It is not news that I have made massive changes in my life to pursue more adventures. These have been challenging, fun, exciting, scary, and more. I have pushed myself to my limits and set out into the unknown, savouring every moment of it. These have all been amazing adventures for me, new steps into my unknown. However, they have not necessarily all been into the unknown.
What is Adventure with a capital A
I recently attended the Chamonix Mountain Festival and finally watched the absolutely incredible and inspiring film, Valley Uprising. I have never walked out of a film more inspired; first making me want to go out and climb immediately; then second, however, was much more profound. I wanted to go on an Adventure – with a capital A.
In 1957, Royal Robbins set off up the North West face Half Dome and became the first person to ever climb not just that face but any face that huge and complicated. He set off with only the faith in his conviction, confidence in the skills and strength he had developed – plus no small amount of courage. Topping out 5 days later he had taken on a challenge that everyone had said was impossible. But it wasn’t. Robbins completely challenged what was possible. This was an Adventure.
When Reinhold Messner set off up Everest in 1980 he was alone and, more importantly, was not carrying supplementary oxygen. Doctors told him he would die and that it was physically impossible for any human to go to that altitude without oxygen. Messner ignored their advice and wanted to see for himself if that was possible. On the 20 August he stood on the summit of Everest, having climbed alone and unsupported, and without oxygen. What was possible had just been challenged again. This was an Adventure.
This winter, Tom Ballard, son of famed British alpinist Alison Hargreaves, set of on an audacious challenge; to solo climb the 6 Great North Faces of the Alps in a single winter. This had not been done before and, many thought, would not be done for a while yet. The terrible winter that we have had merely added to the hurdles Tom faced. However, this March he completed the challenge and, once again, what was possible has changed forever. This is an Adventure.
I have been on a number of adventures. Adventures that have challenged me personally, that have tested my skill, strength, and determination, but they have all had someone go before me. They all had been done before.
What I want to do is to push not just what I am able to do but what anyone has done before. To challenge what people think is possible by standing up and saying ‘I believe I can do this’ and giving it my all.
The idea of pushing myself in a situation that no one has been in before is truly inspiring, to challenge what people previously thought was possible, and to see what is on the other side of the known excites me more than anything else.
I have some great plans for adventures this summer, for challenges that will push me further than ever before, and I know that each and everyone is building up my strength both physically and mentally, and pushing me closer and closer to what is achievable.
I have started to find new limits to my adventures and this appears to be bringing me close to an Adventure, the closest being to Run Annapurna. Seth Wopin had walked the route, non-stop, in 72 hours, but no one has yet run the route. Comparable and further distances have been run but, again, no one has run that sort of terrain for that distance, and up to the altitude before.
Maybe this is will be my Adventure? I guess I just have to go back and find out.