Adventure. What is it?

Driven by the natural beauty of mountains, challenges and the thirst for knowledge, I climbed to impossible mountains just to measure myself and know myself better.

-Walter Bonatti

I recently finished reading Walter Bonatti‘s The Mountains of My Life. In the final chapter of the book, Bonatti discusses what mountaineering and adventure really are.

There are rules to the game, well known but not written down. It is a game which you chose to play with your free will, so why cheating? If you’re not playing the game fair, there is no fun in it nor is there success to gain at the end.

What else stands ahead of the mountain, save from the men? Mountaineering is merely one of  a thousand ways of knowing yourself. Climbing is should not be seen as something different than the search for identity. It is more than a collection of summits, speed records and technique. Otherwise it may be diminished to a simple game, purified off its creative sense of adventure.

Now that the great eye sees all. “Uncharted” is nothing but a word in old language, holding meaning no more. Adventure exists only where there is uncertainty, risk, courage, thrill, excitement, passion, abstraction and desolation. Bonatti says we should hold on to our ability to do research, discovery and improvisation under lacking of means. This is the way we measure ourselves.

We live in an era where the community is ready to buy the adventure as a packed product. Discovery is commercialized. That is why we should target seeking the uncharted territories in our existence. As Deniz Tokay often states; “I never get tired of climbing the same mountain again and again, because when I climb I realize that neither the mountain nor I are the same as before.

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