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Andreas Schmidt

The Climber as Artist

To say that the mountains are a canvas on which we practice our art is one of the great cliches–and conceits–of climbing. Can comparing the act of climbing with that of creating art somehow elevate this pointless activity and give it social merit? We climb to be in the moment, savoring brief impressions as aesthetic in themselves: the varied textures of stone and ice; the way the light shifts across an ever changing landscape. We draw on our imagination to visualize a line, formulate a strategy or solve a sequence. But no matter how creative, significant and intense our experience of an ascent may be, at the end of the day, we are left with nothing tangible.