Climber explores life's peaks and troughs

Updated: 2011-10-21 10:20

By Ma Zhenhuan (China Daily)

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Climber and record breaker Thomas Bubendorfer is used to facing death and this has driven him to think about the meaning of life.

The Austrian, 49, began his climbing career at the age of 12. At 16, he was the youngest solo rock climber to conquer the Alps. At 18, he scaled the 7,000 meter Pamir Plateau, in Central Asia.

Climber explores life's peaks and troughs

Bubendorfer climbed Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America, within 16 hours. He is famed for conquering five mountains in the Dolomites, Italy, in just one day.

Beginning in 2010 and along with Chinese climbers, he has now set his sights on mountains over 6,000 meters in Tibet autonomous region.

The lecturer and writer has published six books, based on his climbing experiences, and Life is Like Climbing was recently published by China Development Press. Bubendorfer wrote it in German, and it was translated by Tang Wenping.

In Bubendorfer's opinion, the ultimate goal of mountain climbing is to search for and answer the big questions in life. The peak is not the ultimate aim, but the natural result of climbing, an activity in which he puts his heart and soul, he says.

He describes the feeling of standing on a ridge: "I seemed to get rid of time and the surroundings, and enter a new world. The world exists both internally and externally."

For the procrastinator, he writes: "No decision, no action. If I don't make a decision, I have to take action sooner or later."

His analysis of fear is: "(It) is the precondition for courage. Fear is the protection against the hidden dangers that seemed safe."

Bubendorfer's life is full of wisdom and philosophy. As he says: "(Life is) like a continuous mountain range with peaks and troughs. Only when you return to the bottom temporarily, can you start climbing again."