The next time you find yourself in a bit of a philosophical rut, questioning why we’re here and what’s it all about, you may want to put down the Tao and pick up some rope — because a recent study from New Zealand concludes mountain climbers have “a good grasp on life.”
Lee Davidson, a senior lecturer at the University of Victoria’s museum and heritage studies program, spent some time interviewing and socializing with some Kiwi climbers to find out their outlook on life. She found that overwhelmingly, climbers had “a strong sense of identity,” and that this identity most often came from having “an opportunity to test yourself in an environment where making a mistake means you pay for it.”
Focus on a singular, achievable goal is also important:
“Many said the mountain became (the climbers’) point of reference, it gave them a solid grounding, a core to life where everything else revolved around it.”
The study was also sure to note that climbers aren’t necessarily adrenaline-fueled wild men, and that most were cautious outdoorspeople who took calculated risks and learned from their experiences.
While the study focused on mountain climbers, I’m certain these same qualities would apply to the vast majority of hikers out there, too. Seeing a peak from a trailhead and then working to get to that summit is one of the most rewarding things I do — and the problems of the workaday week and urban existence rarely enter my thoughts when I’m hiking.
Have any of you stumbled upon the Meaning of Life while scanning for rattlesnakes or doing tick checks? I haven’t yet, but I feel like I’m on the right path.
Until then, I’ll just defer to DSD.
Image by argreen.