What Mountains Teach Us

Mountains are often a picturesque postcard for us. We look at them from a distance and click a couple of landscape photographs to share it on social media. But getting out into those mountains and trekking in them, sleeping in them, and learning to survive in them, is a far enriching life experience.

From my maiden exploration of Himalayas, there are few valuable lessons that the mountains have taught me:

You underestimate yourself quite often. Never do it again. In the Hampta Pass, trekkers have to achieve the highest altitude of 14035 ft (4278 metres) which is almost half of Mount Everest. I thought this is an unattainable goal. I had merely 90 days for preparation. Not only I was the first person to reach every base camp but I was the first out of 26 people to reach the summit. One thing I have learned that day is, you are capable of more than you can ever imagine.

Life is about keep going. Do not settle. 
There were times when I thought I can’t do it. My trekking pole got broke on day 2 at 11000 ft and suddenly trekking became an arduous journey. But no matter how precipitous the trek is, you have to keep moving. You can’t give up in the middle of a road. It will make you regret about not pushing yourself.

Face your fears. Live your dreams.
It was my first time to walk on a natural snow. Patches of old snow in the mountains are slippery and no one can save you if you lose your balance. On the last day, I have to cross around 15-metre fearful snow patch alongside a gushing Chenab river. One wrong step would land me in the river. But all trekkers successfully crossed that treacherous snow patch. This taught me you’ve got to face fear to survive in life.

Life is a marathon. Not a sprint.
Few trekker enthusiastically overtook others to become numero uno but after the ten odd minutes, they used to get tired and let others overtook them. This occurrence continued until the end. It’s all about endurance not speed. We often rush to get things. But anything worth having is worth waiting for.

Learn to appreciate the people and things we take for granted in our urban life. Living in the Himalayan highlands is hard. The population is sparse. People face extreme climatic conditions and isolation from rest of the world. I met one local guy. He is going to Kaza town which is 120 km away from Chhatru by his moped. He carried two cans of petrol because there is no petrol pump in the 100 km radius.

Mental strength is more important than physical strength. 
I was about to reach a Hampta Pass. I had to climb through rocks after a steep snow patch. But Last 20 steps were the hardest. I thought it is unattainable but eventually, I reached the summit. It made me realize that concentration and mental toughness are key to every achievement.

Mountains have answers to your questions.
There are no distractions in the magnificent mountains. You don’t get annoying phone notifications. You get a time for yourself. Time to ponder. You think about your life. You get answers to your questions.

Sometimes you will find yourself by getting lost in the mountains.