I received a lovely present from friends in Ireland recently – a copy of “Let’s Go Climbing!” by Colin Kirkus. I first read of this book in Joe Brown’s autobiography, The Hard Years, as it was the book from which the master cragsman first learned his trade. Published in 1941, you might be tempted to think that it would be a bit out of date by now.
At the end of the first chapter when Kirkus described a night time winter ascent of Snowdon and then muses on why people climb, we have the following which gets right to the heart of the matter in just one simple paragraph.
"As an exercise climbing is unrivalled, since every muscle in the body is used. It teaches judgment and courage and coolness in emergency, and makes you forget completely all the worries of everyday life. It is a wonderful chance for adventure in pure air and magnificent surroundings. Few who start climbing ever give it up. Once a climber, always a climber."
Voila: nothing’s changed in the 70 years since that was published.