Thursday, February 09, 2006

Jean-Christophe Lafaille.

I read his obituary in my newspaper today. He was a mountaineer: born Gap, France 31 March 1965; married (one son, one daughter); died Makalu, Nepal c27 January 2006. I found his life story very moving and his death is a great loss to mountaineering. The obituary gives you an insight into the passion he held for his sport and life itself. What sums up his attitude so well is one of the last quotes he gave before leaving for Makalu, why he climbed in such dangerous conditions alone, Lafaille replied:

"I find it fascinating that our planet still has areas where no modern technology can save you, where you are reduced to your most basic - and essential - self. This natural space creates demanding situations that can lead to suffering and death, but also generate a wild interior richness. Ultimately, there is no way of reconciling these contradictions. All I can do is try to live within their margins, in the narrow boundary between joy and horror. Everything on this earth is a balancing act."

I believe he knew the risks involved before tragedy struck but has lived his short life to the full and has escaped death many times before. He was never held a prisoner by risk assessment and experienced freedoms most people can and will never enjoy. He enjoyed his life on earth to the very limits of nature and is an inspiration to us all. So many people are limited to what they can only see on television but Jean-Christophe Lafaille lived his life to the edge. This was the edge of life itself not the sofa.
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