Leading article: Making life worth living

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A remarkable new German film, Nordwand, (North Face) tells the extraordinary story of the tragic German-Austrian attempt to make the first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger in 1936. The four climbers perished. Their leader, the heroic and youthful Toni Kurtz, died of exhaustion, suspended from a rope just 15 ft away from rescue.

More than 70 years and many thousand miles away from that doomed exploit, a 51-year-old Australian, Brian Guest, disappeared off the coast of Western Australia last weekend, apparently the victim of a shark attack. A few years ago Mr Guest, a campaigner for the protection of sharks, argued that they should not be killed to make life safer for swimmers. "Our place on earth is not so sacred that we remove every threat that exists," he wrote.

The stories of Toni Kurtz and Brian Guest remind us that risk – whether at work or play, at home or abroad – is part of life itself; an enhancement, rather than something to be avoided.