This I Believe

David - Fort Mill, South Carolina
Entered on December 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: nature, sports

I believe in mountaineering. Mountaineering is getting from the bottom of a huge landmass to the very top, the summit. It is something that people have been doing for years. From Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary of Everest in the 1950’s to Ed Viesturs of the modern climbing era, the mountains have always called to a certain group. However, climbing a mountain is much more than getting to the top.

True mountaineering, is just the climber and the mountain. It is about pushing the human body to the limit and sometimes beyond the limits. It is a test a will, physical, and mental toughness. When you are nearing the top of the largest mountains of the world, you are sleep deprived, cold-sometimes –30 to-60 dgrees, hypoxic-that is oxygen deprived with only a third of the oxygen of sea level, dehydrated, and malnourished. At extreme altitudes, your body shuts down, but you have to push yourself to keep going. On Everest, the last couple days climbers are on the move about 52 hours straight with only about 3 hours of rest. The climbers have to pull from their deepest inner reserves of will to keep going.

The mountains also show the character that the mountaineer really has. Not everyone on the mountains deserves to be there. Some of those people are laying on the trail, dying. If a climber comes to one of these people, the climber will have a choice that that he has to make. He can either step over them and keep trudging on to the summit, tthe safety of a camp or they can stop and help the fellow climber in need. The real heroes are not those who summit, by stepping over dying fellow climbers, but are the ones who give up their own summit attempts and all the hard work they had put into getting as far as they were at that point, and stop to help the person in need.

The mountains also teach a respect for nature. The climbers have to respect the mountains because no matter how many times a mountain is climbed, it will never know any climber’s name or face. With a simple shrug, a tiny lurch, an avalanche can occur that sweeps mountaineers away over a mile tall wall to death. Climbers have to manage risk appropriately and have a respect for the mountains.

The mountains are beautiful to look at. They stand for more than height. I believe in pushing my limits, having a good character at all times, and having a respect for nature. I believe in mountaineering.