As I share conversation with friends and family and listen to the anger and frustration from essentially everyone I know, I find myself trying to find solace in one of the great lessons that alpine climbing teaches us…
It is always the darkest and coldest just before the dawn.
Summit nights/mornings are always a roller coaster of emotion and energy. As you climb through the night, the ebb and flow of momentum is noticeable. The internal struggle of strength fighting weakness. The dark and cold are persistent enemies that require vigilance and acknowledgement.
Then, just before the sun crests over the horizon, a cold sets in and challenges you. It does it’s best to steal what remains. It’s as if the dark takes one more valiant pull from you as it is vanquished by the sun. It’s a palpable, corporeal feeling. I have seen it steal the gumption from many a climber in spite of being within a mere hour of the summit. It is at this point we must be the most hopeful. It is here that we must embrace our position that we have worked so hard to achieve. We can’t concede. Right now is when we need to show our strength.
It is at this point that the dark is pleading with us to tap out and turn around. But it is now that we will dig down the deepest. We must embrace the effort we have put in to get this far. We must push through because the sun will rise again. And it will warm us all.
📷sunrise over Mustang, Nepal. May 2006.
📷credit- Steven Rubin