On this episode of the podcast, we discuss survival stories and the philosophy of mountains and mountaineering. I talk about a few close calls I've had while out in the mountains, and then we ask what draws humans to these mountains in the first place.

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  • 0:00 - Introduction
  • 2:13 - My first close call
  • 18:23 - My second close call
  • 30:30 - My third close call
  • 40:25 - Why do we go up mountains?
  • 49:06 - Ernest Shackleton's doomed Antarctic expedition
  • 1:02:50 - The Philosophy of mountains


  • I start this episode of the podcast talking about three close calls I've had while hiking up in the mountains. The first two, I was with other people when we faced terrible weather conditions that put us in a bad spot. In the third, I was alone and caught myself making some pretty bad decisions trying to find my way down the mountain.
  • I ponder the question as to why we go up mountains in the first place. What compels us towards the summit?
  • I then relay the story of Ernest Shackleton's incredible survival experience in Antarctica on his doomed 1915-1916 expedition. Most shockingly of all, after 10 months of being stranded without their ship, all of Shackleton's crew survived this ordeal.
  • We wrap up with some final thoughts on the philosophy of mountains.

Works Cited:

  1. Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit. Vintage 2004.
  2. John Krakauer, Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. Anchor 1998.
  3. Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. Basic Books 2014.