I’m still in Malvern, and the clouds have come down, hiding the top of the hills. Looking at the map yesterday I noticed that the showground campsite is at 50m above sea level, the highest point on the ridge is at 425m, while the carpark sits at 300m. By driving and parking in the carpark at the start of the ridge walk, I have been missing the bulk of the climb.
Today I won’t be driving, but instead will be starting my walk from the campsite. Reaching the top will then, I hope, be a more satisfying prospect as I will have climbed the whole route.
I used to do a lot of rock climbing and a small amount of mountaineering, and in these two pursuits, the style in which you climb is all-important. By style, I don’t mean the clothing you wear. Instead, style means the methods you use and your approach to equipment and the assistance it can give.
Each climber decides upon their definition of what is and isn’t an acceptable style. So, for example, some mountaineers won’t use supplementary oxygen, some rock climbers won’t use ropes, while others won’t drill protection into the rock.
This debate has raged in the climbing community, since the beginning with each side believing they are right. While interesting for those involved, I think this discussion has lessons for the rest of us and the way we choose to live our lives.
My thoughts are drawn to our self-talk and the “truths” we tell ourselves. What are you prepared to do to reach your goals? How far would you go? Would you cheat or steal? Would you step on someone else on your way? What about lying, even if it’s a white one? Would you take advantage of another’s misfortune?
Life is never black and white.
The decisions we make are always shades of grey. The “style” you choose for your life is your decision. But remember, you must be able to look in the mirror and answer questions about your actions and whether you have behaved with truth and honour.
The day of judgement comes to us all in the end.
Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.