This new blog series was inspired during my recent mini-trek in Malaysia. It was honestly far from mountain climbing but the short hike into the tip of a tropical rainforest triggered sufficient memories of my hikes in a few places on the globe.
For the record, we were in the deeper part of the forest for slightly over an hour, but the undulating terrain requiring us to negotiate some fallen trees and duck low branches offered a novel adventure for my primary school participants.
Back in 2002 when I climbed my first mountain, Gunung Ledang (or Mount Ophir) in Malaysia, I had zero knowledge of what to expect. The only experience of a ‘real’ forest I had was some amateurish treks around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve during my high school days.
You could imagine how nervous I was going for this climb.
I forgot to mention that the climb was for a group of youth and I signed up as a group facilitator … which meant that I have to take care of a few participants in addition to myself!
Since then, 15 years have passed and I must admit that I have had some small luxury to have experienced other mountains in Malaysia, India, Brunei, Sabah and Scotland.
So the big question that people always ask me is how do one prepare for a climb?
You cannot climb the exact mountain to prepare for the real climb on the same mountain again. Right?
It is a universal truth that you cannot prepare fully for the challenges that are coming your way. You cannot have the exact exam paper to prepare for the real exam itself.
So how do you then prepare yourself for a mountain climb?
My answer to that question is by continuously training yourself physically and mentally. You simply have to find means and ways to keep yourself ready, if not physically, then at least mentally and emotionally.
Some ways that I fuse training in my daily life are:
- Carrying a loaded backpack where possible. I try not to go light by being willing to keep my backpack filled.
- Go for a walk. Force yourself to get moving.
- Do things the hard way. Sounds stupid but you are teaching yourself to be alright with physical labour. When the mind has accepted and always willing to go through the difficult path, everything else will appear easy.
The mountains always seem to be calling me for a climb. No matter when the opportunity may come, I need to always be prepared.
Sometimes you may have fallen short in your physical preparations. But, believe me, the body is only as strong as the mind. Hence, it is more crucial to keep yourself mentally sharp and ready. So, if you ensure that you have sufficient “training sessions” for the mind, you are ever-ready to face any issues in life.
Stay Calm and Keep Climbing!