Why I Climb Mountains

Mount-Rainier-Washington-USA-007

For the last few weeks there has been a lot of mountain talk going on in the background of my life. Information is currently been sourced, emails are being sent back and forward and excited chats about all things mountains are taking place. This is how it all starts again… the planning, the preparing, the committing, then comes the training and the saving!

We are currently in talks about a three-year plan to climb three mountains, two of them part of our Seven Summits Journey and one as part of our training as the mountains we will be climbing become more technical and of course so much more exciting! It was a short while after we began to plan these mountain climbs that tragedy struck again in the mountaineering community and so close on the heels of the Everest tragedy.  Sadly the latest tragedy is on one of the mountains that forms part of our three-year climbing plan. It is devastating to read news of things that happen on the mountain and the loss of life that it takes. Yet again, it is a sobering reminder that what we love to do has high risks, although I believe risks are all around us, every single day, so in a sense it is not that much different. Mountains such as these  are so incredibly powerful and they hold so much immense and indescribable beauty that only those who climb them truly know and understand, yet Mother Nature can be brutal. Something we got to experience first-hand on Aconcagua earlier this year.

On Sunday, a skilled mountaineer that I follow on Twitter shared the news of 6 climbers who have gone missing on Mount Rainier, possibly swept off a ledge in a snow/ice/rock avalanche landing the team a horrifying 3,300 feet below. Equipment from the team was found at 12,800 feet and pings were located from all six team members on their emergency beacons at the base of a rock-fall at 9,500 feet. Reports say there is no viable chance anyone would survive a fall like that. The search continues but hopes of recovering the team may not be possible due to the risks involved.

It was just over a month ago I was chatting to Gordon Janow of Alpine Ascents International about all things mountains and we chatted about the tragedy that struck his team and their sherpas on Everest on that fatal day on 18th April. They lost 5 Sherpa in the tragedy. Now, this is another huge devastation for their team.

It is never easy hearing of these tragedies but with heavy hearts at the loss of more life on the mountain, life does go on and we will still climb. Many people have asked me over the last couple of years why I climb? They ask if the dangers put me off? Am I afraid? The questions keep coming, the answers sometimes hard to put into words.  Every time I step out of my house (and sometimes even in my house) I face every day dangers, it is a part of life. The dangers of climbing the mountains I climb are glaringly obvious but climbing mountains makes me feel more alive than ever. As for fear, it is always there and maybe that is part of the attraction, facing it head on, living my life to the fullest. Jeb Corliss, a professional skydiver and BASE jumper, has inspired me for a number of years now and earlier this year he posted a video and put this note with it.

“Dying in the pursuit of your dreams is not tragic. It actually may be the only way a person should die.

I always hear people say I want to die from old age laying in my bed. It always makes me think, really? All I have to say to that is go spend some time in an old folks home. Then come back and tell me that again.

For me, I hope I get to die standing on my feet with my eyes wide open facing my dreams head on fighting to turn them into realities. I can think of no better way to go into that dark night than in the process of living a life of true passion for what you do…”

His words have helped me describe to people why I climb mountains and this is now how I answer people. Despite the risk, climbing mountains makes me feel alive. It is my passion and just like Jeb says, living your dreams should be the only way you should die.

This video tells a story that puts so much into perspective. Over the last few years I have learnt that the reward of doing what makes you come alive far outweighs any risk.

Do what you love ~ And don’t be afraid to live your dreams!

To the fallen climbers who lost their lives on Mount Rainer a few days ago, may your loved one’s find comfort in the knowledge that you were doing what you love.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. paranoiasnfm
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 13:41:43

    <3

    I wanna die driving some faster car… rally, or F1. :D

    Reply

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