By Gisle R. Tangenes

As a Result of his personal choice to remain childless, Zapffe’s name is now borne only by one of the Arctic mountains he pioneered. Some of Zapffe’s readers may feel that the fact that he was a mountaineer, humorist, and early champion of environmental conservation is rather at odds with the deep philosophical pessimism that was also characteristic of him. In this essay from 2004, Gisle R. Tangenes elaborates on both these dimensions in Zapffe’s strong and vibrant personality.