Monday, August 2, 2010

Why do we climb mountains?

by lakwatserong tatay

For more than 6 years and in still counting many people, even some of my relatives asking me why do i choose this hobby as my pass time for my weekend or when im not on my work, maybe this 10 reasons will be the best answers. People outside of mountaineering can't understand why there are people who indulge in mountaineering. They can't understand what can be derived from this activity which seemed to be "a waste of time, money, and energy". Moreover, they cannot think of a worthy reason why should people bring themselves to imminent danger when they can very well choose to stay away from it.
When asked, some backpackers or mountaineers usually reply, "Because it is fun and I love scaling it" or the more classical "Because it’s there. or for some it can be personal reasons..." But scratch the surface and you will find one or all of the following reasons.
I hope by stating, researching and collating some of this reasons, the people outside of mountaineering will understand why do we love mountaineering. As for myself, now im a father of two beautiful kids, i've started climbing mountains way back im still single, but until now im still indulge and also active in a mountaineering organization, i do have my personal reason why i do choose to climb, that is so very personal and kind a emotional.

1. God, Nature, and Meditation
Mountaineering takes man away from the concrete jungle and back to his natural sanctuary. The mountain affords communing with nature. It is a place where woman/man can walk in the clouds while smell the scent of wild plants and dew. The mountain orchestrates a symphony of streams and rampaging rivers, chorus of birds and crickets, and whistles of wind rustling through the trees. It blows a gentle breeze that touches the face, combs the hair, and enlivens the body. It empties the mind of worries and pours in peace that quiets the psyche and calms the restless nerves. Its ambience helps elevate consciousness to a higher plane to enable man to touch base with himself and his Creator. As he descends the mountain, he brings with him a renewed spirit, a clear mind, and a revitalized body.

2. Conquering Fears
Many presume that mountains keep a plethora of dangers. It boasts of venomous snakes and wild boars, steep cliffs, paranormal elements, and eerie, deafening silence. To some, they trigger fear. Only a few dare to face and conquer these phobias. And only a handful of these daredevils confront and resolve them through mountaineering. But no matter how long, little by little, mountaineering helps them conquer their fears.

3. Escape
There are some people who cannot stand continuous exposure to noise, congestion, technology, work, boredom, and problems in their urban lives. The mountain becomes an attractive destination to get away from their mundane situations, even temporarily. Sometimes, these mountain respites become their sole means of getting by without snapping off in their problematic and weary lives.

4. Travel
Mountaineering affords people to see new places and learn new culture at a very reasonable budget because accommodation cost is almost defrayed. Because mountains are interspersed throughout the archipelago, mountaineers travel from their home base to the location of the mountain that they want to climb.

5. Relationships
Mountaineers/backpackers cannot help but forge sound relationships while in expedition. Friendship is built on solid grounds because they are founded in trust and care that are molded by unique situations and conditions in the mountain. A mountaineer/backpacker learns to entrust his welfare and safety with his companion, to share his food, equipment, and other provisions, and to strip himself of pretenses and open his humble self to others. Sometimes, mountaineering brokers marriage out of these friendships.

6. Growth and Skills
Mountaineering requires people to at least know some basic skills. These skills are not only read but continually applied and honed each expedition. People become confident with their first aid skills, cooking, backpacking, leadership, and time management, to mention a few.In addition, due to exposure to people, places, and culture, mountaineers build their character and become well-rounded individuals. They learn to be patient and enduring, disciplined and time-conscious, and courteous and considerate, among many other values.

7. Physical Fitness
Mountaineering is a very physical activity to engage in. Mountaineers/backpackers oblige themselves with exercises for days before they climb. They build their endurance to prepare for the lengthy trek with a heavy pack at their back. They discipline their water intake, breathing patterns, and resting postures. They watch what they eat and take vitamin supplements for nutrition and energy needs.

8. Camping
A substantial portion of mountaineers had scouting experience when they were still in school. They are avid campers who loved campfires, hiking, swimming, and the many interesting gadgets that go with backpacking. Their outdoor bug stirs their interest even after school to continue camping. Their thirst for camping is quenched by mountaineering.

9. Cost Effective Hobby
Mountaineering may appear to be a costly hobby due to specialized gadgets and equipment that necessitate convenience and comfort in the outdoors. At the onset, it may seem to be expensive. And it is so because you accumulate mountaineering gears and equipment. However, if you take extra care of these specialty goods, they will be useful for many years. And if you calculate the purchase price of these goods and divide it by the number of years you were able to use them, you would be amazed to discover how negligible the amortized monthly expense is. The benefits you derive from mountaineering are exponentially higher than the aggregate amount of transportation and food expenses you would have to shell out every expedition.

10. Research and Education
There are people who is indulge in mountaineering because of their work and profession requires them to do so. Some of them are foresters, geologists, mountain rangers, journalists, and researchers study and explore the mountains because their work requires them to.


Anonymous said...

i agree! i'm new in mountaineering but what keeps me going despite of the hardship is the feeling of achievement after the climb! :)

Chyng said...

super newbie to mountaineering and it;s true I cant really understand at first why some people have passion in this field. hindi kasi biro umakyat at bumaba ng bundok. (btw, my only climb is at Mt.Pulag - easy trail)

pero ngayon alam ko na, being on top of the mountain reminds me there's a big world out there. and im just 1 creature whose part of the big world. and the world wont stop moving without me, so might as well always go with it.

and cheers to mountaineers, taas ng respeto ko sa inyo.

lakwatserong tatay said...


@buhayprinsesa, yap, the fulfillment of climbing a mountain and shout as far as you could do when your on top, is one fulfillment that not all can do.

@chyng, thanks po...bilang isang mountaineer narin po or even a traveler, sana we should not always forget the "LNT" principle.

tapos dahil sa ginawa kong entry na toh..balak ko ilgay lahat ng mga bundok at lugar kong napuntahan..nung mga nakalipas na taon...hehehe..hahanapin ko ung mga files and pictures...


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