Fear

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and had planned on sharing it with you before we began our Summit Rotation. Now that we have decided to break camp in about 30 hours, to make our push for the summit, I suppose it’s as good of a time as any. Also, this was written before Ueli Steck fell to his death and I feel that it is even more appropriate now than before…  

On our trek into EBC, Brent and I began discussing the fear that each of us carry as mountaineers. He shared a quote from French climbing philosopher, Rene Duamal, who wrote: “The Himalayas of the mind are not so easily attained; there is more than storm and precipice between you and your Everest”.

We all have fears in life and I would guess that any two of us have at least half of them in common. Every day of my life, I have fears and many of them are probably the same as you… failure, self-doubt, embarrassment, death. In the mountains, I spend a lot of my time reflecting on my life and attempting to gain a better understanding of who I am. These fears that I mentioned are present every single day that I climb and while you may not sense it in me, they are there. Some days, I wake up fearful that my physical ability is not enough to succeed in this climb, probably more often than you can imagine, but I refuse to allow that fear get in the way of giving it my damnedest! 

Why am I writing this? I want you to think about your fears and if they are stopping you from following your dreams. As I head up Mount Everest, there are a number of factors that I truly fear but I plan to face them head on. It’s ok to have fear but not if it gets in the way of the life that you want to live. Some of you may have heard this before but my favorite quote is from Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. I’d be lying if I said that this mountain didn’t scare me but I’m not going to let that get in the way of my “daring adventure”

 Do what you love. 

-John

  • Natalie Linn

    John- While I don’t know you beyond your journaling, you have become an inspiration to me (and a bit of a rock star to my sons, aged 8 & 6!). I’ve shared your story with them: the excitement, the adventure, the angst, the successes, and then set-backs. While the physical trials of your journey are heart-stopping, it is the emotion, self-reflection, candor, and rawness with which you write about the mental and emotional challenges that strike a cord with me. THANK YOU for not only sharing your adventure, but (even more so) your spirit and soul. You are an exceptional person, and my kids and I will be rooting for you to the end.
    Godspeed!
    Natalie