Yesterday I posted a meme with the quote, “You can’t climb up a mountain with downhill thoughts,” and a bunch of readers seemed to enjoy it, but one faithful reader reminded me that most anything can be read several ways. This particular quote, for instance, could be understood as,
- “Negative self-talk will prevent you from rising to your peak performance.”
- “Stay in the moment while you’re climbing – don’t think about what’s to come.”
- “It’s impossible to stay depressed when you are active outdoors,”
He reminded me that even before and during the ascent you have to be planning and be prepared for the descent because that will often be the hardest part.
That reminds me of a story or two 😉
It is similar to Reinhold Messner’s reason for climbing – because it makes the return to the living world sweeter – but I’ve already told that story before.
But it is also reminiscent of the story of George Mallory, who many people think was probably the first man to summit Everest. They think but are not sure because he was never seen again and his body was found 75 years later on the side of the mountain.
The timeline and circumstances of the climb and fall make it appear that the couple reached the summit and fell while trying to descend.
George Mallory’s son, when questioned about whether he thought his father had reached the summit, replied, “To me, the only way you achieve a summit is to come back alive. The job is only half done if you don’t get down again.”
So, yes, You can’t climb a mountain with downward thoughts, but you do have to plan and be prepared to make the upcoming descent because it only counts if you make it home alive!