Monday, February 3, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Should Climb Mountains

It's fun up there! 
I have been climbing mountains for 3 years now and have more than 30 summits under my sleeves. When I meet people who do not share the same interest the only question they bother asking me is “Why I climb.” This, ironically, is the last question I feel like answering primarily because I don’t feel like explaining myself and secondarily because according to George Mallory, “if you have to ask the reason why (I climb)... You won't understand the answer (anyway).” This given, I forbid you to know the reason behind my climbing mountains. However, I provided below the top 10 reasons why YOU should climb mountains.

(Read at your own risk)

10.) Find beauty in simplicity.

Climbing is a meek activity that has to be done by people with recognizable tenacity. There is a tangible and measurable goal in mountaineering and that is to reach the summit. Even before you set your foot for the first step up, you already know that the rewards are pure. Through climbing, the clamour that we have to deal with every single day is reduced to a focused act; needs are so simple and most of these are earned.

I can't describe to someone who has never made camp at 2,922 MASL (meters above sea level) what the view is like during sunrise or sunset and you are standing above the clouds. They certainly would not understand what it meant to walk hours and days just to stay several minutes at the summit.  Up there, even the silliest of jokes are funnier. In mountaineering, the camaraderie is unparalleled; teamwork and trust are realized and appreciated.

When you climb, nothing else matters. Hours fly swiftly. The accrued disorder of daily existence such as the towering paper works, the busted porch light, the unpaid bills, the failed opportunities, the heavy traffic, and so on and so forth, will be temporarily forgotten. Up there, the water tastes sweeter when you have to fetch it from rivers, falls, or streams; the food is best because you make the effort to contribute to the meal; unexpected boy bawang from the bottom of a pack paired with canned sardines is already considered a feast. When you climb mountains, life's simple pleasures are magnified and all other trivia of life melts away. Climbing contrasts with the synthetic fabricated existence of the modern society.

09.) Nice break from busy civilization.

Are you tired of the noisy city, endless traffic, and too much pollution that come with so-called civilization? Do you want to relax and enjoy a beautiful view whilst inhaling the freshest air? Head your way to the mountain ranges of Batangas and find solitude with Mother Nature. There is no need to venture far above the treeline, all you have to do is to simply find your way on its already established trail and the calmness and unobtrusive mountain will embrace you. Enjoy the fresh scent of the wind as it touches your face and feel the energy of the storm as it comforts your ragged soul. The weariness will be gone; the worries brought by civilization will drop away from you like the leaves of autumn. Climbing brings us to places where we can find our own peace.

08.) Climb to uplift your spirit.

Luke 9:28 – “Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.”

There is something in the silence of the mountains that is soothing to our being. At the summit, after the entire ordeal you went through in climbing, the peace in nature will flow into your very soul, just like how the sun flows its light into the canopies.  

Great sages, saints, and spiritual leaders believe that high places are spirit centers. When I reached my first summit, I know I am closer to the sky; closer than the majority of the world’s population. It led me to think that if I pray right there and then, God will hear me first as my whisper will travel faster than those who are in the level ground. From up there I felt the renewal of my spirit; my heart was recharged.  From the vantage of the lofty summits, I have seen my past and with the unusual sensitivity I experienced on my first peak, I dreamed of the future.

07.) Find thy inner peace.

The breeze from mountains brings fresh energy to the urban life below. Their beauty enriches you and all others who live beneath them. On the mountaintop, the thick fog has the ability to bring unexpected clarity. Have you tried searching through the layer of clouds? Do so and you will be amazed on how inner peace stirs within you.

Mountains are amazingly beautiful places. You do not have to be a biologist, environmentalist, or a spiritual person to know that. You will feel complete just to be around such a soothing, refined beauty. When you climb, you will know that there is unambiguity to landscapes. You will understand how the branches of the trees are twisted by the winds and how rocks have been battered by time. You will be impressed on how volcanoes show their fiery past through the kaleidoscopic layers of ashes and stones.

Go ahead. Climb your first mountain and experience one of your most-treasured moments, where you will fall in love more with life.

06.) Climb for amazing and unforgettable memories.

Climbing mountains is exhausting, but rest assured that the rewards it brings are beyond extent. When you stand at the summit and look down on the earth below, you will feel proud and satisfied. Knowing that you are able to go through all challenges along the trail makes the moment extra special. The climb may not be enjoyable and you may not like the effort that you need to exert in ascending and descending rugged terrains, but once you reach the peak you will feel utmost pride about your feat. Mountains can challenge us physically, mentally, and emotionally and that is what makes it more exciting. Climbing will provide you with great tales to tell.

