If you came to this post expecting to read about how I climbed Everest in a year and all the accompanying heroic tales of camping in base camp, of crossing the Khumbu Ice Fall, of entering the death zone and reaching the summit to a wonderful Himalayan panorama, you should probably close this post now (and I apologise for the misleading title). For I have not climbed Mount Everest… well, not yet anyway! Maybe one day!
Instead, this will discuss a mini challenge I set myself.
Now, the bane of student existence at Aberystwyth University (except for studying) is that the campus is at the top of a ‘hill’ which means much time is spent walking uphill. So far, I’ve called it a hill, but it may equally be referred to as a small slope.
Regardless, of what we’re going to call it, at the start of my second year, I decided to count how many times I climbed it throughout the year and see if I could climb to the equivalent height of Mount Everest, standing at 29,032 feet. This would mean I’d have to ‘summit’ ‘Mount Penglais’, which stands a total of 230 feet above my house a total of 127 times.
I had no idea how many times I would climb the hill over the course of the 30 weeks I was at University, especially as I didn’t have lectures every day.
Fastforward from September 2012 to June 2013, and I am heading up the hill for my Constitutional Law exam, my last exam of second year, a few days before I had to return to Kent. Although I am heading up for an exam, I am in a great mood: this, by sheer coincidence, happens to be my 127th climb of the hill. I remember reaching the exam hall and just feeling epic – the journey had taken 10 months and it felt great to have finished.
It felt bizarre in a way. The challenge was not that difficult, as most of the time, I would have climbed the hill anyway, regardless of the challenge, which reinforces that it is not always the destination that matters, but often the journey.
Over the past 10 months, it had been a lot of fun explaining to people what I was doing, tracking my progress (reaching base camp, camp 1, the Hillary Step and so on), being more motivated to walk up to lectures when weather was bad, and friends were getting the bus or lifts, and so on.
This just shows that, even the small things in life can bring a smile to life, and make it that little bit more exciting! I will share some more of these small challenges I’ve done/am doing at some point – but I’d be interested to know, do you do any?
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it” – Greg Anderson
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things” – Robert Brault