Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘“As the river flows”

Coelho’s mountain climbing: None of the  guidelines were  followed (March 5, 2009)


            Pablo Coelho, in “As a river that flows”, attempts to offer guidelines before climbing a mountain.  First, select the mountain of your choice since you are the sole responsible and you have to be sure of what you are doing.  Second, learn how to face the mountain by trying all the possible routes to contour the mountain.  The mountain that looks pretty and interesting from afar is but a terrible challenge when starting to conquer it.  Third, do not hesitate to ask counsel of those who climbed your mountain of choice. Fourth, at close scrutiny dangers seem controllable. This is a fine hint that you need to watch every step while climbing.  Fifth, take advantage to view the changing scenery as you progress steadily. Sixth, respect the capabilities and limitations of your physical conditioning. If your intention is to be back by nightfall then the speed of your progress should be steady with allowance that the summit is always farther than expected. Seventh, have respect for your spirit.  You do not need to constantly repeat “I can do it” because your spirit already knows it; and never say “It is more difficult than contemplated” because you might lose your inner force. Eight, rejoice when at the summit.  Cry, holler, jump, dance, and tell the whole world that your achievement is now part of your life and a stepping stone toward many other successes. Nine, as you have realized your potential then plan other excursions and adventures. Ten, tell your adventure story and recount how it was possible to vanquish what seemed insurmountable.

            I started this article with Coelho’s guideline to investigate my attempts of mountain climbing of Sanine Mountain in Lebanon.  I climbed the mountain three times; the third time was a fiasco.  I reached the summit all right but we got lost on our way down.  I was judged to be too grumpy on this trip and was eliminated from the group the fourth time around on grounds of getting too old to keep up with the pace.  The group had a stupid pace anyway. The group wanted to reach the summit quickly and be home as soon as possible. They were goats without the patience to graze. They never took time to view the scenery. They never celebrated when reaching the summit; their only celebration was a sense of relief that I made it.

            Invariably, the group was up there for 20 minutes and watching painfully my turtle ascent. I was climbing the last 200 meters, at 30% incline, on my fours with nothing to get a handle on, and taking frequent rests to recover my breath and cool down the blood boiling in my lungs and thumping in my chest and temples. Invariably, a Syrian soldier camping on the summit would scramble down, in thongs, and give me a nudge up. Yes, we climbed in summertime but those tough Syrian soldiers were left on Sanine Mountain during winter wearing thongs and threadbare military outfit.

            As I reach the summit I take off all my cloths except my underwear and tan and dry my cloths.  The group is not agreeable with my unorthodox behavior of resting and relaxing completely up there.  The group wants to get going immediately since they waited enough for me and they pressure me to abridge my luxurious triumph. The group never followed Coelho’s guidelines; they used to inviting a guide friend to join us for straight quick access to the summit. 

            I can add more important guidelines to Coelho’s.  First, never have breakfast immediately before climbing. Invariably, several members of the group had to drop off after the first two hundred yards and return home defeated. The rest of us made it with terrible heart burns and acid aches.  Second, never carry a backpack if you are over 40 of age. Any weight pressing on your shoulders is too much weight: You need all the upper blood flow to your head and upper extremities.  Third, form a team of your own that is not in a hurry for the day and would love to factor in at least an hour of joy and relaxation at the summit. Fourth, eliminate members who need to be drinking water every 100 yards and keep borrowing water bottles because they hate to carry any.  Fifth, encourage members to piss frequently and to describe the scenery with minute details and learn the tunes they are whistling. Sixth, try to factor in an hour’s nap after your successfully unharmed return: the return home should be agreeable, restful, happy, and with promise for another challenge. Seventh, climbing down is always fraught with injuries: people gets careless, are tired, cannot bear recommendations, and want just to be down and over with.  People feel that the whole exercise of the adventure is to reach the summit but fails to learn the wisdoms of how to handle success and manage their euphoric zeal up to the last second.  The whole purpose is get home unharmed, joyful, and fully ready for another day.


Note: Wear rough pants, long sleeved rough shirt, a couple of undershirt, a light large hat, and “Eskimo goggle” (Goggle with thin long slits that permit to see natural colors without being incommodated by the bright sun or blowing winds).  Wearing shorts and climbing almost naked is not the right remedy to conserving energy and keeping a cool body for the arduous exercise.  Whatever water you may be carrying might not be enough for even a single minor incident; thus, lighten up to carry more water than usual.  The less you eat the better off you are; thus bring chocolate bars that won’t melt.




March 2023

Blog Stats

  • 1,518,741 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 764 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: