When Terror Turns to Self-Confidence
It was 1989 in the south island of New Zealand.
A friend and I were going to walk around the Remarkable ski area.
As usual for me I wanted to go to the top, my friend said "No thanks" he would wait in the car.
I figured it would only take me an hour at most and he needed some sleep.
I started up and noticed the ski lifts did not go to the top of the mountain.
Thinking nothing of it I continued.
I had climbed dozens of mountains in New Zealand and this one seemed fine.
As I progressed I started to look around and marvel at the beautiful scenery, truly one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been.
The grade started getting a lot steeper and I carefully looked up and thought there would be several steeper parts to come and I best turn around.
That was the first time I had ever not finished a climb and had climbed down the same way I'd come up.
Well it was not to be the first time as I could not go back down.
Many climbers can attest to the fact it is easier to go up than down without climbing gear.
There were a couple of spots I had to climb up and there was no way I was climbing back down them.
I went left and right but realized the only way down was up.
As I had earlier noted the grade got very steep and then came a part that seemed impassable.
I went left and it just was not safe to climb it without gear.
I went right and saw a fairly simple 15 foot straight up climb and then it looked a lot easier to the top and once there I could go down a snow chute to the bottom.
I carefully looked at the 15 feet section and swung my leg around the edge to get my foot onto the first step.
I got my hand-holds and pulled my other leg around.
Due to how the mountain went I had gone around a 90 degree corner and was going straight up.
An amazing feeling suddenly came over me and I was drawn to look down.
Much to my amazement I had not looked down before I started and it would have made all the difference.
It was several hundred feet straight down.
At that moment I had feelings words just can not describe.
I started to get "Singer foot", any rock climber would know this is when one of your legs starts to shake like you are pushing a pedal on a Singer sewing machine.
At that point if my leg would have done that I would be dead.
I started talking to myself about how the climb was easy and if I don't keep it together I am dead.
Miraculously my leg stopped, I calmed down and made the climb.
I went to the top and had one of the most amazing views of my life and experiences.
It was then I realize I could control my thoughts and my body if I was serious enough.
This was the first big turning point in my life.
When things are not going my way now I remember that climb and what I did.
Knowing I can do it again, controlling myself I mean.
We all have some turning points in our life.
Times when things looked bad, real bad and we survived them.
Remember those times as they can really build your self-confidence, the power of knowing you can do something regardless of the situation is a great thing.