I would like to dedicate this post to my beautiful Nana, Marjory Williams who recently passed away. I know she will be running around in heaven bragging about me and how this was dedicated to her. 

A quick warning but this post gets pretty deep and spiritual and talks about the taboo topic of religion! The fact that I felt I needed to give a soft warning makes me realise how detached our western society has become from spirituality. 

Before I started this climb I met a Canadian mountaineering legend called Laurie Skreslet who was the first Canadian to climb Everest and ascended a new route up. I asked him what his advise was to successfully summit Acon (he has 22 summits to his name) and to my surprise he didn’t give me technical advise but he told me I must spiritually connect with the mountain and offer a gift and ask permission to summit. This really struck a chord with me as it is the same process in our Moari culture. I placed a $2 NZ coin under a rock at the beginning of the ascent from base camp as a Koha and said a short Karakea to the mountain asking permission for me to climb. Almost instantly I let go my bad feelings I had towards this mountain and a calming respect overwhelmed me.

People often ask me how did you make that hard decision to turn around last year so close to the summit, but if I am completely honest I did not make the decision. I felt two big hands touch my shoulders and slowly turn me around, the hands did not leave my shoulders until I safely reached the medic tent at camp 2. Now it does not matter if you are Christian, Buddhist, Hindi or whatever but that day I know that someone much more powerful than me literally had my back. When I am doing sea2summit7 I have never felt alone as I know someone is looking out for me which has been proven time and time again with the help I have received. 

The problem I face is continuing this level  and balance of spirituality I feel while adventuring with everyday life when I return back to normal routines. Last night I had an epiphany, that I am splitting myself into three people.1.  Dave- the energetic, optimistic adventure seeker who can be selfish and grumpy if he is not getting attention, 2. Sea2summit7- the focussed researcher who is motivated by the cause and has life planned perfectly, but gets lost in deep thought,3. Mr Williams- the teacher, who loves motivating others to get into the outdoors and push people to take the path less travelled but is very bad at prioritising. 

Somehow when I am doing these adventures the three personalities compliment each other and I feel whole, connected and content. But back home my three personalities are fighting each other and I can never seem to balance myself. There is something special about the mountains for me that just lets me actually be myself and happy with who I am. 

Sir Edmund Hillary once said it is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. I believe to really conquer life, is to be completely happy and content with who you are. I know that I have a lot to work on personally, but at least I now understand what it feels like to have spiritual balance. I do not really have any advice on how to achieve this balance other than try and spend more time doing whatever makes you feel most like yourself.

The purpose of this post is not to convert you to religion, but to express that as humans we naturally have a strong spiritual side and to ignore or suppress that is detrimental to your overall wellbeing or Hauora. 

Cheers 🙂 back to climbing stories next time haha. Tomorrow we shift our camp up the mountain and intend to summit on the 18th, so the next time you hear from me will be on the 19th to let you know if we made it or not! Until then.. Go and take the path less travelled!

Arohanui 

3 thoughts on “The spiritual side of climbing

  1. Good on you Dave, I know exactly what you are saying. When in the mountains I feel my most spiritual and closest to God. When I need to make very important decisions he is always there to help and guide me. I know he saved my life near the summit of Spantik in the Karakorum’s a few years ago. Keep close and you will stay safe. I pray for a successful summit for you guys on Monday. Cheers
    Mike C

  2. Hi Dave
    I feel so proud of you and your amazing achievements. I can just see mum and dad beaming. Great spirit, great person. Congrats! from Priscilla Lauten (was Head of House-Kahurangi at Rosehill college,
    years ago )

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