20th-century Explorer Quotes
So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
Every victory of man over man has in itself a taste of defeat.... There is no essential difference between the various human groups, creatures whose bones and brains and members are the same; and every damage we do there is a form of mutilation, as if the fingers of the left hand were to be cut off by the right.
Big mountains are a completely different world: snow, ice, rocks, sky, and thin air. You cannot conquer them, only rise to their height for a short time; and for that they demand a great deal. The struggle is not with the enemy, or a competitor like in sports, but with yourself, with the feelings of weakness and inadequacy. That struggle appeals to me. It is why I became a mountaineer.
There's a passage about 'rivers of molten rock that wound their way... until they cooled and lay like twisted dragon-shapes vomited from the tormented earth.' That's a perfect description: how did Tolkien know, a quarter century before anyone ever saw a picture of Io? Talk about Nature imitating Art.