It has been almost exactly eight months since I reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. And it has taken me that long to answer the toughest question since my return: “what’s next?”
Today, I finalized my answer just in time to secure my spot in a week-long introduction to mountaineering course in the Canadian Rockies in July. It’s time to strap on the crampons and learn how to wield an ice axe on glaciers and assorted peaks.
My mother asked me if I was insane. I know in some ways she has a point. I’m hardly a fearless and rugged mountain woman. I’m more of a notoriously wussy adventurer who may freak out, shake and doubt her strength but will push on anyways.
It’s actually the invigorating blend of excitement and terror that confirms that this is the right choice. I’m tired of reading, watching and discussing mountaineering. I don’t want to make more vision board-type collages with climbing imagery. I want to get out there and experience it for myself.
Maybe this trip won’t be the foundation for future technical climbs up majestic peaks. Or maybe I will be a mountaineer when I grow up. It doesn’t matter to me either way. All I know is like Kilimanjaro, this decision was born of my intuition and my heart. And that’s progress well beyond any summits added to my list.