For us, the mountains are home. We plant trees for each sustainable essential purchased, so we get to spend a lot of time in the mountains appreciating what they have to teach us. Mountain enthusiast, Katie Goldie, shares her experiences climbing mountains and how they can enrich your life.
1. The physical health and fitness benefits are huge
Not only will you build incredible strength and endurance from climbing mountains (consistently), but you’ll also find that your diet becomes better. You’re also going to find that unhealthy food will not fuel you properly. The work involved in hiking and climbing demands a proper diet. The altitude trains your lungs to become stronger, and the struggle becomes less and less every time you hike. Plus, there’s a lot to learn from exercising in nature.
2. You can see places very few get to see
We all can see pictures from mountain tops and long to get there, but it takes effort and planning to make it a reality. When you carve out time and space for a good high-altitude mountain trek, when you make it to the top, there is nothing like revelling in the beauty and rarity of the view. Unless it’s foggy or smokey, you’re guaranteed to get a breathtaking view that many will never see.
3. You will meet the most amazing people who you will call friends
Hikers and climbers are an awesome group of people. I’ve found that they’re positive, outgoing and extremely welcoming and share similar goals — to get to the top of the mountain and enjoy a day of exercise and nature’s beauty. Spending so much time together and taking in these beautiful places, you’ll likely make life-long friends. If you’re new to trekking or climbing, a great way to find a hiking partner is through alpine clubs, hiking groups, and social media.
4. You will finally understand why the mountains naturally call to you
Mountains are special; they have a magic to them. Maybe it’s the fact they can be dangerous, or maybe it’s their ability to make us feel so small. You might feel that your problems fade a little when you are around them, or that life slows down a bit. You will feel the urge to return after spending time surrounded by them or climbing them.
5. Climbing mountains will teach you patience, persistence and gratitude
Mountain climbing can be physically and mentally exhausting. But when you reach the top, any roadblocks or struggles you may have had along the way fade and make room for a deep sense of accomplishment. It reminds you to take life one piece and a time and celebrate the peaks whenever you can.
6. They will teach you why we want to protect the environment
Spending time in the mountains, they’ll eventually grow into a space you care about and want to protect. This might spark new gratitude for the efforts we have in place to protect nature. Their beauty often draws a crowd, and it’s our responsibility to work together and respect them for future generations to enjoy. This respect for the mountains may even trickle into your home life. It might inspire you to adopt more sustainable habits or essentials that don’t harm our planet (and even better, seek to improve it).
7. They will teach you positivity
If you have negative thoughts about climbing a mountain, it is probably your one-way ticket to failure. Telling yourself you can’t or that it is impossible doesn’t help in any way. If you are positive, even if the climb is impossible at the moment, you will continue to try.
I always tell myself I must have 120% determination to achieve this climb. If you don’t believe you can climb the mountain, then you probably never will. You can do more than you think you can, and you just have to trust yourself, believe in yourself and take it one bit at a time, before you know it, you will be standing on the peak.
8. They will teach you to enjoy the small luxuries in life
A gruelling six hours of vertical in the heat and you stop for a water break. It will probably be the best water you have ever tasted in your life. We overlook the small things in life that we take for granted, like water.
When you reach the peak but forgot to bring your extra coat, you will realize how cold the wind can make you and how important the little things are when they are not there. We learn to become more prepared and to respect comfortable things, like not sleeping on hard rocks in the cold, for instance.
9. They will teach you about change and being prepared for change
If you have ever spent time in the mountains, you should know that the weather changes in a heartbeat, so being prepared is key. Every mountain is different, so much of the time, you also have to change your route.
There is never just one way up a mountain, sometimes, the route is many other ways, or something is blocking your way. Mountains will teach you that things are always changing, and you just need to find another tactic to overcome the change.
10. Every mountain will teach you something
I always find that every mountain I have climbed has taught me at least one important lesson. On one rainy climb, I learnt that cameras are not waterproof! Another climb taught me to be better prepared at finding the route (more research etc). Whether they teach you to bring a bivy in case you have to sleep overnight or teach you that proper shoes are essential, you always learn something every time.
Mountain climbing can be the greatest and the worst thing you ever do in life, but at the end of it all, you usually end up wanting more of it no matter what.
(Follow along with my climbing adventures @goldiekatie_)
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