24 May 2011

Smart phones, bouldering and the rat race

A strage combination to be sure but what on earth do smart phones, bouldering and the rat race, as we know it, have in common, if anything ? A few thoughts have occurred to me in the last weeks and left quite a lasting impression and desire to make changes for the better.

Bouldering, for those not in the know, is the sport of free climbing large rock boulders and working out the boulders ‘problems’  or climable routes to get to the top. Strenuous, focussed, passionate and imaginative are some of the words used to describe boulderers as they search for the thrill of  solving the problems almost bodhisattva style. Areas around the world such as Fontain Bleau in Fance, Joshua Tree and Yosemite in the US and Melloblocco in the Valmasino valley in Italy, all host some of the most fabled and awesome bouldering venues in the world.  I read an article this month stating that in May, Melloblocco hosted the largest bouldering competition in the world. Some 2600 climbers from 22 countries registered over a 3 day period with a further 10 000  non climbing friends and families attending.  They descended in quiet, orderly fashion to enjoy nature, and just as much  the climbing. Of course also the desire to be a part of something truly grand in every sense. That is an astounding amount of people to gather in one place for a  little known but growing sport such as bouldering. I think I could safely say there is something here worth investigating a bit further.

Our own home grown Kenton Cool, mountaineering expert bar none, has become the first person in history  to both climb Everest  nine times and make the worlds first 3G phone call to his wife on summiting.  Techology never ceases to astound me. Smart phones rule the mobile communication air waves and there is practically no where on earth you cant take a picture of yourself, attach the story of your adventures and then in minutes post both on your favourite social nerwok page for all the world to see and comment on. This leads me on to my next point. Where do the limits lie for everything we do as human beings . The world celebrated when Edmund Hillary first summited  Everest, alpine peaks that used to take 4 days to climb are now being conquered almost matter of factly in sub 4 hrs. Calling your Missus to discuss whats for tea when on the top of Everest… where does it end.?

The majority of us in the UK live the nine to five life style of  work, doing the boss proud in our ever  constant quest for more money, better houses and of course the latest smart phone for the kids, who truth be told, often know more about  and can often better use technology than our selves . We do our adventuring on the weekends ocassionally, and if very fortunate will get to fulfill our dream of the bagging that summit or travelling the globe to conquer that once in a life time opportunity that has been sat in picture form on your desk at work for what seems to be a million years. Just as many bragging conversations to those work mates who just smile and nod in agreement thinking yeah whatever !!! . As fast as the world is changing, and technology making things easier for us, people are seeking out to discover new horizons in the outdoors.

Most of the world lies conquered by the elite. The highest points on the earth, the deepest jungles, longest rivers and the list goes on. True adventure  lies in our own personal discoveries and we need to put aside the achievements of others yet keeping in mond what we can achieve. They merely point, compass like, affirming the way to the realms of possibilities of achievement. Perhaps we feel like second rate citizens following in the foot steps of those ‘God’s’ gone before, but in the end it is what we have as memories and our own personal achievements that is our reward.

Clearly, more people are desiring  what lies outside.  Forrests, mountains, rivers, enjoyment  of  nature and embracing the challenges that are offered in this environemnt. We test out mind, will, limits and physical endurance which makes us feel alive and clear headed.  It brings a measure of peace  and meaning to our lives.  Perhaps it is time to more fully challenge our personal thinking as to how we live our lives and why we do what we do.  Adesire for more out of life is clearly on the increase all over the world attested to by Melloblocco. As  I said there must be something here worth further investigating !!!

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