When I see such a scene, the moral is clear to me. It is: Why go to agonizing mental and physical effort to haul yourself up thousands of feet to face this dilemma, when you could have stayed at home with the wife and kids? (I've yet to hear the orphan of a mountain climber testify he's proud of Dad for proving his courage by falling off the Matterhorn, instead of staying home and being a father.) If I ever fell off a mountain, I would shout "Stupid! Stupid!" at myself all the way down, for having willingly and through great effort put myself in a position to fall to my death.
I know that is an heretical reaction. I know there is supposed to be some kind of enormous psychic bonanza from successfully risking life and limb to conquer a mountain. But here's a curious thing. The actual arrival at the summit is always a disappointment in movies like this. The climbers get up there, stick a flag in the snow, wave their arms, shout, and take photos of each other. Big deal. They seem impatient to move on toward the real psychic payoff, which is the masochistic ordeal of the descent, during which they will be hit by storms, lose their ropes, break their legs, etc.
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