'The Day A Mountain Changed My Life' September winner: Andrew BonePublished: 2nd October 2018
Discover the winning entries from our monthly writing competition capturing memorable mountain days.
When I begin walking, my thoughts are always dull – money things, family worries, job concerns – a pretty tedious loop. My surroundings (the mountains) wait patiently for me to effectively shut up and to let the outside in. That’s when surprises happen. I’ve discovered that mountains can thaw thoughts and feelings from long ago. On Great Gable last year, I suddenly found myself exhaling my deceased sister’s name as I took an upwards step.
I’d had no warning this was coming.
I hadn’t been thinking about her at all, yet what seemed to come through me was a need to share out loud how much I’d loved her. This doesn’t happen in Peckham.
It’s not why I walk though – to plod away until held-onto feelings are unlocked by vertical counsellors. I do, however, believe the mountains can inspire us to be the most honest version of ourselves. And that this can surprise us. For me, one of the great things about mountains is that they don’t care about us. Faced with such a staggering lack of interest, why be anyone but ourselves?
I once arrived on top of Tryfan, when blazing beams of sunlight split Adam and Eve through their centre; a scorchingly beautiful divorce. It was a sight that screamed with intensity, and that was Medusa-like impossible to look at directly. The sun’s rays bounced and spread themselves across the snow, creating a prism of light in the air above me. I was momentarily overcome with just how happy I was to be where I was at that precise moment in time.
I’d never reached a summit in snow before. Castell y Gwynt was utterly breathtaking. Planet Krypton on earth. I felt lucky simply to be taking steps towards it. Others wandered around in an equally dumbstruck state of wonder and reverence. It was as though we’d been dropped into an evangelical snow cult. The only noise was the sound of crampons across the snow. People say new-born babies look so gorgeous that you could eat them. Well, that’s what we were doing with our crampons, chewing into this gorgeous landscape, eating up the ground beneath our feet. My dull loop of worries had long since dissolved and I’d been in a state of awe for the longest period of my life so far. Unforgettable.
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