Posted tagged ‘Mountaineering’

The Only Way is Up

April 17, 2010

A bonding trip of mountain climbing was just what the doctor ordered: Fresh air, camaraderie and a unique sense of fulfilment. After much debate the company drew up an itinerary to climb three peaks. First on the list were the Annapurna peaks in the Himalayas. As we ascended, abreast of me a colleague remarked. “I wouldn’t mind climbing the Anna Kournikova Mountains.” This guy’s well on the road to blindness and we haven’t seen any snow yet.

Gaining height the valley narrows and our party was surrounded by glaciers, great rock buttresses and magical visions of the sun. Extraordinarily we were cold and sunburnt at the same time. The scintillating panoramic view made this long trek worthwhile. It was a bit of a downer thinking about the long journey down until I espied a lake many miles below the mountain.
“We’ll jump.” I said.
“Like hell we will.” said one of the sunstroke kids.
“If the waters deep enough and we don’t get squished to death we’ll be OK.”
My sound reasoning prevailed and we jumped off the mountain to climb another day.

Next on the agenda was Everest. We aimed to join the five and a half mile club. Setting off on the usual route we came across vendors of many items along the trail. A coca-cola stand stood beside a stall with oxygen equipment. A furniture wholesaler traded next to a seller of heavy clothing. Spotting a bargain I couldn’t resist buying a blown up inflatable Yeti to take up the mountain with me. What fun I’d have scaring other parties.

Nearing the top the going got tough; indeed, Everest has many double glaciers. On reaching the pinnacle of the world we bumped and barged into fellow ascenders as the place was as busy as the subway. Agonisingly, we were presented with a common problem of mountaineering. Yes, you’re right, our old pal: the descent.

Nobody fancied jumping again so I asked if anybody wanted a winch. We’re not that way inclined, said the male chorus; the fools thought I meant kissing. Calling in one of my pilot friends a helicopter appeared and lifted us up, up and away, high over the peaks.

Finally we took a vacation to South Africa to scale the beautiful Table Mountain in Cape Town. Completely shattered by hammering with ice picks on the previous legs of our adventure, we took the cable car to the top. Now this was our kind of mountain. Totally flat with a true surface, we indulged in all the activities a giant table can muster. We played subbutteo, snooker and of course, table tennis. Retrieving the mishit balls was the only downer.