In other words, risk was more reckless in those days.

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Sep 6, 2022·edited Sep 7, 2022Author

Important to note there were no “professional athletes” back then. Bachar perhaps came closest, making money off a few appearances in ads and magazines, but funding for the lifestyle came elsewhere for most, it was possible to scape a living off doing rescues and perhaps a rigging job or a bootleg guiding job every once in a while. I see now the idea of the edge is being portrayed in terms of “professional athletes” who have to be much more conscious of their public persona. Seems like a ball and chain in the idealized quest for the edge to me, but it does note the interface between pushing ones own boundaries and the need to do films, etc. to please sponsors—internal blended with external rewards (there were fewer "external" rewards back then, as we were all nutballs and only Everest climbers had speaker fees).

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Sep 6, 2022Liked by John Middendorf

Didn't think Aussies were prone to such nostalgia. Quite comforting.......


MIyamoto Musashi said it all, a while ago: "Gallop your horse along the edge of your sharpened blade....don't stumble, don't dither.

Some people think the samurai were suicidal fanatics but they valued Life greatly. They truly respected honor, commitment and skill. They had no respect at all for sloppiness or substituting suicidal blunder for competence.

When I solo, the Edge I'm searching for is not a near-death experience but a freedom where I am totally enjoying the experience. I dislike even the whiff of fear and see no merit in seeking it out. Enough of that comes along in any case. Better to look for the Holy Grail of Joy, Exhilaration, Rapture, Fun.

Rhodesian mores were very quaint and old fashioned -- a result of being tucked away in a far corner of the British Empire. We had no time for recreational drugs, although dagga (marijuana) was cultivated all around by the natives, whom we were trying to help along to a Better Life. Beer was OK.

Consequently, the drug culture in The Modern World always seemed a bit decadent; a cheating short-cut that discounted the true value of The Quest. Why adulterate a fine wine!

And so, the Samurai Way seemed to follow a purer and more noble path. That's the way I read "Journey to Ixtlan".

Great, even grandiose sentiments. They have provided many happy moments.........and moments of sheer terror when the theory went wrong and the shit hit the fan.

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My good friend Roddy Mackenzie writes:

Dear John,

I enjoy getting your mail every so often.

This mail for some reason reminds me of a comment I received from my father.

One day I was bumbling about in my futile manner when I made a comment to my father about how adrenalin focuses consciousness and how climbing provides adrenalin. "Yes, I suppose it does" agreed father, "I can assure you that the Battle-Stations bell puts a spring in your step".

All the best from Himachal,



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I do follow up these posts with fact-checking, spelling of people's names, etc, as my posting are often first drafts, but please post any you see!

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