, I guess the readjustment and stress of an unplanned move had me melancholy the last few days. I went with the flow, in line with Tolle, was in accepting and allowing my state to be, I  just didn’t feel at the top of my game. Even though we’ve found ourselves in a beautiful place, 7 hours south of the quake zone, it’s still been an adjustment of sorts.

Today I got it together and climbed to the top of the cliff outside our new rental home, sat for a short meditatino, and ran back down the trail, and on my way back to the house,  jumped in Lake Wikatipu on lake’s southern beach. The run and dip did me good, and I’ve been reminded all day of Kirschner and White’s book.   I’ve been feeling like new person all day.

The Seven Doctors are: (I usually can do this from memory, let’s see..) Fresh air, fresh water, fresh food, rest, mental/spiritual development, adequate exercise and adequate sleep.  Nothing to remember really, it’s common sense.

A view of Kingston, NZ from the top of Shirttail Cliffs