How the Mountains Saved My Life

The Biancograt on Piz Bernina, Italian Alps.

I stroll into my Monday morning lessons, my fingers well and truly shredded from a Sunday climbing sesh. Again. My students, as always, greet me with ironic and knowing smiles — in the few years that I’ve known them, they’ve come to expect little else.

“I just don’t get why you do it,” said one of my students that morning, ogling my fingers with a look of concern, “you risk injury, death, scare yourself…