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" Happiness means nothing to me. I just want to have meaning and purpose. "
" I think part of the appeal of Antarctica is experiencing some sort of power, the forces of the natural world. "
" I'm not even religious, but I get fanaticism. I get the appeal of it. "
" You get a compound fracture in Colorado where I live, and you can probably be in a hospital within a matter of hours, certainly within a day. "
" You can get a lawyer with two months off or a New York socialite who wants to play at being Lewis and Clark and put them up there, but Everest is still in charge; it can still kick butt. "
" It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it. "
" When I went to Everest, I underestimated things. I just didn't know what altitude could do. Or the cold - I especially didn't appreciate the cold. It can be just debilitating, and things can happen so quickly. "
" When I was 23, I went to Alaska by myself into the glaciers of the coast range and climbed a mountain by myself. It was incredibly reckless, incredibly stupid. But I was lucky. And I survived, and I came back to tell my story. "
" Why climb? That's a question that baffles me. It perplexes me. I really asked that a lot on Everest. I can't justify it. I can't say it's for a good cause. All I can say is look at the history of exploration: it's full of vainglorious pursuits. "
" Rob Hall was, without doubt, the most competent guide in mountaineering. "
" The pieces I've written for 'Outside' magazine are definitely my best work, and they're virtually all about the outdoors. "
" When I was 23, I climbed this mountain in Alaska called Devil's Thumb alone. It was incredibly dangerous, and I did it because I thought that if I did something that hard and pulled it off, my life was gonna be transformed. And of course, nothing happened. But I get the search for purpose. "
" Antarctica is a very alien environment, and you can't survive here more than minutes if you're not equipped properly and doing the right thing all the time. "
Doing The Right Thing
" Once you believe that God is speaking directly to you, there is no discussion. "
" The way to Everest is not a Yellow Brick Road. "
" What makes climbing great for me, strangely enough, is this life-and-death aspect. It sounds trite to say, I know, but climbing isn't just another game. It isn't just another sport. It's life itself. Which is what makes it so compelling and also what makes it so impossible to justify when things go bad. "
" The way Everest is guided is very different from the way other mountains are guided, and it flies in the face of values I hold dear: self-reliance, taking responsibility for what you do, making your own decisions, trusting your judgment - the kind of judgment that comes only through paying your dues, through experience. "
" Military investigations are designed not to find anyone guilty. "
" Let's not mince words: Everest doesn't attract a whole lot of well-balanced folks. The self-selection process tends to weed out the cautious and the sensible in favor of those who are single-minded and incredibly driven. Which is a big reason the mountain is so dangerous. "
" The thing that is most beautiful about Antarctica for me is the light. It's like no other light on Earth, because the air is so free of impurities. You get drugged by it, like when you listen to one of your favorite songs. The light there is a mood-enhancing substance. "
" I never studied writing, but I'd always been a reader and had a secret fantasy about being a writer. "
" Most friendly fire incidents aren't investigated properly because of neglect or a natural inclination to cover up the embarrassing fact that they killed one of their own. "
" There's something about being afraid, about being small, about enforced humility that draws me to climbing. "
" I've had a lot of crappy jobs, but one of my favorites was working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. What I loved about it was, you got paid for what you caught. "
" Climbing Mount Everest was the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life. I wish I'd never gone. I suffered for years of PTSD and still suffer from what happened. I'm glad I wrote a book about it. But, you know, if I could go back and relive my life, I would never have climbed Everest. "
" I really enjoy researching, and for almost every piece, I research enough to write a book. "
" Heaven, for me, is one focused project - it's like a weird form of autism. "
" Short form media is reductionist by nature. "
" Almost every magazine piece I've ever written, I felt like I haven't done it justice, like it was just a gloss. "
" How can you not be a feminist if you have a brain in your head? If you're not a feminist, then you're a problem. "
" As I point out in the very first pages of 'Into the Wild,' I approached this book not as a normal, you know, unbiased journalist. "