I have suffered from hypothermia, depression, hunger, and exhaustion the entire time I have been a climber. Several times on occasions, I went home with a skin tore, ripped knees and ankles, insect bites, rashes, ugly bruises, etc., but I am not stopping. While there have been occasions that have restricted me from reaching summits, I still believe that mountaineering can be a positive part of everybody’s life.

When you climb, you will see that the world was made real. Give yourself the best “hurrah of life” at a higher pitch on higher grounds.

05.) For physical fitness.

Improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, and increased muscle tone are just some of the healthy benefits of climbing. When you climb even on the smallest mountain, you have to exert considerable effort. Make mountaineering a part of your lifestyle and be surprised with the changes. In the beginning, it will take time for you to lumber up and reach the summit.  However, if you continue climbing, time will come that you can nearly run up mountains.

Today, while you are still physically capable of summiting peaks, climb. Do not try to know why, do not give so much thought about it, and do not focus on the difficulties, just climb. Because someday, the things that you will regret are the things that you didn’t do when you were able to. J

04.) For better perspective of life.

When all you see and experience are failures in life, if you think you are a loser, if you have no set of friends, if you think you are ugly and stupid – climb!

Reaching the summit is like achieving success, teaching you to continue and develop determination. Use mountaineering to know your worth.  As you ascend and descend from one mountain to another, you will learn various lessons. Apply those lessons to your life. Overcome the obstacles of failures and death. Drive yourself to rise above your limitations and conquer all challenges. The world is full of harsh outback and only those who are strong thrive; the unfit are weeded out. Climbing is personal. The only barrier is within you. When you climb, going through the obstacles along the trail is just one of the tests a climber must undergo in order to deserve the joy of rising above. Same with life, you have to know how much farther you can go in order to determine where you are heading to.

03.) You can become a teacher and a mentor.

This can take time, but the wait is worth it. Like in all other fields, you have to start as a newbie and learn your way through experiences. Once you have gained the knowledge and skills of being a leader, you can then teach others. In mountaineering, you do not have to have a diploma in order to be a teacher or a mentor. You can pass on the legacy to others by helping them to develop their abilities. When you become a mountaineering mentor, you can make immeasurable impact to others. The self-esteem and confidence that people draw from climbing can have a huge influence on the development of their lives. You as a teacher and mentor who teach them to overcome challenges will be a big part of their success.

02.) Look at the world from above.

You cannot stay on the summit forever. When you reach the top, you have to come down and go through the discomfort of trekking again. So why bother to go up in the first place? The answer is simple. You cannot see below the things that you see when you are up there. When you stay on level ground, you will not learn what lies above, but when you go up, you will know both worlds.

Mountains expose their best grandeurs only to those who sweat and make effort. They have so much to give and they lavishly reward those who will wrestle with them.  The best gifts of mountains are reserved only for those who find their way up and stand upon their mighty summits.

01.) Quest for renewal.

When someone is one with nature, he can test all his powers or find himself whole.

In the mountains, the character of a man comes out. The hurts and pains acquired in climbing can provide healthier viewpoint in life. All the challenges that you will encounter during the climb will renew your strength and clear your vision. The challenging moments of getting to the top, taking the risks, and testing the limit of physical and mental endurance gives a sense of renewal that goes beyond the accomplishment. Climbing can help you to refresh and renew your spirit and gain better perspective on what is really important in life. From the summits you can strive for perfection, both physically and spiritually.  You will reach the pinnacle from where you can celebrate creation. For every climb, you are reborn.
Through mountains, you will see God’s splendor, you will hear the song that the earth renders, you will reach the naked soul of your being, you will know what to value in life and what your priorities are, you will understand what ties are, and ultimately, you will know that Mother Nature can help in bringing you peace of mind and showing you the world from an entirely different perspective.

"The mountains are calling and you must go." – Anonymous

Note: Reasons provided above are not purely of the author's thinking, some were provided by like-minded individuals. 

This article has been published in MANILA BULLETIN's Travel and Lifestyle Magazine - Cruising Going Places (September Issue)
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  1. "When someone is one with nature, he can test all his powers or find himself whole." Lovely words. This part made me smile. And in case you need to be reminded why you write, it's because you help people like us plan for our climbs, your travel inspires people, and you make us smile with your genius and wit! =)

  2. Thank you for dropping by and thank you for your inspiring message. I hope to see you on the road someday. Cheers! :)


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I wish you luck and happiness. Keep on travelling, find your happy place. :)