Skip to main content

SWEAT to Climb

Few weeks back I received a mail from a young climber, who has just started setting her eyes upon the lofty peaks around the world, pondering if she could actually climb anything in the world. I guess she found in me a climber old and bold enough to have climbed and not climbed many mountains, who might offer her some insights into the insane world of mountains and climbing. She asked very briefly: the secret of climbing any mountain in the world.

Before I replied back to her, I really gave this short question a long overdue thought. We all climb all the time but seldom do we pause to wonder what the secret of climbing successfully is. Why are some climbers more worthy than others? What makes a successful climb? And here I mean reaching the top or ending the desired line or route till the top as success and not merely making a bold attempt. I analyzed and dissected many of my iconic climbs, both successful and abortive attempts to compare what made the difference between the two. And now I have the answer and here is my point of view to ‘Secret to Climbing’. And the secret is very simple.

It is sweat. I mean precisely the acronym SWEAT

Skill – first and foremost we need adequate skill, expertise, experience, technical knowledge and physical fitness to succeed.

Weather – we need the ideal weather conditions to climb. Though I have climbed through atrocious weather as many of us do to the top but weather plays most of the times the ultimate deciding factor whether we summit a peak or not. And this is one factor that is least predictable and utterly uncontrollable.

Equipment – we need the right kind and quantity of equipment to succeed. We must have the right kind of gear for the right kind of climbing goals. And upon high mountains we got to be precise. Nothing more, nothing less; exactly what we need.

Attitude – you could have everything but if you don’t have the right attitude, mental setup then you are sure to fail. We need mental resilience, a happy and positive attitude and a never say die attitude to succeed. This is more important when we climb as a team, then we got to pick up our team mates carefully to see that the group mental dynamics are in sync with the objectives of the climb.

Time – we got to cater for the right amount of time we are going to spend on a climb. We can’t rush a mountain. For this we need patience, which is part of attitude and we need the climber’s cool headedness and his ability to do nothing when nothing can be done. Many good expeditions had to be called off since they didn’t cater for time. Along with the duration timing of the climb is paramount. Every mountain, each climb has a best and worst time to climb. Go for the ideal window and for the ideal duration.

Now as I analyzed and reached my above conclusion I realized that to succeed in anything in life, we can actually apply this SWEAT formula, modifying a bit according to the desired field where we wish to succeed. Thereby my lifelong belief that mountains have all the answers no matter what your question is; is once again proved correct.
I have been sweating all my life my friends and I intend continuing to do so. Nothing in the world can compare to the intensity with which you live when freezing to death hanging from the edge of a sheer ice wall in death zone, when sweats turn to ice and every breath we inhale actually tells us what life is all about.


So SWEAT it, climb it. Happy sweating! 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

World Without Boundaries

I have a large world map chart hanging in my room. It’s the first thing I see in the morning and mostly also the last before I sleep. Within and in between that span, everything that happens to humanity or to me happens within that map, in the depths of the oceans and across the length of those continents. The map shows me the places, geographical coordinates, rivers and the mountains, desserts, polar icecaps, islands, archipelagoes, ocean currents, air and shipping lanes, time zones, equator, international date line and the tropics as well. It’s not a large map, measuring around 40 X 50 inches. It’s mindboggling to think that this tiny planet as we know it houses seven billion people and counting and countless other things both from the living and non-living world.

Step by Step Guide to Summit

This post derives out of a brief conversation I had with a young woman from the audience of young global leaders that I was addressing somewhere in Eastern Europe. After my keynote, when I was interacting with the audience, this attractive young woman cornered me with her smile and laid out her thoughts.
‘Satya,’ she ululated, ‘your talks and words and your life is really inspiring and I totally get your concept of anything is possible no matter what, but I could only understand this at an intellectual level. Not at the practical know-how, how to do it level. A step by step guide in the correct sequence of action that would get anyone to reach a goal.’
For some reason unknown that evening’s conversation came around today on this Valentine Day and I decided to give wings to a young woman’s query several years back. Here’s to you my young unknown lady and to the rest of you out there seeking answers to this secret, which if you ponder adequately, isn’t one at all.  
So let me first begin…

Tango At Toral - Part 1

My foot slips on the thin patch of ice on a ground steeper and smoother than the flanks of Eiffel Tower and as I lose my balance and tumble head down into the abyss below I chide myself lightheartedly: ‘Not again Satya, not again. You are seriously getting senile and imbecile if you already aren’t.’

Humor is the only way to counter the deep constriction, the tightening knot at the pit of your stomach (which we sometimes name as fear) one feels at the time one realizes that all is finally lost and you are well on your way to meet your creator. Plus humor also helps me in seeing the world from an extremely humorous angle.

Within the next fraction of a second I am dangling upside down, my head banging against the rock face while my heavy sack is pulling me towards the bottomless void from where chilling breeze is rushing up to meet my unruly hair. I am enjoying the upside view as I can see the dark ominous sky above my feet and wonder why am I still stuck at this impossible angle; whe…