Why do we climb? It’s a complicated question, and one that invites unsatisfying answers. George Mallory’s famous response to the question of why he wanted to climb Everest (“Because it’s there!”) is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg; pardon the pun.
Pursuing high altitude peaks in a country like Nepal is a deep reflection of personal desires and values. Looking beyond the physical and mental challenge of attempting a big summit, the irony of seeking out mountaineering objectives is not lost on the introspective climber: what a manifestation of privilege it is to put tremendous resources towards a summit goal that entails not only deliberately pushing into difficult environments but also means voluntarily embracing hardships which the majority of the local population is working hard to avoid.
That’s why expedition mountaineering is about so much more than about the mountain or the summit. It’s about refining our understanding of what matters in life - both in our own and in the lives of others - and growing as a person in the face of constant consequential choices and reality checks. It’s the reason why some of the best experiences on a mountaineering expedition may have nothing to do with climbing.
Read on below for a LuminAid story from AWE founder Sunny Stroeer’s most recent visit to Nepal, where Sunny talks about precisely one of those experiences.
Even among the highest peaks, a LuminAID ambassador finds a way to share light. This story comes from mountain-climber Sunny, who recently embarked on an all-female climb in the Himalaya. On the way, her team was able to distribute safe solar lights to families in high remote mountain villages, with fire stoves as their only light source.
Here at AWE we’re about climbing mountains and enabling extraordinary experiences, but hopefully the above story helps shed light on why we also believe that summits are just a tiny piece of the puzzle: what’s much more important than reaching one is how you get there, and the personal connections you make a long the way!
Visit Nepal with AWE