Conquering Fear on Mountain Tops
There's something so incredible about conquering a mountain. I love those early hours of the morning before the sun rises, headlamps reflecting off the snow and icy cold air numbing my face. Maybe I'm crazy, but that's what I live for. Crevasses are magnetically beautiful. I daydream about ice axes and crampons and puffy down jackets on a regular basis. Then the snow melts and rock appears after only a few spring climbs. Rock climbing and scrambling have become much more appealing to me as the weather has warmed, because they provide that mountaintop experience year round.
The only problem with rockclimbing is fear. Rock terrifies me. I thought mountains would just have to be a spring fling I looked forward to every year. But who was I kidding? I need mountain more than air. So my journey to appreciate and, maybe even fall in love with rock began.
My first time rock climbing this year was in Idaho at the city of rocks. I wanted to throw up just looking at our first climb, just a small warmup. But I was determined, and gave it my best that whole day. I felt accomplished, but knew I had a long way to go. I did a little climbing at rock gyms after, but still wasn't sure it was for me until a few friends invited me to climb Three Fingered Jack and Mount Washington with them.
I couldn't resist and agreed to go on my first rock climbing summit attempt. I scrambled and climbed cautiously, aware of the lives those two mountains had claimed. I sat on the summit of Three Fingered Jack the first day, happy to have reached the top, well aware I was perched on crumbly rock & surrounded by bugs.
It wasn't like my fist time on a glacier, when my heart skipped a beat and I felt unstoppable. It was just a really big pile of rocks. By the second climb, Mount Washington, I had become a little more comfortable with the scrambling & enjoyed the views without any fear. The rock climb portion was simple and I had a trusty prusik in case I slipped. The summit was larger, had fewer bugs, and gave me a sense of accomplishment.
We rappelled down without a problem and as we poured scree out of our shoes, I finally felt that connection I'd been looking so hard for. A tiny little seed of admiration for that big pile of rock.
Written by Noelle Snyder. Photos by Elijah Weber, Jon Dalthorp & Stacia Glenn
Noelle is a thisworldexists Adventure Ambassador. See more of Noelle's adventures on Instagram: @noelle_danae