A Dozen Reasons Why I Climb Mountains

/ Wednesday, June 13, 2012 /

Having trouble sleeping initially pushed me to scale mountains. Fast forward to now, friends and family would often ask me why I exhaust myself climbing steep trails via mud-caked shoes; why I find delight in crossing x number of rivers, and most of all, why I choose to find bliss through camping at freezing heights.    Here are a dozen reasons why I climb and what I have learned from such pursuit (or why I have sudden outbursts of unexplained angst after not being able to trek for almost a month now). One cheesy list coming up! You have been warned.

1.      Mountaineering taught (and continuously teaches) me the value of living light and simple.  By leaving the unnecessary behind and making do with what I have at hand, I learned that meaningful living is founded through letting go of stuff that do not truly give value.

2.      A trip to the hills allows me to momentarily escape from the digital trappings of modern life- from the misleading TV ads to the time-wasting extra offerings of the Internet. You don't have to do a mad dash for the uplands and abandon everything digital as soon as you can. We all have our own ways of coping and a digital sabbatical tops my list.

3.      Meeting diverse group of people. From locals to fellow trekkers with different sets of beliefs, culture and philosophy, I understood people better—why they do certain things without raising a judgmental eyebrow.

4.      Scaling mountains also taught me to inherently trust in the goodness of people I barely knew. I learned to have faith in mountain guides, the locals and co-trekkers.

5.      But of course, it’s also about the view!  We are not just talking about the view from the top. Through experience, I have come to the conclusion that the best mountain views are often found along the way. The sky is literally the limit – from verdant greens to cascading waterfalls to sunrises/sunsets that are too divine for words.

6.  That feeling of being alive; of moving forward. Rain, mud, sweat, and sometimes tears coalesced together. The moment you hold on to a rock, branch or a fellow mountaineer’s helping hand, you will finally come to understand what it means to be alive. I get the same feeling every time I pack for the highlands.

7.  To submit myself to the uncertainties veiled up in the mountains is an exercise in risking. Risks come in different flavors but the ones I often encounter when bidding for the summit are the sweet ones.

8.  Nothing beats the sound of silence while you’re out in the wild. Solitude found at the very heart of nature is without a doubt priceless.

9.  I can eat heap loads days before the climb and put them into good use later on. The physical exhaustion after hours of walking equals to calories burned from eating bucketloads of carbo.

10.  I continuously develop my self-reliance skills as well as my survival techniques, not just in the wild, but also in life. I now find myself less vulnerable to emotional and mental setbacks.  Focus, focus, focus.

11. One’s resourcefulness is beefed up a notch higher. It never occurred to me that socks are a good alternative to mittens until I found my hands freezing at camp.

12. To have another round of drinking water from a natural source— spring, falls or well. There’s something about the water from the mountain that simply refreshes.

We all have our own reasons. The fact remains though that scaling mountains is more than just a form of physical exercise, it is also resuscitates the weary mind and battered soul. It is an exercise of freedom.


{ dan } on: June 20, 2012 at 6:05 PM said...

i agree :D

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I usually say, in the end, okay, it’s love and it’s work — what else could there possibly be? -- Maira Kalman


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