This was a reflective piece I wrote for my english class after a teacher asked me about mountaineering. It has some over-use of adjectives, but I think it describes why it is that I climb.
I’m not one who usually just sits down and writes down what’s on their mind. In fact I’m usually just the opposite, I store it all deep in my brain, and pull it out when needed. But reading of these recent tragedies in the mountains, and getting nervous about my upcoming expedition has got my thinking. Why? That is the question that every mountaineer is asked every time they talk to someone that is not into climbing. Why? Well I’ll tell you why! Oh wait… why do I do this? How can I not know why I truly climb? Is it just a bunch of little reasons that make up one big reason to climb? I don’t know, but what I do know is the thrill I feel as I am embarking on a trip. Driving into the mountains is almost like a homecoming, as if I were meant to be here my entire life, and to never leave.
The towering giants that rise up so high, they grace the heavens; forming my every dream and thought. Why can I not stop thinking about these things? I hike every weekend, and am usually successful in making the summit without too much stress, so why is it that this next expedition I have planned is making me question my very existence? Could it be the gaping crevasse of unknowns that awaits me the second I step off that plane in Mexico? Probably. I try to re assure myself, and tell myself that it is all going to be okay, and that this is what you train for! But the thought still lingers. I can’t get it out of my brain, what if something goes wrong, what if I fall and can’t arrest, what if I get HAPE or AMS, what if, what if, what if! All of these things linger in the back of my brain, and then while thinking about them one thought re-appears. Being above tree line sitting there eating a snack watching the most beautiful sunrise that I have ever seen, and thinking to myself, I will never be happier than at this moment. That is it, pure happiness.
Finding something in life that truly makes you happy, and in turn makes you a better person, then that’s it, that’s all there is to life, happiness. Finding true happiness is not something that comes easy to everyone in this world, I feel privileged to have found my path into true inner peace at such a young age, and feel graced by the presence of something greater than myself every time I enter the mountains. You see when I am sitting above tree line watching the sunrise, something inside my just clicks, and all the sudden my entire life is thrown into perfect harmony, almost as if it were the last piece to the never-ending puzzle that is ordinary life. Being in the mountains makes the issues with everyday life seem small, and insignificant. Something that may have happened the day before that had me all fired up, all of a sudden is not even remembered, and I couldn’t care less about it.
What is it that makes me feel so strongly about mountains? Heck not more than two years ago I could have cared less what Pico de Orizaba was. But not now, for now this mountain is all that occupies my dreams, it is in my brain countless times a day! So back to the essential question, why? Why is it that these high peaks encompass my entire being? Well this question is so much easier answered than the first one; it is simply the same reason that I climb to begin with. Climbing gets me out of this day to day life and into a place that transcends the boundaries that occupy the ordinary world, and carries me into a place where you can almost feel that positive energy of the entire world, to a place where you never want to leave. Nirvana. This word is not only the name of a rock band, but it is also a key idea behind Buddhism. That once you are done living your life in the manner that you have been, and have learned all of the lessons that you are designated to learn, you arrive at this most glorious place known as Nirvana. But Buddha did not believe in Gods, only in the individual, and that they each had a place in the most sacred of places--Nirvana. But instead of a collection of the beings of the universe, I think of Nirvana, as a peak’s summit. Almost as if when I arrive at the summit, I am arriving home. I am arriving to a place that in all its glory is where I have been destined to be for my entire life. That one sacred place, that will reach out to me with open arms and embrace me! I shall spend my eternity here, a place which I have been yearning for my entire life. The place in which I am blessed enough to visit nearly every week: The mountains.