Many years ago I worked with Alan. At that time, I edited a magazine for mountain walkers and backpackers called Trail. Alan was an outstanding contributor and columnist. Erudite, humble and grounded, he penned a monthly column that wonderfully engaged our band of readers.
I heard Alan on Radio 4 recently, talking about the unfolding tragedy of a group of missing climbers on Nanda Devi in the Himalayas. He spoke with clarity and gravity, and I heard the emotion in his voice as he spoke.
He made an interesting point that climbers don’t have a “death wish” but a “life wish”. Certainly the mountains can be very dangerous and hold tragedy just around the next corner, but, paradoxically, the act of climbing is usually an affirming and exciting experience.
There will always be tragedies in the wild mountains. A curious conundrum, perhaps. Yet let’s celebrate this life wish, let’s celebrate this joy in conquering mountains – and ourselves. Maybe we can all have our edges – not necessarily 8,000 metres up, but in our lives, or our work.
Here’s a thought. If you were to stretch your personal edge, tomorrow, what might you do? And how might you be as a result of that?