Monday, February 28, 2011

Mountain Climbing: Is The Risk Worth The Reward?

I've always thought it would be cool to climb Mt. Rainier. As a Seattle native the mountain to the South is one of the areas most distinguished icons and a monument millions of people think of when they think of the city. I picture myself getting into incredible shape, going to REI to pick up my equipment, outfitting myself in the latest Helly Hansen gear, and climbing to the top. I imagine myself at the top of the 14,110 foot mountain looking down on the world from God's view and patting myself on the back for achieving such a great accomplishment. Then I remember the risks involved in embarking on such an ambitious endeavor.

Even for the most accomplished of mountain climbers getting to the top of such a colossal structure is no easy task. Unlike other sports (or recreational activities) there is no help if you find yourself in an adverse situation. If you break a bone half way up the mountain there is no immediate response. If your partner begins to suffer from hypothermia there is no easy way to turn back. If a climber gets lost or incapacitated it takes rescue teams by helicopter DAYS ON END to find the stranded climber. I'm a thrill seeker, but only to a point. In the grand scheme of things I don't see where the reward outweighs the risk. It would be nice to say I did it, but I don't want to risk my life doing it.

Truth be told, I'm kind of spoiled. I'd prefer room service, Vegas lights, chauffeurs, and manicures over a 60 mile hike and bonding with nature. I understand why people climb mountains and I don't shun them for their ambition. Mountain climbing is an activity that gives you a tremendous adrenaline rush and a life changing experience (so I've heard). Maybe someday I'll change my mind , but for now the risk of injury (or worse) and the physical/psychological demand on your body is too much for me. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, I'm just saying I wouldn't do it. Your thoughts.

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