What climbing Mount Snowdon taught me

Sir Edmund Hillary a famous mountaineer climber once said

‘It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves’

I believe that to be true as there are things that I learnt while climbing that I wouldn’t have without the experience that I can bring to life afterwards.

Focus on one thing at a time kept coming up. There were many instances while climbing that when the Mr stopped, I stopped too and then my balance would become uneasy. The same when talking, at the harder bits I found I couldn’t talk and climb, oneWhat or the other or my concentration and balance was off.

Nearing the top we passed someone coming down from the top, he was walking at a good consistent pace and looked pretty happy with himself, I waved at him and got no response then I fell over. All because I needed to focus on what I was doing- climbing and only climbing and when I did that all was well.

I am someone who used to have such a hard time focusing. I believe through dietary changes and daily yoga practice that my focus is getting much better. Climbing the mountain reminded me of how important it is to focus on on one thing at a time to be steady, balanced and moving forward consistently.

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The words ‘It may be near when it seems so far’ from the Don’t Quit poem came to me when reaching the top as I’d spent so long looking down at where my ice axe was going next that I hadn’t looked up at the summit ahead of me.

Also ‘stick to the fight when your hardest hit’ is very fitting as when I reached the snow covered cafe I wanted to stay there, the Mr persuaded me to reach the ‘actual summit’ a sun dial.

Up the snowy ice steps I climbed practically on my knees to reach it. This reminded me to be bothered and that if we are to come again I will see this spot on a clear Summers day and it will be only stone throws away from the cafe, so I may as well do as not to laugh regrettably at how silly I was in the future.

When you are at the top it’s good to stop it, listen and feel the stillness. Our minds are constantly chattering away reflecting on what has been done, thinking about what’s to come. When me and the Mr were at the top talking he suddenly said ‘stop-listen to how peaceful it is’ in that 30 seconds I truly felt stillness. Had we got up earlier and in better conditions (which I hope we do in Summer) I can feel the stillness and tranquility for longer.

The walk down was much easier than the trek up, it was thick snow for the most part, some of it (when it was safe to do so) we slid down on our bums then realised that was making us colder! When we got to the path that had big giant stones to go down I found I was doing the same sort of careful pigeon step I was doing on the way up. It dawned on me that now I was going down I could do big strides and get there safely and much quicker. I got a better pace simply by being reminded to pay attention and I can make big strides more effectively and easily.

Now at home, I really appreciate how fresh the air was and I’ve been opening windows and going outside to eat rather than staying in, it feels like forming a new habit to go out more for a bit of fresh air each day.

Finally, it feels so good for my soul and spirit to have conquered a mountain! It opens up a whole new level of surrender. I worried a little before, mostly to do with the cold (I have bad circulation) and ice but had no fear in while I was climbing. I layered up enough so that I didn’t feel cold and trekking is hard work it will get the circulation flowing! I was aware of the dangers walking across a ridge that had a drop either side but I didn’t fear it, even as the Mr. worried about me on and on I just kept replying ‘I am fine’ ‘all is well’ because I knew it was.

“I was very much aware that we still had to get safely back down the mountain again and that was quite an important factor. I really felt the most excitement when we finally got to the bottom of the mountain again and it was all behind us.”- Sir Edmund Hillary

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