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" I'm not even religious, but I get fanaticism. I get the appeal of it. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Everest is not real climbing. It's rich people climbing. It's a trophy on the wall, and they're done... When I say I wish I'd never gone, I really mean that. "
" The pieces I've written for 'Outside' magazine are definitely my best work, and they're virtually all about the outdoors. "
" Rob Hall was, without doubt, the most competent guide in mountaineering. "
" Heaven, for me, is one focused project - it's like a weird form of autism. "
" Once you believe that God is speaking directly to you, there is no discussion. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" I'm intrigued by fanatics - people who are seduced by the promise, or the illusion, of the absolute. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Antarctica has this mythic weight. It resides in the collective unconscious of so many people, and it makes this huge impact, just like outer space. It's like going to the moon. "
" There is nothing glamorous or romantic about war. It's mostly about random pointless death and misery. "
" Happiness means nothing to me. I just want to have meaning and purpose. "
" I guess I don't try to justify climbing or defend it, because I can't. I see climbing as a compulsion that, at its best, is no worse than many other compulsions - golf or stamp collecting or growing world-record pumpkins. "
" I never studied writing, but I'd always been a reader and had a secret fantasy about being a writer. "
" I really enjoy researching, and for almost every piece, I research enough to write a book. "
" Military investigations are designed not to find anyone guilty. "
" When I start any book, I have no idea what I'm going to do. "
" Almost every magazine piece I've ever written, I felt like I haven't done it justice, like it was just a gloss. "
" There's something about being afraid, about being small, about enforced humility that draws me to climbing. "
" 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. "
" I knew that you couldn't make a living simply writing about the outdoors, so I made an effort from the beginning of my freelance career to write about other subjects. "
" 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. "
" 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. "