Have you ever Challenged Yourself?
Have you ever done something that starting out you are not sure you can complete? Challenged yourself to push beyond what you thought your limit was? Something long, something where it takes hard work over an extended period? Something that on some level scares you even though you don’t want to admit it?
I am not talking about doing a bungee jump or skydive as for the most part once you have decided to do it there isn’t much to it. As scary and all as they are there is one decisive moment and once that is over then you can do nothing about it. I’m talking about a long arduous journey whether that is days or months or even years. This can be sport but it could equally be a course you didn’t think you can do, some fitness campaign or even losing weight. Basically something that can’t be done overnight.
Now this it might be a stretch for me to compare losing weight or a life changing course to climbing a mountain but I’m going to make it and risk sounding ridiculous! I don’t take the mountain that seriously but I am apprehensive about it. A lot more than I should be. Will I be fit enough? Will the altitude get to me and I go a little crazy? Will my legs be too tired to continue? Will the lack of oxygen just keep slowing us down so the guide is forced to turn back?
Climbing Mont Blanc
At the weekend I am going to try and climb Mont Blanc in France, the highest point in Western Europe. It is 4,807 meters (15,771ft) and is snow capped the whole year round. Crampons, ropes, ice-axe all a prerequisite. I have climbed higher peaks like Cotopaxi in Ecuador which is almost 6,000mtrs but for that I had been in Quito for 2months beforehand so altitude wasn’t such an issue. And, AND it is on the equator so because the atmosphere is thickest here it is like climbing a 5000mtr peak in the Alps (because it is halfway to the North Pole). A mountain guide told me that because I thought I was great and he was putting me back in my place! Usually I wouldn’t think too much about these things but maybe it is from my last attempt that is getting me apprehensive. I attempted to do Mont Blanc before but that time we had to climb the smaller Gran Paradiso nearby in Italy because of an avalanche risk on Mont Blanc after heavy snow. That time I knew it would be hard but hard shmard, it’ll be grand! I did a little looking up, thought it would be good and booked it. Not much reading before, not much reading afterwards, no worries! Although Gran Paradiso was smaller it seemed very hard. Not dangerous hard although there was a ladder over an endless crevasse to be negotiated but just with the lack of oxygen (less lack than on Mont Blanc) for hours on end it seemed very, very long. This time I have read up more on Mont Blanc and the 14hrs of climbing on the last day seems impossible after 2 days of hiking previously. This must be the way life is, as you get older you worry and worry stops you doing things. In the 3 years since Gran Paradiso I have got 3 years older and must have entered the non-returnable ‘worry age’. I always wondered why my parents thought some things were not to be done even though to me they seemed perfectly reasonable.
What I keep telling myself is to get to the top. Once you get there then you have no choice but to get down! Have you ever pushed your boundaries and challenged yourself?