For us, climbing Mount Everest has been a dream that began about 10 years ago when we both first got a taste for mountaineering.
We are often asked the “WHY?” question – why put our lives on hold to focus entirely on this one pursuit, subject ourselves to freezing temperatures and lack of oxygen for long periods of time, not to mention the immense physical challenge of the climb.
So we thought we’d attempt to articulate our motivation…
It’s not the number of breaths in your life that count, it’s the number of moments that take your breath away.” Unknown
For us, Mount Everest represents the ultimate test of one’s physical and mental endurance – demanding extreme physical fitness and capability, courage, and strength of character. Although there are some mountains which are considered to be more technically demanding than Everest, there is no dispute that Everest is the highest physical point on the planet, the roof of the world, and the supreme symbol of human-kind versus nature’s greatest powers. Hence Everest has seduced both us and thousands of other climbers around the world.
Climbing Mount Everest represents doubts and fears overcome, the accumulation of an enormous amount of hard work, and a larger than life indication that literally anything is possible. In a sense, it is a metaphor for all the challenges we face in life (ever noticed how many songs mention mountains?). Making it to the top of Everest would be an amazingly empowering experience (“If only my PE teachers could see me now!” Fi).
“But aren’t we scared of the risks? Haven’t we seen that documentary or read those books?” say our worried friends and family. Of course we are nervous – we’d be fools not to be. And it’s certainly true that that climbers do die on Everest almost every year. There is no doubt in our minds that Everest presents significant risks (although the reasons behind some of the tragedies are often presented with journalistic simplicity). However, it’s interesting to ask ourselves why a few deaths on Everest evoke far more empathy and emotion (and often criticism) than deaths caused by other natural disasters, road accidents, drug problems or illness. Is it because we all relate to adventure in some form; the predetermined, articulated goal of a climber, sailor or balloonist will naturally capture our human emotions?
Not least of all, we also believe attempting to climb Mount Everest will provide us with a tremendous adventure. Regardless of whether we make it to the summit or not, Everest is sure to provide experiences that broaden our perspectives, build our characters and provide us with the memories of a lifetime. (Still not sure why all the character-building experiences have to be difficult though!)
Our Everest, is in fact Everest. But all the same could be said for whatever your Everest is and we hope that our adventure might just inspire you to dare to work towards your own wildest dreams.
We’re only as big as the dreams we dare to live by.” Anonymous