Bowery Mural

Why does a man (or woman) climb mountains?....

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Hello all
I have been trying for months now to figure out the feelings I get when I am walking, climbing, hiking and dragging myself up hillsides and mountains, across rugged terrains, scrambling over huge boulders the size of Ryan!!
I think I might have realised what it may be... no promises but here's the only way I know how to describe it just now...

It's the feeling of 'why oh why am I doing this?'; it's the self doubt about the prospect of one of the hardest things I will have achieved in my life - the trek; it's the dread at the beginning of a walk with other more experienced folks of 'I hope they don't rush away from me'; it's the self satisfaction of when I am going at a steady pace and they say 'slow down!'; it's the niggling pain in my left knee when I'm nearly at a summit and the burning pain that it turns into on a descent; it's the great feeling you get when you are climbing your first munro and realise you've been taken up one of the biggest in the country and you HAVE done it (it was hard but you've done it!!); it's the magnificent views that unfold before your very eyes or the ones that don't on a claggy day on the hills; it's the banter that you partake in up to a certain point and the banter that you love listening to but must never be repeated!; it's the 50 mph winds atop an open summit with nothing but a few rocks to try to get shelter from; it's the sight of the two or three false summits that seem to appear like some black teasing mounds on every munro - why are they made like this?!!; it's the fantastic feeling of a great photo that you've taken on your first winter route and you're so proud you've entered it into a photo comp at a film festival!; it's the ice cold water your glad of on a steep ascent; it's the nice warm shower you have after an exhilarating day on the hills; it's the stinging red face after a windy but exhilarating day on the hills; it's the emotion that took my breath away on Stob Coire Sgreamhach; it's the solitude and silence of the Lost Valley; it's the anticipation of waiting on the article you're featured in coming out and the nervousness of not even reading it yet as you're too embarrassed (the pictures are great though!); it's the advice you've sought from many a wise man or even the advice from the not so wise one!; it's the sense of belonging where you never thought you would; it's the wishing you could be doing much much more but the dodgy knee is holding you back; it's the hope that it all goes as planned and the realisation that it's coming around very very quickly; it's the flutter in your tummy when you catch a glimpse of Everest on TV; it's the weight on your shoulder to deliver the money shot; it's the excitement of those final few steps to the money shot!; it's the months of ramblings on a blog that you're not even sure that anyone reads! and realising that you write way too long entries because English isn't really your strongest point - but hey, we can't be good at everything!; it's the being too shy to have one of your hero's stand right in front of you and you not even saying anything but wishing you had and then replaying the conversation you never had over and over in your head; it's just you being you but wishing you could be a bit braver; it's feeling like you're a burden when people take you out walking but you're really not and in fact you're actually quite good at it and it's them that go too fast - way too fast; it's discovering hidden talents you never knew you had; it's discovering hidden places that you never knew existed; it's discovering a whole new life you are kinda liking better; it's the things that keep you going when you don't really want to; it's being cosy warm in your new down jacket; it's being freezing cold and soaking wet on the side of a hill when you feel sick cos someone gave you a JellyBean with extra glucose that is meant to be a pick me up - Sharon!!; it's your very first blister after a walk up Dumyat; it's the stories you hear from various sources of climbing and walking and seeing and doing; it's the amazing people you meet along the way and hopefully many more to come; it's the lingo you don't understand but you nod all the same; it's the sheepish way you acknowledge your challenge when you tell someone else; it's the friends old and new who have helped you to believe; it's the Olympic Gold medallist that wished you good luck and told you of his hopes to be an Everest base camp doctor one day; it's the guy who inspires you with tales of two broken ankles and six (and counting) Everest summits; it's the assurance that you get from deep down within; it's the new yellow kit bag that's getting you there; it's the cosy fleeces and tech tops that you layer and layer; it's the shiver down your spine when you watch Sir Chris Hoy win his third Gold medal; it's the tear in your eye when Lance Armstrong wins his seventh Tour De France; it's the sitting eating lunch on a summit top with the views that go on for ever and could be another planet; it's the drive back home with the sense of achievement and the photo's you can't wait to load to the laptop; it's the questions from people of 'when do you fly out?'; it's the watching on with awe at this person climbing up the side of a rock like Spiderman and wondering how he gets a grip; it's the sudden feeling of realisation that it's not that far off; it's the laughing til you cry on the day in Drumochter/Pitlochry, the ptarmigan spotting and the fabulous mountain talk; it's the enthusiasm someone had for the trek into Base Camp when they've actually climbed Everest! - made my day; it's the finding an affinity with people around you; it's just something that cannot easily be described; it's the great outdoors.........

I'm not sure if you got the feelings from that but ... well it's the best i can do. I'll leave you with another few lines I heard recently on tv on Wainwright Walks. He talks about the English Lake District but i think it can be used to describe everyone that walks/climbs/hikes/treks and all the rest. I liked it as soon as i heard it:
Why does a man climb mountains?, why has he forced his tired and sweating body up here when he might instead have been sitting at ease in a deck chair at the seaside. It is a question every man must answer for himself. Alfred Wainwright.

Can you answer his question?......

Happy New Year!
much love,
Ange xx

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