When I was climbing mountains, I’d regularly sign up for a guided climbing trips, sometimes with a friend and sometimes by myself. It was a great way to travel and also get to climb a mountain or two. Typically we’d all converge in a meeting place and do the initial meet and greet and then go from there.
The groups of people that would come together were always interesting. I’m thinking about a particular climb of two volcanoes in Mexico. We all flew to Mexico City where we met our guides and fellow climbers before riding in a van to the base of Mt. Ixtacchuatl for our first climb.
The group was mostly Americans but otherwise there wasn’t an easily defined demographic, not gender, education level, personality type other than love of mountains. On this particular trip, there were very outgoing people like my friend Jill and man named Trent who loved to talk and help anyone with anything. Most of the group was like Paul from Greenfield, NY who was really nice to talk to but more reserved about initiating conversations. There was our guide, Phil, who liked to just spit out wisdom or quips in one line but not talk endlessly (e.g. “Watch out Jill, that guy has more moves than an earthquake.”)
As we went around doing introductions, one man named John stated very clearly, “I don’t like people. I’m just here to climb the mountains.” Which was fine because that’s what we were there to do.
We summitted the first mountain, Mt Ixtacchuatl (17,338 feet) on October 31 and then headed down to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Puebla. After a day of rest, we started up our second mountain, Mt. Orizaba (18,491 feet).
After being dropped by trucks on the mountain, we spent the evening in a hut. At this point, we’d been together as a group for about 5 days and we were having a great time and working together pretty well as a team. The guy that didn’t like people was a very good climber and mostly stayed to himself, grabbing his share of dinner and finding a quiet place to eat it.
Around midnight, we got up from the few hours of rest we’d gotten and started preparing for our summit attempt in the dark using the light of our headlamps. We climbed steadily in the dark for about 6 hours until we reached an exposed couloir. We paused as the guides tried to get some ice screws deep enough into the fractious ice to secure our trip across the steep gully. Eventually we realized that the conditions wouldn’t allow us to cross safely over that part of the mountain and our summit bid had ended.
As we sat on the mountain watching the sun come up in no hurry to get anywhere, John, the climber who didn’t like people, pulled off his boot and found a Payday bar. He’d put the candy bar in his boot while preparing in the dark and then forgotten to take out. After being climbed on for 6 hours, it was shaped like an orthodic. He pulled it out, showed it around and we all had a good laugh alongside him as we imagined the journey of that candy bar. Even John enjoyed for that moment being part of a group that understood the crazy things that happen on a climb.
That particular event created an idea of community for me. One where we don’t have to all be best friends or come out of our comfort zones but can still enjoy the camaraderie of a shared experience focused on a common interest.
This makes me wonder about the Pointless Overthinking community. Can a blog be a community? What are common interests for this community – is it an interest in pondering deeply about life? Or in writing about subjects that are more contemplative? Could it be an interest in philosophy, psychology, history or spirituality?
Perhaps it’s simply an interest in blogging. In the activity of regularly having a platform in which we get to write about and read about life.
One of the most challenging aspects for me when I started blogging was the comments – figuring out where and when that I had something to add to a post or piece of writing. But it has also been the most rewarding as I’ve gotten to know people. Like with the climbing groups, the level of engagement is optional.
As I type this, I hope that you, my Pointless Overthinking community, feel some sense of what we are doing here together – pondering life to find some kernels of meaning, perhaps. And because it’s a shared journey, I find it rewarding to know your thoughts. Let me know what you think this community is about!
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(featured photo from Pexels)