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Eating Disorders and Mountaineering Disorders?

Posted on: May 20, 2008

In keeping with the current thread (nice work, Anonymous), if I can call it that, about the general populace not really quite understanding climbing, I offer this letter to the editor from the New York Times.

I (shocking that I would reference myself) posted a blog a few days ago that brought up both eating poorly and climbing, but I never dreamed that someone would somehow equate the two. "Mountaineering Disorder"? The reason that we don't refer to mountaineering as such is that the manifest benefits of mountaineering (excepting those that buy their way up peaks to inflate their fragile egos, e.g. many of the folks involved in that recently re-aired dirty laundry about the '96 debacle) are many, while the manifest benefits of overeating are few.

This should be obvious to eveyone, excepting perhaps the overly-hypoxic—or someone who has never set foot outside of their cubicle.

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oops, should have been, asthma is undetectable except for in the most extreme of conditions... ;)

2008-05-20 16:26:14

And, I've always enjoyed the irony of the difficulty I had obtaining life insurance... the life insurance industry seems to buy into the "mountaineering disorder" school of thought.

I was overweight, sedentary, and struggled with asthma before I took up climbing. After two years of rock climbing, I'd lost somewhere around 20 pounds; my asthma is not undetectable except for in the most extreme of conditions; and I'm in relatively good shape (marginal shape for a climber; but exceptional shape considered to the average American).

And yet... because I'm a rock climber, it took me months to find a life insurance policy that was (1) affordable; and (2) did not exclude rock climbing from the policy. It amazes me that just because some of the risks associated with obesity and the average american sedentary lifestyle aren't as gory as some of the risks associated with climbing, insurers can't see the benefits of our "risky hobbies."

2008-05-20 16:25:39
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