This writer did a month-long mountaineering course and returned with lessons for a lifetime
Gruelling exercises at some of the highest mountain peaks while the scenic views take a back-seat. Walking miles on hilly roads all day long. Hiking in intense heat, sub-zero temperatures and heavy rains till the last living cell of your body begs you to stop. All this and more at this month-long mountaineering course can teach you some important life lessons.lifestyle Updated: Aug 23, 2018 13:38 IST
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves: Edmund Hillary.
Waking up at 4.30 every morning for a month after not-so-sound sleep. Gruelling exercises at some of the highest mountain peaks while the scenic views take a back-seat. Walking miles on hilly roads all day long. Hiking in intense heat, sub-zero temperatures and heavy rains till the last living cell of your body begs you to stop. Aching back, shoulders and joints. Climbing high rock walls. Hiking a peak all roped up – wearing very heavy snow boots, crampon, and holding an ice axe on a 90-degree ice wall.
All this with a rucksack weighing roughly 18kg on your back. At times, more.
How does this sound to you?
These are not the descriptions from some intense military training (though nothing less than that).
The question is, would you want to do this?
Well, most of you would say ‘of course not’. After all, isn’t this self-torture? What would we get out of it? Right?
You MUST take up this basic mountaineering course that I just described above.
This month-long course is a good break from your regular travel and trekking plans and also something substantial to share on social media. Also, no planning required. All you need to do is – enrol. The course would not just be a detox but will also motivate you to challenge yourself, both physically and mentally. The arduous training will strengthen your muscles and lungs thereby boosting your physical stamina. And, the cherry on the cake - no network for about 18 days.
So if you are looking for a genuine break from pizzas, burgers, network, and loved ones and desire to be closer to your own self and at the same time forge friendships for a lifetime, a basic mountaineering course is your fix.
Still not satisfied? We give you more reasons why you should go for it.
Discipline: Now, who doesn’t want it in these times? Most of us live a very unhealthy life. All we need is discipline to be back on track. So here’s your chance to get back to school, as this is an important aspect of the course. The trainers, most with military backgrounds, will make sure of strict disciplinary actions. There’s fall-in time, lights off time, and time to do everything. Your gradation will depend on this. You’ll not just be judged on your talent, but also discipline, cooperation and leadership skills. If you have never attended any rigorous training programme before, be ready for a few surprises.
Transformation: Trust me, you will learn one lesson every day. Your perspective of life would drastically change, and the course would definitely add to your overall sense of well-being. It will push you out of your comfort zone in every possible way. Away from your loved ones, with only total strangers for company, no bath for 18 days, rain water entering your only shelter – it will be an experience you would have never had before. There’ll be good days, bad days and worst days – you will go through it all. In the end, your self-confidence and will power would increase manifold. Surprise, surprise, there’ll be a new you after those treasured 28 days.
Handling stress: Every day you would want to leave the course, but you won’t. You would want to stop, breathe, drink water, but the instructors will let you stop only at the designated rest points. You wouldn’t want to leave your sleeping bag during freezing mornings, but the fall-in time would be 5.30 am. At times, your hands would freeze while holding the ice axe, legs would jam in the middle of a climb on a 90-degree ice wall, but giving up is not an option. The only way out is climbing up. This is how you will learn how to handle stress. Back in your normal, mundane life, these experiences will help you overcome any obstacle.
‘I can do anything’: Now, this I believe is the ultimate feeling in the world. No matter how hard the training would have been for you, in the end you will feel incredibly satisfied with yourself. The only thought that will come to your mind is - ‘If I can survive this, I will survive anything’. You will love the suffering you underwent. The feeling would be magical, and the memories would last forever.
Emotional boost: When you are standing all geared up, assuming yourself to be mentally and physically prepared to take that first step, there will be an infinitesimally small, yet the most important, point that you may miss. A mountain is not just that old rocky, beast you ‘have’ to climb. The fact is that each and every thing that you always thought you are not capable of doing in your life takes the form of that mountain. So it’s not just the mountain that you will be conquering, you will actually conquer all your fears, insecurities and complexes, with all the perseverance and determination you ever had. And when you reach the peak, all your mountains will be conquered.
(The writer completed her basic mountaineering course from Nehru Institute of mountaineering (NIM), Uttarkashi)
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First Published: Aug 23, 2018 13:35 IST