Why climb? Here’s a great answer

I get to interview a lot of people about their climbing adventures. One thing I never ask them directly is why they do it. That just seems like such a basic question. George Mallory was famously dismissive of it. They tell me anyway, in their own roundabout way, through the stories.

But when I made a documentary about Fred Padula’s award-winning film, El Capitan, I got the best answer I’d heard. Richard “Dick” McCracken was one of the climbers featured in the film. In fact, one of the scenes featuring him on their 1968 ascent was a major inspiration for my own climbing.

When I interviewed him gave such a lyrical, unprompted, answer to the question of why we climb that really there was a bigger question: Why would you stop? The ascent in Fred’s film was Richard’s last big climb, and he walked away totally satisfied with his achievements and ready for new adventures. His deep love of the 15 years he spent exploring the mountains and rockfaces is evident in this clip though, 50 years on from that famous ascent.

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