Do you look for the easy way? Most British Mountains have steep bits, gentler bits and bits that are something in between. Some might be pretty gentle all over, some might do the opposite and have some “seriously don’t-fall-off-here” bits with extreme risk. All mountains have a summit. That is, after all, how they are defined.
Splendid, so that’s squidged all the magnificence, variety, playfulness and challenge of our British mountains into a few short sentences.
The interesting question is what kind of route you look for:
If you have the skills and want a bit of excitement, you might seek out one of those steeper bits, understand the risks, be well equipped to enjoy handling them and shin straight up.
If you don’t have those skills or you find that kind of steep terrain somewhat terrifying, you might also be tempted to dismiss the entire mountain as unobtainable. After all, you’ve seen what other people have to do to get up there, and it looks impossible and dangerous.
Come to think of it, even if you could stroll up, you might dismiss the mountain because you think, “it rains lots and walking in the rain means getting wet and that stinks”. In short, getting up the mountain looks sufficiently unpleasant, scary, unsafe and just plain hard that you have no motivation even for a single step.
Now swap the mountain for something you want but are not currently pursuing. Maybe for years you have promised yourself you’d change job, address your stress level, go self employed, get fit, find a soulmate…Have you ever wanted something, looked at what other people go through to get it and reluctantly, or fearfully, dismissed your entire mountain?
Hang around a little longer, lets look at the mountain more carefully. Some people like going up the vertical bits, fine. But there are also gentler ways. If you assume that there might be an easier way for you and you actively go and look for it, you are very likely to find it. If you’re willing to search, if you’re prepared to zig and zag a bit rather than take a direct line and if you patiently persist with taking little steps, you can get to the top in a way that suits you. Your only responsibility is to look out for the way that feels easy for you.
So whether you’re choosing your next mountain walk, or looking at something that feels challenging:
What’s the easiest way that works for you?
P.S Yes, there are also easy ways that you can look for the easy way…!