Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports…all others are games. ~ Ernest Hemingway
Many men are looking for ways to re-discover their masculinity in a feminized world. There is no denying that learning game is an important part of being a complete man. But most men need more. We need adventure. There are many different options for those with a taste for exploration. I’ve done different extreme activities in my life, but mountaineering stands out.
A multi-day climb to the summit of a snow-covered mountain is an epic journey. It will make your mind and body strong. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, physically. Despite my best efforts, I succeeded just four times out of five attempts. Here are the mountains I’ve climbed.
1) Half Dome
8,835 feet. I started with Half Dome in Yosemite, California.
This is really just a long day hike.
2) Mount Shasta
14,179 feet. I climbed Mount Shasta in California two separate times.
One attempt ended in failure, the other in success.
3) Mount Hood
11,240 feet. Mount Hood in Oregon came next.
4) Mount Adams
12,276 feet. My final climb was Mount Adams in Washington State.
Mountaineering is not a fun sport. It is painful and difficult. Some die or get seriously hurt. I saw two people get badly injured. One man fell thousands of feet down the side of Mount Shasta. He was so battered they sent a helicopter to evacuate him. The other fell and was evacuated by snowmobile and stretcher. Both survived, but many do not.
It’s an incredibly harsh and unforgiving environment. I guarantee you will suffer if you decide to climb one. Your physical ability will affect your pain levels. Being in top shape makes it easier. I trained for about six months prior to each trip. I did a combination of weight training, stair-master, flatland running, hill running, trail running, and hiking.
Despite training for your climb, some factors will be beyond your control. The higher you climb the harder it is to breathe. Your body strains to process oxygen. On top of that, you are consuming calories at a rapid pace because of the grueling activity. Your body is craving nutrition, but the altitude suppresses appetite. I had to force myself to eat. Altitude sickness is another danger and can strike down even the strongest man. The only cure is descent. I experienced altitude sickness and vomited every single time I climbed. There are pills you can take to offset the sickness. Weather is another wild card. The mountains make their own weather. Sometimes conditions are so bad you have to turn around. We turned back on our first attempt at Mount Hood due to a storm. Luckily, the weather cleared and we were able to climb the next day.
Climbing to the top of a mountain makes you feel like a fucking badass. It will put you in the best shape of your life. The mountains offer unparalleled beauty. And mountaineering is something that most average people will never experience.
It’s been a while since my last climb. All my climbing buddies are now married men, with careers and kids. They can no longer risk dangerous exploits. I understand their position. But despite the hardship, it is something I would like to do again.
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