On Chukung (4750m) in October 1997
Kangchenjunga, Talung, Kabru and Ratong From Unnamed Pass on the way from Kangchenjunga North To South
It snowed overnight at Gokyo, so I had to break my own trail returning to Namche Bazaar
This family let me sleep in their house at Yamphudin when I was returning from Kangchenjunga
The world famous British mountaineer George Mallory replied, “Because it is
there” to explain why he loved climbing mountains. I think the answer is much deeper. Once our basic human needs are met, what
else is there?
1. Personal achievement
- When I get to the bottom of Everest or the top of Kili, I feel a
great personal satisfaction at having achieved my goal. I’ve been driven my
entire life do the best I can at whatever I do. But to balance that, I
wholeheartedly believe in the Clint Eastwood line in of his Dirty Harry movies
“A man’s got to know his limitations”. I can’t be the best, but I can be the
best I can be.
- George Mallory: "Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves. Have we gained
success? That word means nothing here. Have we won a kingdom? No ... and
yes. We have achieved an ultimate satisfaction ... fulfilled a destiny ...
To struggle and understand - never this last without the other, such is the
2. Exploration and vistas
- "The desire to find a way to some mountain that hides itself for days
from our vision; the long march up unknown valleys; the eventual unveiling
of the mountain's real countenance and the penetration of the mystery. ... I
look upon it as a kind of pilgrimage which breaks the last of my ties with
the outside world, making me forget all matters of lesser importance in
concentrating on the immediate goal and keeping undiminished my desire for
conquest." - Raymond Lambert and Claude Kogan: White Fury - Gaurisanker and
- I love getting to the top
of a ridge and seeing the valleys and mountains beyond. Out comes the camera and you pause and enjoy
3. Living In The Present
- We spend so much time in our lives thinking about the future or dwelling
on the past. With the challenge and physical exertion of trekking, there's no
time but the present. It's the next step that counts. We are here right now.
We are intensely present. It's a wonderful feeling.
- I enjoy the solitude of trekking in areas that have no other form of
transport than your feet. You have to slow down from the normal hectic
western-society pace of life. You can only go as fast as your feet can carry
you. You pause and look at things that you’d speed by in your car at home. You
notice an interesting rock, a flower, a prayer flag fluttering in the wind, and
the sound of a yak’s bell coming around the corner. You have lots of time to think, both reflectively and to the future. I’ve
grown to love it.
5. Primal living
- Trekking can be very difficult.
Your knees ache, you can just get enough oxygen at high altitude to keep going,
you can go from a cool bright morning to intense heat in the late morning
to clouds and snow in the afternoon to bitterly cold in the night,
and you get to sleep in tents and basic lodges.
Ah, but that's the joy too.
6. People and Culture
- I enjoy learning about the different people in the world. Travel helps
us appreciate other people, other ways of life, and other countries - making
us more tolerant and understanding of what goes on in the world.
- I have especially liked meeting the Sherpas and other mountain people of Nepal.
Although, relatively poor people, they are warm, friendly, happy-go-luck people
who would do anything for you.
7. Expand your thinking
- I would never have started to study Buddhism had I not traveled many
times to Nepal, Tibet and Thailand. Buddhism has had a tremendous impact
on my views toward life and happiness.
- Buddhism teaches that suffering is caused by desire and that all things are empty of inherent existence.
Good actions lead to happiness, while bad actions bring on unhappiness.
Instead of emphasizing creator-gods, Buddhism stresses the search for enlightenment.
8. Learn about your own country
- Every time I get back home to Canada, I just about kiss the ground.
We have it so good compared to, well, almost anywhere on earth. We have
universal health care, a multi-cultural community that loves in
relative harmony, good education system, great standard of living.
- Sometimes I think it should be required for all
citizens of our well-off western countries to travel overseas so we can
truly appreciate what we have.