Friday, July 24, 2009


I ran into a friend, Cecile, on the telepherique today as we downloaded from the Flegere lift.

"Have you been working lots?" She asked?
"Ah, a bit, but not too much." I responded

"Oh I haven't seen any posts all summer on your blog so I figured you were super busy!" She giggled.

Ah right, again that category of best laid intentions. The idea to share stories, triumphs, failures, adventures, mental meanderings through a blog. To challenge my writing in a public, relatively non-critical (yeah right) forum. And, even maybe to use it to take account of my path and purpose in life. Ah, but I've been comsumed by busy-ness. Or a perception of busy-ness.

There are so many things I, we, want to make time for in our lives, and writing is always one of them, so why do I let it fall to the side.

Ok, maybe I'll save this personal reflection for my hand written journal and leave you with some stories.

Today's post is called simplicity.

After the tragic, and unexpected death, of very close friends, I am left wondering, yet again, maybe always, the purpose of mountains, climbing, climbers, in my life. Your attention span is too short and my thoughts to unconcluded to go too deeply into that here so instead I will approach my response. Simplicity.

I have been remembering the joy of running, mountain running, trail running. A day where I enjoy nature, the landscape, the mountains, from a different perspective. From a safer perspective, where I don't walk across a glacier. Where I don't traverse under a hanging serac. Where I am not exposed to rock fall. Where pushing myself means controlling my mind and my pace and my breath and my focus, not working through a pump on an ice pitch where falling could be deadly. Not fumbling with a piece of gear as my hand jam slips. Not precariously perching a front point of a crampon on a granite nub on a mixed pitch.

There is certainly value in each of those moments. Personal growth, reflection, mind control. But do we need to live in that space all the time? Do we, as Alpinists meet the criteria of "thrill seekers" that some non-climbers write us off as? Can I find pleasure in a sport that pushes me through those mental challenges without fearing for my life? I think so.

I find Ultra Running to be one of the most inspiring sports I can think of. The discipline, the commitment, the time inside your head. My interest has been peeked. I have been asking friends for the recipe to try to delve into that world. For sure I won't be entering any races any time soon. But for now, I will embark upon a new-ish sport, and see where it takes me.

The simplicity of it all. A trail, a pair of running shoes, and ME!! No ropes, rack, backpack, no partner even.

So today, despite an urge to go climbing, I joined some friends to hike a portion of the TMB, The Mont Blanc Trail. We hiked, caught up on life, on 5 or so years that saw us each leading different lives and on different paths, we laughed, we got yelled at for being too loud and "infringing" on someone's nature experience, we picked wild blueberries off of bushes, we indulged in a coffee at a hut, Dana braved the icy glacial lakes for a dip, and we laughed, SIMPLY.

1 comment:

Spiderchick said...

So, I guess I have the philosophical bug today as well. I believe there's got to be some balance in our lives. Well maybe I say this because I have a splint on my wrist and the only thing I can do in the next 2 or 3 months is to type. Or maybe is because life finds ways to communicate to you when you need to take a break from perceived busy-ness. I was going to work this saturday, but I have been working a lot and I took off to go to the Phoenixville Firebird Festival and take a juggling workshop with my nephews. Is Hard to balance (even for climbers) overcoming your fears, pushing yourself, leaving a positive footprint in the planet and having some time for NOT DOING. I have to say I kind of like it, perhaps once a week is good to just relax with a cup of tea, sleep and just doing just being...