Credo: Leo Houlding, rock climber

Click to follow
The Independent Online

I believe...

* The fear of death keeps you alive, as long as it does not cripple you. I get much more out of life by accepting I'll die.

* You don't have to be crazy to do what I do you'd have to be crazy not to. In the past 50 years Western society has become so sanitised. We live this mundane life where nobody takes risks.

* Base-jumping from a cliff you've climbed adds to the adventure. A 120mph descent is a lot more exciting than a long walk down. But it's so instantaneous; when you land, you want to go straight back up and do it again.

* Climbing is a spiritual activity. There's something sublime about how pointless it is to find the most difficult way to achieve a fairly arbitrary goal perhaps a spot at the top of a cliff. It used to be about conquering and putting your flag at the top; now it's about the journey, not the destination.

* British climbers have a deserved reputation for being the most hardcore and for having the most fun. Many people are keeping that alive today, but for me, climbing is international and I don't define myself by my nationality.

* Climbing is a way of life as much as a job and a pastime. For some climbers, who train and take a scientific, athletic approach, it has become almost like an Olympic sport. But a mountainside or cliff-face is an imperfect field and, while you need to be fit and strong, it's more to do with determination and toughness.

* Spending 10 minutes alone on the summit of Everest was a special experience. I climbed it last year for a film about the disappearance of [George] Mallory and [Andrew] Irvine [in 1924]. We followed their route using their gear. Everest is a circus full of egos, attitudes and politics, which isn't my style, but standing alone at the top was unforgettable. *

Leo Houlding's blog is at www.berghaus.com. With thanks to Snow & Rock

Comments