Last week I met Elved and his partner Claire. Elved lost his lower leg a couple of years ago, as a result of being caught in a rock fall whilst climbing. Claire has a fear of heights, and understandable apprehension of climbing again after Elved’s accident.
They were keen to get out on a Lakeland mountain crag and tick off some long routes. Both wanted to try to face their fears and challenge themselves, and I had the fantastic job of making it happen for them. As soon as we met they were very open about the problems they had. To hear them talk openly and to see the determination that they had to get back into the mountains, despite setbacks and doubts, was inspiring. Courageous people are not fearless; they are the ones who chose to do it anyway, despite the fear.
I was reminded of other clients who have shared mountain adventures with me. I’ve worked with people with diabetes, with learning disabilities, and with a wide variety of physical and mental conditions, including a young man who lost an arm in a childhood accident, and who had developed his own unique climbing style. I am always inspired by the will and determination to overcome. When hard things come our way they can bring out the best in us, and can cause us to dig deep and examine what is important to us. The therapeutic effect of simply being in the mountains is magnified when we add the challenges that mountaineering and climbing provide. It is very rare that a client will finish a day and not be changed in a positive way, whether or not they are disadvantaged in some way.
What an amazing job! I’m looking forward to sharing more of these experiences with my inspirational clients. What about you? Have you been in a situation in the mountains where you had to dig deep to overcome your fears and doubts?