Endurance of mind and body in high-altitude mountaineering - Allen-Collinson, Crust, & Swann
Photo by Kalle Kortelainen on Unsplash
What is it about?
The 2015 Nepal earthquake and avalanche on Mount Everest generated one of the deadliest mountaineering disasters in modern times, bringing to media attention the physical-cultural world of high-altitude climbing. Contributing to the current sociological concern with embodiment, here we investigate the lived experience and social ‘production’ of endurance in this sociologically under-researched physical-cultural world. Via a phenomenological-sociological framework, we analyse endurance as cognitively, corporeally and interactionally lived and communicated, in the form of ‘endurance work’. Data emanate from in-depth interviews with 18 high-altitude mountaineers, ten of whom experienced the 2015 avalanche. The article responds to Shilling’s (2016) call to address an important lacuna identified in sociological work: the need to investigate the embodied importance of cognition in the incorporation of culture. The concept of endurance work provides a powerful exemplar of this cognitive-corporeal nexus at work as a physical-culturally shaped, embodied practice and mode-of-thinking in the social world of high-altitude climbing.
Why is it important?
There is currently a lack of social science research into endurance generally, and particularly in relation to mountaineering, and how mountaineers go about learning, developing and maintaining enduring bodies. This is an important gap to address, and here we seek to offer some new perspectives on endurance as lived within a specific and under-researched physical cultural world.
The following have contributed to this page: Professor Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson