“To live for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.”
– Robert M. Pirsig –
To put it another, somewhat jaded but succinct way, climbing a mountain is a journey, not a destination. All the growth and discovery (self as well as otherwise) and adventure happens along the way. As a nature- and mountain-lover, I’ve always regarded it unacceptable – taboo almost – to think of the summit along the way; it’s not dogma I picked up on a mountaineering course. And it’s made each ascent a pleasure, and greatly contributes to the longevity of my passion for climbing mountains. I’ve been hiking Table Mountain for decades, yet the sense of discovery and the thrill of being high up on a buttress have never left me. The summit only serves as a crowning pleasure; rarely do I think of it along the way, for in some ways it marks the end of the journey – the adventure.