The legendary climber Reinhold Messner once said 'the most wonderful things in life are the things you do, not the things you have'. It's a lovely quote and, given Reinhold's success as one of world's greatest ever mountaineers, art collector, historian, politician and humanitarian, he has certainly been well placed to test the theory. I only became aware of his words after someone posted it on Facebook recently and, like all good inspirational quotes, it worked its magic because I've spent some time since pondering on how it applies to my own life. What, I have wondered, will be the measure of the success of my life and what do I value most?
There is certainly pleasure to be gained from material success but in the end I think Reinhold is right. It is the life experiences that are surely the key measure of a life well lived. While I don't remember that new must have gadget I purchased 5 years ago, I vividly remember key experiences from that special trip I took 20 years ago. I could still describe the movement sequence on my first extreme grade rock climb but I have no idea in what chronological order the various cars I've owned have come and gone from my life. Although we all want to be materially comfortable it really is what we do that will be the marker.
A lot of my working life revolves around helping people have some of those key experiences and I love it. It is a privilege. I've shared distant summits and gritstone classics, camped with clients in remote glens and sat quietly with them as we've watched sun rises or approaching storms. But this blog post, while recognising adventures gone by, is really about looking forward. I know of clients who have long term objectives and that's fantastic, but what of the coming year (or year) as well? What, as Reinhold would ask, wonderful things have you got planned?
We've all got a thousand things that can stop us achieving our objectives. There may be financial restrictions, physical barriers or its possible that family commitments or a lack of suitable companions is stopping you. Sometimes, however, the biggest barrier is being able to chart the path to your goal. It may be that you have all the funds and time but just don't know how to get from where you are to where you need to be. If your target is to bag all the Munros but you've never walked off clearly marked footpaths before then what skills will actually be needed to achieve your goal safely? Is it best to have first aid skills if you are cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats? What equipment do you need to tackle the Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe?
So, Peak Mountaineering wants to help. For 2015 we are trialling an Adventure Mentor scheme. The concept is simple. Having built up many years experience planning and executing a wide range of adventures we may be well placed to offer you some solid advice for your objectives. If we can't, we probably know someone you can turn to and can hook you up. If we can't do either, we'll just tell you.
There is no cost for the service and, although we may suggest a training course we offer if it would help your preparation, there will certainly be no hard sell and we aren't doing this to generate business - we simply want to get as many people challenging themselves in the outdoors as we can. You really have got nothing to lose. As far as we know this is a unique idea and we've really no idea how popular it will be. If we get inundated with requests we may need to cap the numbers but we'll have to give it a try to find out. So, if you want to chat your idea through please give us a call on 01433 620283 or email email@example.com. We'll then be able to help you decide on a way forward.
When we asked well known explorer Alastair Humphries for his advice about getting started on that new adventure in one of last year's Peak Mountaineering Inspiring Adventurers pieces he was all for stopping the excuses and diving in at whatever level you can manage. Maybe our Adventure Mentor scheme will help you dive in to yours?
Posted by Paul