Monday, November 10, 2014

Tragedy in Nepal/Why Climb

Back in April there was the biggest disaster in Everest climbing history.  16 Climbing Sherpas died in an avalanche climbing through the Khumbu Icefall, one of the most dangerous sections of the mountain.

In October severe weather caused more deaths.  Rainstorms, blizzards, and avalanches on October 15th killed at least 43 people.  This weather is thought to have been caused by Cyclone Hudhud in India.  Many people are still missing.

As in any tragedy, the survivors stories are inspiring.  Knowing how close they were to death can really change a person's perspective.

This is the story of one of the "missing".  Not only did these two survive, they saved the lives of others! To me, it seems like these travelers trusted their instincts, a cliche, perhaps, but you should always follow your instincts about these things.

So, these things happen on mountains, yet people continue to climb?  Why?  Well, as Nigel Vardy said, in the first article, 
"They represent freedom and I always find peace whenever I am among them. Climbing a mountain is, for some, a spiritual experience. For me, it is also a place where I can reflect upon my injuries, my memories and my feelings.
"Being on a mountain is most relaxing – phones don't work – and it's a pleasure to talk to people."

When I hike, even a small "mountain", a hill, by mountaineering standards, I can't help but realize how small everything is.  Standing above everything, knowing that once you get down you'll be small and insignificant again, makes you want to be on top of the world all the time.  Things like airplanes aren't the same, because you're not touching the earth, you're above it, not part of it.  

Even the climbing is amazing, it helps me be confident to know that I can do whatever I feel.  I am strong enough, and I am determined enough.  In the end, that's all you really need.  Confidence is something I've struggled with for a long time, so having that feeling is different and invigorating. 

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