It’s not about the mountain. But at the same time, it is. I spoke to a conference of 1000 youth leaders yesterday and have been reflecting on why I climb mountains since. My mind keeps stealing the title of Lance’s book. It’s not about the mountain. Itself. In and of itself. It’s not about standing on a particular piece of topography called the summit. It’s about every step I take in getting there. It’s the decisions I make in committing to a a climb, it’s getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning to train while most others are still sleeping. It’s the remote and harsh landscape of blue and white into which few dare to venture.
It’s being tested by injuries and illness and answering with determination and perseverance. It’s sharing the glorious triumphs and the singeing disappointments both which careen off my soul like avalanches set free from great heights. It’s the sudden and unexpected kindness of a stranger and the caring of a teammate who is suffering equally. It’s the lessons I learn about life and love and living in every hard earned step uphill, at home and on slopes far from here. It’s not about the mountain, but it is.