The same old question arises time after time when talking to friends and acquaintance’s alike as to why I venture out into the mountains and wilderness. To many of them this is totally alien being raised in urban environment it is beyond their understanding to the benefits you derive from such activities.
Not unlike many there is no definitive answer some would say it is escapism from the stresses of modern living or a hankering to get back to a slower way of living the latter i find more congenial combined with a spiritual connection of your surroundings.
I cannot think of anything more satisfying than spending a night or nights on a summit during summer or winter under a diamond studded sky. I have a very understanding wife I think that’s why we have been married so long or is it because I disappear a lot at weekends and holiday breaks?
Anyway i digress it all sounds very idealistic but of course nothing could be further from the truth when your stuck at height in a tent separated from the elements by a thin material with winds and rain threatening to take you to the glen below. Many will say this is character building but i see it as a greater understanding of what mother nature can throw at us, and of course we learn from these experiences but that something inside has got to be there in the first place
It is that something that is much more harder to define we all know the risks involved in walking and climbing in the mountains take Sir Christopher Bonnington a man whom has climbed more than most witnessed friends lose their lives and at the age of 77 is now leading his grandchildren in the mountains. Mountaineers have courage in bucketfuls and desire to succeed but is there something else?
I was fortunate enough to take winter skills course a couple of years ago with professional mountaineer and guide Di Gilbert although this is what you may call her day job it was the passion she and her colleagues showed towards their environment that impressed me. Would you be keen to go out to work on your day off? well these guys do back into the mountains walking , climbing, ski touring, it is a total lifestyle.
Maybe there is a seed that some of us have and a path in life plants that seed mixed with plenty of passion takes us to the point that we want to spend more a more time in this special place.
I for one have plans afoot over the coming years to be out there on a more permanent basis.