For us, the mountains are home. We plant 10 trees for each item purchased in our store, so we get to spend a lot of time in the mountains appreciating what they have to teach.
We all know being in the mountains can make life better but what about climbing to the top of those mountains? Here are a few ways I’ve found climbing mountains can help everybody (follow along my climbing adventures @goldiekatie_).
The physical health and fitness benefits are huge
Not only will you built incredible strength and endurance from climbing mountains (consistently) but you will also find that your diet becomes better. McDonalds are not readily available in the alpine (thank goodness for that!) so you find that you will have to pack lunches and snacks.
You are 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.
You can see places very few get to see
We all can see pictures of these places and we all can long to go to these places but actually doing the work to get to these places cuts many out of the crowd. The time and effort required to climb a mountain, and I’m talking a good high altitude daylong trek of a mountain, can be too much of a task for many.
When you do make it to the peak you can rest assure that you are of the few who make it up there and can revel in the beauty and rarity of such a view. The good thing is you’re 100% guaranteed to get an amazing view from the top of a mountain (unless it’s a foggy day or smoky day).
You will meet the most amazing people who you will call friends
Hikers and Climbers are an awesome breed of people. You will find these a few similarities between them: They are all positive, they are all strong and confident and they are all happy. Meeting people through alpine clubs, hiking groups and social media will be some of the main ways to find hiking partners.
The great thing about hiking people is that we all have the similar goals, to get to the top of the mountain and to enjoy a day of exercise and nature’s beauty. Life long friends can be made this way because you generally spend a lot of time with each other. You also get to take in the most beautiful places with these people, which can bring people together in special ways.
You will finally understand why the mountains are calling and you must go
Mountains are so special; they have such magic to them. Maybe it is the fact they are can be so dangerous or maybe it is because they make us feel so small. Even if you don’t even climb them they call to you.
You might find that all the problems in your life dissolve when you are around them or that life slows down a bit. All that I can tell you is that after spending time surrounded by them or climbing them you will feel the urge to come back.
Climbing mountains will teach you patience, persistence and gratitude
Climbing a mountain is the furthest thing from easy. Long stretches of constant vertical climbing can be the most exhausting and hardest thing you do. Not only the physical difficulties but also the mental difficulties will also test you.
Exposed and tricky climbing and route finding can get the best of your mental abilities. The classic quote that tells you “not to look at the whole mountain take it one piece at a time” is something you will come to understand. You will learn to never give up; to know that the reward will be worth the work it takes.
It may take you several months, attempts and hours but you will take the time and you can achieve the climb. Once you make it you will realize what all the fuss is about. It is like reaching a goal, achieving a dream and figuring out that you can do anything that you set your mind to. It’s an addictive feeling that no one can properly explain and one that you have to experience.
They will teach you why we want to protect the environment
After seeing what untouched places look like you will want to protect them. Clear cutting and human interference in any of these beautiful places will be the worst thing imaginable to you. You might finally understand why there are so many rules in national parks and that you are so thankful for these rules.
Beautiful places can become hotspots for people and the protection of them is the single best step to let everyone enjoy these places. After climbing mountains you respect what we have a little more. I find I recycle more, use less and reuse items to help in any way possible.
They will teach you how to be positive
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 don’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 than 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.
They will teach you to enjoy the small luxuries in life
A grueling six hours of vertical in the heat and you stop for 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.
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 over come the change.
Every Mountain will teach you something
I always find that every mountain I have climbed has taught me at least one important lesson. 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 in the end of it all you usually end up wanting more of it no matter what.