First, let me define what a major climb is. Pinoy Mountaineer simply defines it as a climb that requires an overnight stay. On my own understanding, a major climb is simply those climbs that have a difficulty of 5/9 and up. Pardon for my basic definition, probably as I get through with more major climbs, I can define it more precisely. Haha 🙂
More than the self-fulfillment and the surreal moment of being victorious after a difficult challenge, I just totally love how Major Climbs can reveal the character of the climber- the best and the worst, the strengths and weaknesses. It is at that liberating moment that you’d get to know yourself more than anyone else. The things that piss you off, the way you deal with stress while hiking with that towering full pack backpack, and your reaction whenever you see somebody at a slower pace than you. Major climbs reveal your heart.
A major climb for me is a humbling experience. The weaker my body feels, the more that I depend on the Lord’s strength for endurance. I love how Paul said it in 2Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Isn’t it amazing how somebody desires weakness just so he can boast off the Lord’s strength? I’m not saying that one should desire to be weak on climbs but there will always come a point in time that you’ll feel weak. It would be unusual if your energy level is always on high. I admit that my Mt. Tapulao Climb which was my first major climb took its toll on both my knees on our way down. They were literally shaking and involuntarily bending. I was with our very patient sweeper of the climb and we would pause for a while and rest whenever that happens. I remember even closing my eyes and would pray for the strength to finish it. So ask how did I manage to be triumphant on that? By taking that one shaky step one after another, and another, and a thousands other. It was that determination to finish that I made it. It was also at that glorious moment that I’ve realized on why mountains are being compared to the bumps in life. That despite that long rocky terrain, you don’t just give up. You strive harder, move on, and manage to be a stronger you. I even learned the “Patience is a Virtue” motto by heart. (I might document our Tapulao Climb on a separate article)
I don’t consider myself yet a professional hiker, an experienced one, or anything near it. Nor has a strong athletic physical body to climb one. Honestly, I was even asthmatic before joining and my weight plays within the line of being underweight and normal. But I can say that I’m a strong believer of grace that is enough and that can surpass all circumstances. Hiking for me is about faith and grace. It’s not just about depending on your own strength brought about by prior body workouts, but on drawing the endurance and motivation from the Source of everything.
For those who haven’t tried a major climb, I encourage you to do so. Push your limits. Yet you’ll never know your limits until you push them. A tinge of truth that you wouldn’t know how difficult or insurmountable something is unless you try. Every accomplishment ALWAYS starts with a decision to try. I’m hoping that you would experience it the way I’ve experienced it: fulfilling and life-changing.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.