Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Forthright exchange

From an interview with legendary Polish climber Voytek Kurtyka in Alpinist 43

“I'm really into people who are sensitive to beauty. To me, beauty is the door to another world. Don’t ask what world, because it will f*** up the whole conversation.”

(Quoted from The View from the Wall, interview by Zbyszek Skierski)

From the Letters page in Alpinist 48

A More Delicate Vocabulary

Like Clay G. (Letters, Alpinist 45), I was shocked by the language in Alpinist 43. In my experience, climbers are never so crude. Even in critical situations, they maintain decorum. For example, recently my friend Leonard Forthwith was leading me up Yosemite's famous Nightmare Crack. Encountering unexpected difficulties, he exclaimed, "Bosley, I fear I am about to topple over. Kindly guard the rope for me." I did so, although in fact Leonard regained his balance.

I offer you some future guidelines for propriety:

Crevasse fall: "Dear me, it is chilly down here."
Stove won't start: "How unfortunate. But we can still suck icicles."
Rappel rope doesn't reach: "This is surely a dilemma. Have you some extra Jumars?"
Dropped gear rack: "No doubt this was meant to be."
Forced to bivouac on an icy ledge: "Dawn is a mere twelve hours away."

I am certain that Voytek Kurtyka's regrettable adjective on Page 68 was a mistranslation of the original Polish. 

 Bosley Sidwell, Pokhara, Nepal

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