This post was long overdue…. Sometimes in November 2014, I stumbled upon TripAdvisor’s Why I Travel series and it led to a realization of why I climb mountains. So I posted in various Facebook pages/groups asking mountaineers of why they climb mountains.
During our Mt. Kinabalu climb, we halted at the KM8 marker, the St. John peak’s point… I have admitted at that moment that we were up to that point. We sat as we witnessed the sun broke the dawn… with the summit at our back, calling, luring us… just 166 meters (masl) away. That close and yet…
I shivered under my thick coat with emotions jumbled and undefined. So why did I climbed if I won’t make it to the top. I told myself there’s always a next time. Maybe there’s a reason of why I was at that level for now. With deep sigh, I engulfed the cold breeze and pretended to be all right.
Then another climber passed us by and uttered a challenge, you were this close, why give up now? Come on, you’ll make it… A relief; the magic word that all we needed at that moment. Yes, why give up… what is really at the top that everyone was after. So slowly, we crawled towards the summit, no pressure and at the pace we desired.
The saying “it’s not the mountain that we conquer, it’s ourselves”, was very true at that moment. So what’s at that top that I was after for? Well, it’s not the top; it’s the jubilation of reaching it. The view was just a reward for accomplishing the goal. It’s the achievement of pushing yourself to its limit, to what it can attain and without a doubt; this can be appraised by making it to the summit.
I once believed that after our Mt. Kinabalu climb, my “mountaineering career” (as I funny call it) of more than 15 years can come to an end, sort of; I’ve arrived at my peak… But then, why stop climbing if you believe you still can. The mountain acclaimed that it’s there and every inch of my body kept responding to that call. I agree that the physical exhaustion cause a rejuvenation of the mind on the other end. I myself have asked several times why am I doing this when I can be somewhere else enjoying, relaxing. But even so, the pleasure that comes with every stride is incomparable. The confidence gained and lessons learned from every summit reached, or trail completed, or an ordeal surpassed was a no-trade-off point. I less cared of the danger that others proclaimed, all I know is that I trust myself and I have faith in the mountain.
A certain #taongbundok shared:
Ako ay isang #taongbundok dahil minsan ko itong nasubukan, nakayanan, nagustuhan at sinabing maulit nga… hanggang naging adik na nga o “passion” ba sa ingles (pangit kasi pag pagnanasa)… at tulad ng ibang adiksyon, ito’y hinahanap hanap na ng aking katawang LUPA, ito’y nakakadulot ng kaligayahang (high ba!) di maipaliwanag at sadyang sa paraang ito lamang… sa adiksyong ito nakatagpo at makakatagpo pa ako ng maraming kaibigan J, nakakita at makakakita pa ng magagandang tanawin... nakilala at makikilala ko pa ang aking kakayahan… natuto at matututo pang pag-ingatan ang ating kalikasan… gaya ng isang adik, maraming beses ko ng sinabing “bakit ko ba pinahihirapan sarili ko?” pero pagkatapos ng paghihirap may kalugurang di mapantayan kaya uulit ulitin at uulitin pa.
Dahil sa pamumundok ako ay nagging adik, adik na umakyat ng umakyat pa… keep climbing ika nga at ipagpapatuloy habang kaya pa…
(I am a mountaineer because I once tried it, endured it and liked it and said, I’ll do it again… until I became addicted to it and like other addiction, my body longed for the indescribable happiness that can only be attained by doing this. With this passion, I have met and will still meet friends, saw beautiful sceneries, recognized by strength and learnt how to care for our nature. Like the other enthusiast, I have asked myself; why am I doing such agony… but after each suffering, I felt bliss unrivalled and I will do it again and again)
Other mountaineers also imparted their #whyIclimbmountains: some said it’s their way of seeing and talking to heaven, of finding peace, of feeling infinite and of being free, while for others, they climb for camaraderie and as a bonding moment. For the thrill seekers, it’s the joy of exploration, the pleasure of physical exertion, or the ecstasy at the sound of thundering waterfalls. Everyone echoes that the wonder of being at the top is beyond fathom and the beauty of the mountain sunrise/sunset or the great landscape was one of a kind.
With mountaineering, we discerned the trust to one self and to others, developed independence, focus, hope, openness and appreciate the little things in life. But most of all, mountaineering made us care for nature, it made us a responsible living creature and conscious of our own impact to the environment.
Next time, pause for awhile and ask, why I climb mountains J