W. H. Murray

I’m currently reading the book Mountaineering in Scotland, by W. H. Murray. It is a legendary book for many walkers and climbers in the UK, and for very good reason. It’s so good in fact, that I’m going to start putting up the odd quote from it to help fill the space between my sparsish blog posts. I hope the words will help to highlight Murray’s wonderful writing talent.

In the following excerpt, Murray describes his thoughts following the hardest climb of his life, Observatory Ridge on Ben Nevis, January 1938. Climbing through the night, the party of three finally reached the summit at 11:30pm.

I answered `Thank God!’ And for once I meant it. Nothing more was said, then or later. But I had no doubt then, and have none now, that this was the longest and hardest climb in relation to sheer strain that we should ever do. We had learnt that when one stands on the summit after such a climb it is not the mountain that is conquered – we have conquered self and the mountain has helped us.