Of course, I have been following closely on the climbing news of Mount Everest this season. We seem to have missed the best climbing season of all. Never mind, I reminded myself, the mountain is always there.
And of course, I followed Linda’s progress on her attempt on Mount Everest. She is the first woman climber from Singapore to climb the world’s highest.
Linda did not just make an attempt on Mount Everest, she climbed it. It does not matter if one summit or not, the journey in itself is remarkable. In 1998, David Lim led the first Singapore team to scale Mount Everest, and he had successfully placed two climbers on the summit. David did not summit Mount Everest in 1998, he led another expedition in year 2000, and again, he did not get to the top. However, often in our local reports on mountaineering related matters, it has always been reported that David Lim has climbed Mount Everest. Well, I have no doubts about it. Therefore, the same connotation shall be accorded to Linda as well. Linda Tan has climbed Mount Everest. No one can take that away from her.
In a recent report on AsiaOne about Linda’s Everest quest, I read comments posted by readers. As in most cases, there are some who would support, some would condemn. For those with kind words, we thank them; to those who condemn, we can ignore it and move on. But we cannot ignore the fact that those condemning remarks can be hurting. If one cannot understand why climbers climb, and still want an answer to it, then try looking at it from a different view. Why are there people who would commit time and money to do a MBA, a PHD? Why would people stay in a queue for hours or even days just so to be mocked by the superstar judges? I do not have the answers for that and I will not question them. I admire their efforts, their guts. I admire them for taking action. I respect their intention, I respect their dreams.
Why climb? I have posted this quote before:
One cannot stay on the summit forever
One has to come down again.
So why bother in the first place? Just this.
What is above knows what is below
But what is below does not know what is above.
One climbs, one sees
One descends and sees no longer
But one has seen!
There is an art of conducting one’s self in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up.
When one can no longer see,
One does at least still know.
~ Rene Daumal
Climbing is a metaphor to our life journey. Climbing is more than having an awesome view; it is more than a thrill; it is beyond the summit.
Frankly, if you asked me why I choose to climb Mount Everest, (other than being the world’s highest and that it is a mountain) I cannot give you an absolute answer to it. As my teammate, Lihui, said “Mt. Everest is a mountain, not the mountain’.
We explore challenges and test our limits in different ways. There is no one challenge that is greater than the other. Each of us has our own Everest.