Mountaineering involves risk and hardship and to successfully scale the summit of a mountain you need to be physically fit, tough, and mentally prepared for many challenges and difficulties. But the sheer beauty of nature also provides a sense of tranquility and relaxation found nowhere else. Mountaineering in high alpine environments requires you to be fit and strong and you need to have a skill set that involves navigation, rock climbing, ice climbing, glacier travel, and much more.
We don’t have snow and glaciers in Ghana and we don’t get to altitudes that require acclimatization. But many of the other skill sets are needed just as much. We need to acclimatize and prepare for the intense heat and humidity and during long approaches with heavy backpacks, sometimes through very dense and hostile vegetation we often ask ourselves why on earth we got up at 03:00 in the morning while so many others are now just having a relaxing cup of coffee somewhere at a nice beach or an ice-cold drink somewhere at the poolside.
But the great joy of having scaled a new summit or discovered a new climbing route, a small waterfall, an interesting cave, or just a beautiful spot somewhere in the middle of seemingly nowhere with the most beautiful vegetation around and the feeling of having accomplished a most difficult task makes up for all of it. Stepping out of the city and leaving behind all that email, phone, WhatsApp, etc., and trading it for beautiful views and quiet moments gives you a feeling of freedom and happiness rarely to be found elsewhere.
John Muir (1838-1914) also known as “John of the Mountains” and “Father of the National Parks” says it best:
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves”