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" 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 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. "
" Once you believe that God is speaking directly to you, there is no discussion. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Rob Hall was, without doubt, the most competent guide in mountaineering. "
" Almost every magazine piece I've ever written, I felt like I haven't done it justice, like it was just a gloss. "
" 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 never studied writing, but I'd always been a reader and had a secret fantasy about being a writer. "
" 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 way to Everest is not a Yellow Brick Road. "
" 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
" I'm intrigued by fanatics - people who are seduced by the promise, or the illusion, of the absolute. "
" I love being outdoors, being in the mountains and the desert, and my wife enjoys that too. That's one of the things that sustain our relationship. "
" The pieces I've written for 'Outside' magazine are definitely my best work, and they're virtually all about the outdoors. "
" 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. "
" Happiness means nothing to me. I just want to have meaning and purpose. "
" 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. "
" Military investigations are designed not to find anyone guilty. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" When I write books, I've learned not to have any expectations that I'm going to change the world. "
Change The World
" I'm not even religious, but I get fanaticism. I get the appeal of it. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" I really enjoy researching, and for almost every piece, I research enough to write a book. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "