Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Young Mountaineer's Reply to His Master

I can see your grin each time I mention a page in my book still too thin. It just shows that my stories compared to yours are nothing, like a dot in a broad white sheet, negligible. Your tales are far better, far more exciting, far more colorful, an epic. Nevertheless, you still lend me your ears, you listen, I see no sign of boredom, thank you for that sir.

But did I speak too much? Forgive me sir, for I cannot help myself from telling you my mountain adventures, I really can't. Nothing excites me more than sharing to you these adventure stories of mine. So if you aren't fed up yet, I have a lot more stories to tell, trail after trail, peak after peak, mountain after mountain.

I want the mountains to be my classroom too, for you said it has been yours. Courage and perseverance, teamwork and camaraderie, faith and hope - not only these values will guide me to the summit, you too, your footprints can be my guide.

You mentioned, passion is the power. I couldn't agree more, for it has been the fuel that keeps me going from the very start. It's the one that put me in this loop - earn money... spend it on a mountain... earn money... spend it again on another mountain.

I respect my fellow men as much as I respect nature. But like what you said, mere words are not enough. So rather than expressing my ways in words, I'd just show it to you when we're on the trails.

You said the mountains more than our playground is also our teacher. But I'm a hard-headed student and I need a little more pounding. To learn the grand virtue of humility from this great teacher won't be that easy for me. Is it an excuse to be too young, too fervent and wild? 

You also said that we, human beings, have the gift of motion. You're right again. I have two strong legs and I will use them to trek farther, reach higher, move boundlessly.

Then you questioned me, "why do I climb?". I paused for a while and realized that seeking an answer to it is like seeking an answer to the question, "what is the very cause of my existence?". Quite very hard to answer, really.

Do I climb for vanity purposes? I think I do. It gratifies me everytime people hit the like button or post their comments in my freshly uploaded photos at facebook. Who would not want an affirmation? That's human nature I guess. Do I treat it as a sport? I think I do. The thrill in this activity made me go beyond my limits. I have done the highest in the country, yet I still can't get enough. Neither the highest nor the most difficult would define the finish line. Do I see climbing as competition, a race? I think I do. I've been climbing mountains almost every week, in fact I've done 36 mountains in just a year and a month, as if I would ran out of summits. Stopping is not an option, well perhaps, not until I surpassed the best. Do I climb because of the people I am with? I think I do, definitely. Taking the trails and reaching the summit all by myself can sometimes be enjoyable. But more often than not, climbing with a team, my circle of friends, is what I enjoy the most.

Diamonds are forever, but people are not diamonds. They come and go, constantly changing. Yes, separation can be really sad, but like what you said, I must keep going. To be alone in the wilderness, however painful, does not mean it is the end of the world. The boat must take its course no matter what, after all, I am my own captain.

"Why do I climb?", to answer it would require me to think long and hard. Not a day, not a week, not even a month is enough to fully think and answer this question. A year? maybe. Until now, I'm puzzled. I've been treating the mountains more than as it is. I want to know them all, one by one, the things that make each one of them unique. Is it crookedness to treat the mountains that way? I don't know. I really need more time to understand the whole picture. Or maybe I was just overthinking, creating more questions than answering the problem. For now, one thing is for sure - whenever I'm on a mountain, I am happiest.

My time is forever limited, so as my money, yet I can still afford to climb mountains from time to time. My big thanks to your advice for I have followed them flawlessly. Passion and dedication, patience as well, these are the tools that helped me reach what was reached, the tools that, up until now, I use to attain my biggest dreams.

I am so eager to try all things, to seek the greatest adventures this world can offer. But don't you worry, I will not fall off the cliffs. I will not commit the same mistakes that others have done. Experience taught me my limits. I'm not afraid of retreating, for I know it's not being coward, but being wise.

My tales, though not as good, not as exciting, not as colorful and not an epic to begin with, are still worth telling. You will see in these stories my humble beginnings, the people who shaped me, the first time I slept on a tent, the first time I cooked my food, the first time I ran out of water, the first time I saw nature at its finest, those and all the other firsts in my mountaineering career. In these tales you will see how bit by bit I am marching towards the summits of my dreams.

Thank you is an understatement, for you have imparted more than knowledge and inspiration. What you gave is indeed a trail food for the soul, which I believe won't make me hungry again. What you showed is not a trail sign, but a pavement that will direct me towards success. I can almost see it, you're right, the view is splendid.


So inspired by his article, I came up with mine. This post is meant to answer Pinoy Mountaineer's "A Letter to a Young Mountaineer"      

"Following his footsteps"
Mt. Maculot Rockies with my idol, Pinoy Mountaineer.


  1. If i have to answer this question......"Why do i climb"....is for my mother....

  2. very well said, pa share lang sa blog ko yung ibang passage..

  3. hey there, I've been thinking about writing my own reason why I climb too pero hanggang ngayun, I still have questions why. Perhaps, we used to realize something new about oursleves evry time we climb new mountains and we get that weird kind of satisfaction from it. Climbing is more than a sport to me, it's something spiritual. It's always a humbling experience when you get on top of someplace and realize how small you are, it's a weird (to me) yet really peaceful feeling, it's a moment when you feel so much connected with nature. We can give as many reasons as we can. For me, my reason would be sports and spirituality.

  4. Why do I climb? Maybe I can answer it when Im at the last minutes of my life

  5. i wanna join ur group.can u help me

  6. kindly contact my number 09186511240

  7. Wala ba itong tagalog translation? Hahahaha! Ang ganda ivan. Two thumbs up! Isama mo na pati hinlalaki ko sa paa.- VPR

  8. Very well said Ivan.. It's a tough question but in the end of the day you will find your answer.

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