Climbing is a mental game. Great climbers remake themselves. Every time you go up there you change a little. Your attitude determines your reaction to what the mountain hands you, your feelings and emotions keep you going or turn you back, safely.
You are maybe born with that fire that keeps you going up, higher, sometimes you develop it in early childhood, in any case facing adversity up there changes and improves you. The challenges up there are for the fittest of the spirit, not for the fittest of the body.
Climbing to a higher peak means starting at night, in complete darkness and cold. It’s frightening up there, to go out alone and be just you and the emptiness around you. It’s overwhelming. When you know there is nothing that can stop you from what you want, you push forward. Step by step, breath by breath, until sunrise – when everything changes and you are already higher that the ones you left behind.
Lionel Terray, one of the great climbers of all times put it 50 years ago almost in a perfect way for our days: “If the conquest of a great peak brings moments of exultation and bliss, which in the monotonous, materialistic existence of modern times nothing else can approach, it also presents great dangers. It is not the goal of grand alpinism to face peril, but it is one of the tests one must undergo to deserve the joy of rising for an instant above the state of crawling grubs. But soon we have to start the descent. Suddenly I feel sad and despondent. I am well aware that a mountaineering victory is only a scratch in space But in spite of this, how sad I feel at leaving that crest ! On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude.”
The silence around you lets the inner voices be heard. Listen to them, listen to yourself . Understand.
The mountains are the places where everything is possible and permitted. People get rid of their masks at difficult times, work together, die together and most important, live together.
Climbing a peak is a special connection with your rope mate. There are moments when you know one of you could fall and the rest will have to hang on and maybe help you out. That rope has to always be tight, not to close, not to far, and your footsteps have to be exactly at the pace and length as they should be. This sync is every manager’s dream in his company or department.
After a few hours you begin to feel this rhythm, to imagine the heartbeats of your partner, his breath, and to take it step by step. It’s a long way up and even a longer way down. They say that “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon”. It’s not a marathon, it’s climbing a mountain with all the formidable efforts required to do so.