Joys of Mountaineering:
Since the dawn of Creation mountains and hills have fascinated man. Their heaven-touching height, their beauty, and grandeur have always filled him with a sense of awe, wonder, and mystery. That is why the ancients thought of mountains as the abode of gods. The ancient Greeks, for example, associated Olympus with the Greek gods; the Biblical sermon was delivered from the top of a hill, and Hindus thought of the Himalayas as the seat of gods and even depicted the Himalayas as a mythic figure. Mountains were regarded as sacred and any thought of climbing them with a view to establishing human supremacy was simply unthinkable. But in modern times man has conquered various elements of nature and unfathomed their secrets. He has also accepted the challenge of the highest mountains of the world and started climbing them as a sport. Mountaineering has thus become an established sport these days.
Mountaineering is a daring and challenging sport. Those who love adventure and have the stamina and mental capacity to preserve hard and long enjoy mountaineering as a test of such capacities. For there is hardly any other sport that demands perseverance for so long and at varying heights, atmospheric pressures, and climate. The steep hike that the mountaineers have to undertake through perilous rocky cliffs, untrodden hilly ways, and along the waterfalls are a sheer delight for them, though the common man may marvel at this feat without ever daring to emulate it!
But once a mountaineer takes to climbing mountains and begins his uphill march, carrying his bedding and food materials on the back, the ropes and nails for making his foothold on the hills, he begins to enjoy the fun of it all. The refreshing breeze, the cold war after of the stream and waterfalls, the flora and fauna of the mountains, and the changing weather every day offer a mixture of beauty and grandeur as well as adventure. The sudden rains and snow, the appearance of some mountain animals like bears and leopards, and the decreasing quantity of oxygen offer a challenge that the bravest of men can face. And this further sharpens the edge of a mountaineer’s desire to conquer a hill by reaching its top. Each step upward is a sign of and a kind of milestone on the road to this victory. To a confident and daring person, this in itself is a morale-boosting factor.
Apart from the thrill and novel experience that mountaineering provides, the mountaineer also finds a welcome change in his routine. Leaving the suffocated life of humdrum routine in the work-a-day world behind, a mountaineer experiences a big change which in this case is a delightful exercise of the body and a test of stamina and perseverance. His great reward and the greatest joy come when he sets his foot on the top of the high mountain, especially if it is one of the most difficult peaks to climb or if he is the first one to do so. Imagine the thrill that Tenzing and Hillary must have experienced when they conquered Everest in 1955. But even at a lower level, the joys of mountaineering are both intense and immense, provided one has the heart, stamina, and will to accept the great challenge of high mountains.