I am supposed to be writing a paper but here I am browsing through the website of James Milne (famous mathematician) who has climbed many mountains. Particularly breathtaking is his account of his Everest attempt (he was 61, reached within 350 m of the summit before turning back). Go to this page and read the sections under Tibet 2004. The description and pictures are awesome and it is chilling to read the last section where he describes his fellow climbers who died or almost died while trying to climb the peak .
I also found this great quote on his page, taken from some book:
The next thing an aspiring mountain climber should do is choose which mountain to climb. Mountain climbers that are still alive (usually because of luck and not for long) will probably advise that you should start with a fairly easy mountain to ascend so that you aren’t killed or maimed or disfigured. However, that is total nonsense since as a mountain climber it is inevitable that you will be killed, maimed, and disfigured, possibly in that order. So, if you want to climb Mt. Everest first, go for it and God have mercy on your soul.
Why am I suddenly browsing mountains? Well, I’ve always dreamt of climbing some serious peaks but at this conference I met this Polish guy who is an experienced mountaineer and he offered to take me up Mont Blanc this fall (highest peak in Alps but relatively easy climb) and eventually with enough practice, we hope to go up the Matterhorn!
Talking of the Matterhorn, watch this video, and you will know why it is such an iconic emblem and everyone’s dream climb.