Stop Putting Bags On Peaks

img_3251Is there a store that supplies enormous bags? I am referring to bags so large that one could throw around a peak of a summit, perhaps synch it tightly and then attempt to pull it back to their vehicle at the base of the trailhead. There might also be some sort of pulley system that enables the “bagger” to gain leverage and tug at the summit with greater ease. Simply throwing the bag of peak over ones shoulder would be arduous and quite frankly, a real back breaker. Still, hauling the bag down would not go without serious challenges. Crossing any snowfields would be a real doozy and don’t even get me started on the logistics of packing the bag into your vehicle.

Bagging summits. Peak bagging. Yuck. I have a physical reaction to those terms that make my nostrils flare and my eyes roll back into the darkest cavrans of their sockets. Depending on the context, I might even throw up in my mouth a little. “Bruhh, I totally bagged that summit this weekend. Made that mountain my bitch!” ((Puts hand to mouth in attempts to block vomit from bursting out and spraying all over bro guy))

Why am I so caught up in terminology? So what if someone chooses to describes their success in that way? Two words: inflated ego. Two more words: perceived domination. Oh, you say it to be funny but really you are but a speck in the vast landscape? Great! You’re off the hook. I’m not being empathetic? Okay,  for a moment, let me make a conserted effort to imagine and actualize that perspective:

((Internal dialogue))

Phew! That trail was tough, I am sweating buckets and I feel like crying a little. No wait, this is amazing! I just hiked  six miles of switchbacks, two snowfields, scrambled over 1500 ft of boulders and topped it off with three pitches of 5.8 trad climbing. I am a beast. I am half beast, half human. Beastman. Hueast. Humeast. I can’t believe I have to go back down. I’ll never make it. Do I get cell service? One bar. Will I be charged for an air lift? Okay, my partner is looking at me. He isn’t sweating at all? He’s smiling? He’s saying something to me, his lips are moving, but no words are coming out. Oh wait, I can’t hear him over the pain and suffering I am enduring. Oh my god, I’m dying. He’s moving. He’s getting ready to go down? We just got here, I was about to take a bride two hour nap. He wants a a high five? I can’t feel my arms. Quick! Smile. Laugh. Say something epic “we spanked that mountain! Baggin’ peaks like it ain’t nothin. Let’s tick a few more while we’re here!” No! No you idiot, don’t suggest that. He’s shaking his head, okay, no, he said no. I’m an animal? He thinks I’m an animal! Yeah, he’s right, I just preyed on this mountain, cut its throats with my teeth and ate it for lunch. 

Two days later…

Holy shit I can’t get out of bed. Legs don’t work anymore…must call for help…wait, who is calling me?

 “Whaddup bro?”

“Oh yeah, I’m feeling great, ready to bag another peak,”

“nah, I’m not sore, just thirsty for another victim,”

“tomorrow? Uhhh…”

Whoa, back to real life. Mountains aren’t there for humans to spank, bag, tick or dominate. Sure, the peak you slogged your way up was incredibly challenging and tested your mental fortitude. You now have a sense of great accomplishment and elation. Perhaps your veins are bulging and your quads are harder than granite? All of that is beautiful and every person has their own reasons that propels them forward. Be in those moments. Be grateful your body has the endurance to take you there. Be grateful you overcame any hangups your mind throw at you in attempt to make you quit. Stay in that headspace and bask in gratitude.

Reigning your omnipotence upon the lowly mountain is just poor form. Confidence is necessary and valuable; a bloviated ego is dangerous. Regardless of your abilities and your keen awareness to Mother Nature’s tumultuous ways; some things are unpredictable. No amount of gear or checklists filled with bagged peaks will save you from the perils of poor choices. Just be real, bro. Unpack the giant bag, you’ll feel so much lighter. Besides, no one has actually invented bags large enough.

 

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