Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just put one foot in front of the other.

Our friend Bill is going to attempt to summit Mt. Everest this spring. Bill is an experienced mountaineer and does not yet have children so really, it's just another Boys' Trip, albeit a long, expensive one.

We saw Bill up at Tahoe over the holidays and he said one thing has been on replay in my mind ever since: I hate every moment of climbing.

Excuse me?!

He told us that climbing itself isn't glamorous. Two plus months without a shower. It's hard to breathe. Your pack is heavy and you're pulling a sled of gear behind you. It's hard to sleep. The food sucks and your digestive system is whacked out. It's cold. You smell. Your climbing buddies smell.

Why do it then? For the thrill of the accomplishment? For bragging rights? For that one picture from the top of the country / continent / world?

No. Bill says he does it for the solitude. It's hours upon hours of think time, time he just doesn't get in his daily life. It's 12 hour days of putting one foot in front of the other, letting the mind wander and being able to contemplate.

I respect this. But I'm not sure I understand it. If you dislike the actual climbing then isn't it easier to rent a deserted Mediterranean island for a month and go solo?


Polka Dot Moon said...

Chris likes to climb and has done Mt. Rainier, Mt. Whitney, Grand Canyon and some "smaller" scale climbs with a friend that enjoys the same.

Not many have done what your friend is setting out to do. Quite an accomplishment whatever your reason is!


I'll take the tropical island please!

Michelle said...

I think about this conversation with him a lot too! I am reading Into Thin Air and I watched a documentary on Discovery channel recently all about the climb. I am really nervous for Bill, I hope he gets what he wants out of this adventure. I could never imagine this in a million years. I can't wait to hear about it from him!