Having promised to contribute to this blog, I had an immediate and total attack of writers’ block and despite a dozen or so starts, got nowhere near anything which I would not just be embarrassed to have read by anyone else. What follows may be embarrassing, but at least the subject was set by someone else (thanks, Nicola) which takes away the initial problem… where to start.
OK. Here’s a fugue on mountains and their difficulties:
Which mountains are hard to climb?
Small ones taken in particular ways.
Ones that break up and where bits fall on you.
Ones that are unstable, loose or have seracs.
Very high ones where you can’t breathe / get headaches / HAPE or HACE.
Ones where the weather is bad.
Ones where the forecast was badly wrong.
Ones where it goes dark rapidly or unexpectedly soon.
Ones under a new moon.
Ones where you have the wrong equipment.
Ones where you didn’t anticipate that much snow.
Ones where you are on your own.
Ones where you are with people who are having problems.
Ones where you are lost.
Ones where you are nervous about what is to come.
Ones where you realise that you cannot reverse what you have just done.
Ones where you doubt your equipment.
Ones where you doubt yourself.
Ones with a bad reputation.
Ones with unpleasant, venomous, rabid or just big-toothed animals lurking.
Ones where you had a bad experience.
Ones you have failed on before.
Ones where your friends have failed before.
Ones where you are unprepared.
Ones where you are tired.
Ones where you are injured.
Ones where you have too much stuff on your back.
Ones where you are only climbing because of a bet, or trying to impress.
Ones where you are responsible for others
Which doesn’t leave much.
So then, which mountains are easy to climb?
Ones you climbed by reading about them.
Ones where the sun is shining.
Ones you go up with your dog.
To be, contents his natural desire;
He asks no angel’s wing, no seraph’s fire:
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
(Pope, Essay on Man, Epistle I)
But above all …
Ones you have already done… afterwards … after a couple of pints… and talking to someone who hasn’t done them.