Mountaineering: What’s the Rush?

NYT Mountaineering articleLast week the New York Times published an article discussing the new breed of mountain climbers – those that strive to achieve mountain summits in record times.

While I am a novice mountaineer and love climbing mountain peaks, I have yet to attempt to break time records.

For me, it is about enjoying the scenery and taking my time to connect with nature. For others, it is a matter of setting personal records. One of the most famous mountaineers with a stop watch is Ueli Steck, also known as the Swiss Machine. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, his impressive climb (run!) up Mt. Eiger is an amazing video.

In my view, individuals should have the right to pursue their goals, whether it is to get to a mountain top in a certain amount of time, or enjoying nature and finding their own way to fulfillment.

What do you think?


  1. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Barry and CrazyCris! I’m definitely one to stop and smell the roses ๐Ÿ™‚ When I hiked Mt. Whitney in California a couple of years ago, other hikers were zipping by us all morning long. We leisurely stopped to take pictures, take in the beautiful scenery, and listen for the chirps of mountain pikas. I understand for some people time goals are very important, and I think it is great for them. For me, it is about enjoying time in nature.

  2. CrazyCris says:

    Hi! I’m new around here, having been poking around some of your posts (the one on the hiking poles is great! My knees have discovered their usefulness this Fall).

    I don’t do any “real” mountaineering, but I’ve encountered this phenomenon while hiking with a new group and it was very unpleasant! The guy guiding the group just flipped on the turbo when he started and never looked back! I thought I was going to die… after a while another girl and I just said hell with it and stopped rushing and went at our own pace. At the end of the hike they had to wait about half an hour for us but at least we enjoyed our hike and made the most of the spectacular views of the Mediterranean from the cliffs we were on!

    What’s the rush people? Stop and smell the roses! Or in this case the rosemary bushes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Barry says:

    I admire the ambition of the alpha dogs. When I was younger I understood it was important to win. We canoed Bowron Lakes over the average 5 days and learned it had been done in mere hours by olympic athletes. We have hiked across the Grand Canyon and been passed by groups of rim-to-rim trail runners. To each their own but I believe it may be more difficult to achieve a spiritual connection with nature over the long term if the focus is on comparable performance in the near term. I do not know but I share a journey with DSD and it has become a substantially important component in my life. It is a source of peace and calm to take the time to smell the roses.

  4. UT hiker says:

    On a recent hike to Delicate Arch (Arches National Park, UT), we saw a hiker who was running up the trail. Turns out, when we were barely a third of the way to the summit, we saw him pass us again — on the way down!

    Not really my style, but definitely a great workout.

    To those who like to “speed climb” – be sure to watching your footing!

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