No one remembers who climbed Mount Everest the second time — Sir Edmund Hillary
This essay is a deeply personal story inspired by the countless men and women who have climbed or attempted to climb the 100 highest mountain peaks in the world. Almost all of these peaks lie in the countries of India, China, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. The highest of them all — Mount Everest is in Nepal.
The two contemporary mountaineers who continue to inspire me today are Cory Richards who recently climbed Gasherbrum II, a 26,360 ft peak in Northwest Pakistan and the Free Soloist Alex Honnold who became the first person to climb El Capitan without a rope on June 3, 2017.
It is not just their climbs that continue to inspire me. Rather, it is their journey to conquer their inner demons to climb those peaks. A journey that is testament to the capability of every human to achieve the impossible should they choose to conquer their fear and find their unique personal summit to climb. That summit is a symbol of any single minded pursuit in life from music to writing, from film making to climbing peaks.
The Beginning Of A Life Without Fear
For most of my teenage and adult life, I have been scrawny. “All bones, no meat!” they would say. If people had a very strong opinion about my appearance, they made no bones about it. No pun intended. Growing up, I was constantly hounded by almost every single person I met. The other choicest set of words I was constantly at the receiving end of but I never actually got comfortable with was: malnourished, undernourished, underweight, unhealthy etc. However, the word that pained me the most was ‘emaciated’. Even though I was from a family that was well off, that word just conjured up images of abject deprivation or that of a state of life devoid of basic necessities.
None of it was true. It was true that I was skinny but not to the extent society characterized my appearance. I must admit those words reminded me of the brutality that human speech could inflict on tender, growing minds. For years, I thought there was something lacking in me and that I could never matchup to the world. It…