Sunday, October 09, 2005


Rockclimbing has become more and more part of everyday society, as the cover of Qantas's Frequent Flyer magazine (above) demonstrates. And despite all the debates over ethics, one thing is for sure: people will continue to climb for many and varied reasons. Here’s the first of a collection of Australian climbers’ thoughts on this from across the ages...

Freda Du Faur

(1915: Australia's first mountaineer)

Every now and then a voice seemed to rise from nowhere in a faint cry. Again and again I have started up, sure that some one was calling me, to confront only the silent, snow-clad mountains. Some stone falling from the heights, the gurgle of an underground stream, or the wind sweeping into a hidden cave and raising an echo from the distant ridges—clear and distinct it comes, this call of the mountains, sometimes friendly and of good cheer; but often eerie, wild, and full of melancholy warning, as if the spirit of the mountains bade you beware how you tread her virgin heights, except in the spirit of reverence and love.

[Freda Du Faur, The conquest of Mount Cook and other climbs: an account of four seasons’ mountaineering on the Southern Alps of New Zealand, London, George Allen and Unwin, 1915]