Summiting Timpanogos: Reaching The Summit

We arrived at the saddle of Timp and looked over the valley below, a valley covered half by a lake, half buy houses and blanketed in a cloud of smog. It’s impressive to see all than humans have built, the roads, houses, water storage tanks, and parks all designed to direct us from one place to another, protect us, feed us, and help us relax. Each of these things has a purpose, they are there because man wants them to be. Even mighty mountains are amended or moved if mankind sees them as an obstacle and that scares me. 

After a few short minutes of looking over the valley we ban the next phase of the ascent the steep part as I’ve always called it, the part that can cause your already wobbly legs to shake a little more. This section was a breeze fort the pups as they easily maneuvered up and through the steep scramble. My friend made easy movements and made it up easily too, I trembled and my feet wobbled as I took each step. I climbed with confidence as I went but at the back of my mind I was chanting legs don’t fail me now. After we were through  this tight steep section of the climb I fe;lt relief but the real push to the summit had just begun.

The last half mile to the summit is actually a fairly easy stretch for most who have made it this far, you can see the shed at the top and you know that a place to rest with a beautiful view is just half a mile away. My legs were tired, my will was growing weaker by the minute, but my heart was still set on summiting so I began a slow process one step at a time to the summit with needed breaks a little more often than I would have liked, yet after some time I made it. I had completed the task we had set out on to have a great adventure and reach the top of Mount Timpanogos. 

What a feeling that was to stand again at what felt like was the top of the world, being able to see miles all around me of life in that area, the natural places, and just being in that moment happy that I had made it. We had made it together four human feet and eight dog paws had followed the trail to the summit and were now resting together eating and rehydrating for a bit as we took in the moments from 11,752′. 

Good friends who go on adventures with you are always great, a friend who encourages you to push a little outside of your comfort zone are the greatest. These are the friends who will help you grow the most. My friend had encouraged me throughout the journey to keep moving, smile a little and soak up the exceptional moments of beauty as we climbed.

Weak.

I recently started climbing again after just over a year of not climbing, re-entering my local climbing gym I figured that I could pick back up where I left off. Thinking that my fitness was fairly decent and my ability was still there I proceeded to flail around for an hour on routes that I easily climbed just a year before, my hand hurt, my shoulder ached, and my muscles all begged me to give them a rest. I continued to walk around the gym looking for routes to send, I ended up sending less than half of my attempted routes but still felt accomplished to be back in the gym climbing even if I was weaker than I thought I was.

After finishing my workout in the gym I drove home a little down about my climbing I thought about how nice it was to be going again. The thought of the different routes and moves needed to send(climb) them allowed me to recognize that today I was a weak climber, but next session I would be stronger and be able to send more routes.  This is how we get better at the things we enjoy, we keep showing up to learn more, get better, and be stronger as we participate in our passion.

It’s a hard thing to admit weakness because once we admit that we are others will capitalize on that weakness and try and bring us down. Not a great thought when you are thinking about being vulnerable, can people use my truth against me? Sadly this is a reality, there are people who want to bring us down either to their level or below. Understanding this as a possibility as we go is an opportunity for each of us to become stronger by accepting what we can’t change and investing our time into strengthening the things we can change.

Whatever your weakness is accept it then move forward and fortify and strengthen what you can and become the best you can be. I may not be the strongest climber on the wall, but I will send any route I put my mind to, working from bottom to top relentlessly until I reach my desired destination at the top of the route.

Goal.

Once you set a goal what is your actual endgame? Are you willing to put in the work to see it from inception to fruition? Can you visualize yourself along the journey working through the ups and downs, are you prepared to fall, then rise again to the next wave of challenges ahead? It’s easy to set a goal, the hard part is the steps in between where you have to stick to it and work for your desired outcome.

Tonight we watched “Free Solo” a visual tale of Alex Honold as he prepares to free solo the freerider route on El Capitan. Watching Alex interact with his friends and family as he worked toward his goal was very interesting due to the fact that he remained vocal about his desired outcome and the risk that accompanied his lofty goal. Throughout the film, you watch as he experiences injury, personal preparation both mental and physical, doubt, and finally the completion of his goal. The way the film is shown allows the viewer to experience the actual scale of the challenge and find themselves sweaty-palmed and ready for the next movement on the journey.

As we decide on what challenge we want to accept we need to recognize the challenges there will be. The road will be ready for our feet, but will our feet be ready for the different objects along the way? Personally, the best way I’ve found if I am ready or not is by doing the thing I want to do. If I want to be able to run a 10k I need to start running a few times a week at various distances, recording my time, preparing my mind and body for each step along the way and acknowledging that there will be good days but there will also be bad days. Days where I do not want to run, I can choose on those days if I am going to walk my needed distance, a combination of walking and running, pushing through the pain of the run on that day, or just avoid it altogether.

At the end of the day, week, year, or years how you decide to start and complete your goals are entirely up to you. You can allow these goals to stand at the front of your priority list or have them as passive companions to other worthy pursuits. Either way, you decide how to set out and complete your goal. The key is to set small manageable goals as you start out, then after you get better at achieving your goals set larger loftier goals that stretch you a bit more than your previous accomplishments did. Don’t limit your opportunities because you fear failure, embrace failure to allow for more opportunities to see your goals from dreams to destinations.