An Attempt to Explain Climbing   3 comments

(This was originally posted in September 2006. The original audience was a group of guys who were planning on climbing and conquering Half Dome at Yosemite National Park.)

K2 is the second-highest peak in the world, standing at 28,250 ft. It is one of greatest challenges for climbers to traverse this rock known as “Savage Mountain.” This peak is tougher to climb than Mount Everest because the weather is harsher and more unpredictable. K2 just might be the toughest climb on the face of the earth. 23% of all climbers end up dead. Think about that! 1 out of 4 of the most experienced climbers in the world don’t make it back… at all. They’re probably stuck frozen alongside the mountaintop.

As we all train and get ready to climb our version of K2, I have been pondering the question: Why do men long to climb… things? Anything? Everything? Just something taller than the next guy? Maybe I’m asking this question because I don’t want to study Econ 11, or maybe this question can lead to the deepest truths of what makes men–men. Maybe, the answers at the end of this pondering session will draw us closer to God.

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depth of the earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:1-5)

So why did I choose this verse? What does this verse have to do with climbing mountains other than the fact that it has the word “mountain”? Nothing! It has nothing to do it with but the fact that it has the word. That’s why I picked it.

In just a few days, many of us are venturing out into the wilderness of Yosemite National Park to climb Half Dome. And I can see two reasons for why we’re doing this. One… because we are men, and this is a manly thing to do. We can’t spear an animal and slit its throat. We can’t go to USC and conquer their village. We can’t club women and say, “Me, Tarzan. You, Jane.” So we climb mountains. This brings me to my second reason. We climb because of girls. I’m not exactly sure how this is motivated by girls… but it is. All dumb things that guys do is because there is a girl somehow involved. Have you guys ever gone base-jumping? You will if a girl wants you to.

However, reasons don’t really matter. Whatever the reason is, the one constant is that we will be there and we will conquer Half Dome. It is not necessarily the accomplishment that gets me excited, but the journey. It’s not about about being on top of the world, but the final, struggling steps before we get there. It’s not about basking in the glory of our accomplishment, but about being humble and honest and vulnerable to one another as we talk along the way. Forget the two reasons I just mentioned. There is just one reason why we climb Half Dome: IT IS A WAY FOR US TO BOND AS ONLY MEN KNOW HOW TO DO. Everything that Peter mentioned in his list in the previous post is what makes this trip great. Climbing Half Dome is not an accomplishment. The real accomplishment are the breakthroughs that we get at in our conversations. It’s all about the singing and silly talks as we drive up to Fresno. It’s about the small talk at the dinner table as we’re almost swallowing Mrs. Kwock’s steaks. (They’re just too good to waste time chewing.) It’s about waking up early in the morning, sober and excited for the day ahead. It’s about the girl talk… and, judging by the quality of the group, lots of it. It’s about extolling the glories of God to one another as we’re awed by the beauty surrounding us. It’s about sharing the sin that we struggle with and the passion with which we pursue the Lord. It’s about all of that and more.

But then again, maybe it is about the girls. Because there will be girls that we explain the details of this trip to. Any maybe, just maybe, that’s really why we’re going. In the words of Peter Hahn: “Women! It’s all about the women.”

Afterword: Men, if you haven’t gone climbing or hunting or fishing with other men… go. Not only cuz it’s MANLY, but because that is a forum for men to share intimate fellowship with one another. Women have an easy time talking about heart issues with other women. God has just geared them that way. Men… not so much. We talk about girls, sports, girls, cars, girls. We have a hard time talking about our aspirations, our struggles and other issues deep in our hearts. Nature has a way of turning conversations deep and serious… and having a blast, as well.

John and I, as we celebrate our six packs. (It's getting there.)

This is David and Jonathan biblical love!

This is David and Jonathan biblical love!

Men go to nature to worship the God of that mountain... His name is Yhwh.

Men go to nature to worship the God of that mountain... His name is Yhwh.

Come on... water and a railing... you gotta do the Titanic.

Come on... water and a railing... you gotta do the Titanic.

Man v. Wild

Man v. Wild

We are standing in front of Mitchell Falls. (I dont know what it is originally called or if it even has a name, so I conquered it and named it as my own.)

We are standing in front of Mitchell Falls. (I don't know what it is originally called or if it even has a name, so I conquered it and named it as my own.)

This is known as the Dam-beh Squat (smokers squat) because this is the position Korean men take when they smoke. Women can call it the Kimchee squat.

This is known as the Dam-beh Squat (smoker's squat) because this is the position Korean men take when they smoke. Women can call it the Kimchee squat.

Sweet Lincolns mullet!

Sweet Lincoln's mullet!

Knights of Columbus!

Knights of Columbus!

Remember to stay hydrated.

Remember to stay hydrated.

A friend of mine stated that this picture belongs on the cover of Outdoorsman Magazine--I agree. Outdoorsman Magazine... the balls in your court.

A friend of mine stated that this picture belongs on the cover of "Outdoorsman Magazine"--I agree. Outdoorsman Magazine... the ball's in your court.

What a gangsta-lookin apt, yah?

What a gangsta-lookin' apt, yah?

We do some modeling on the side...

We do some modeling on the side...

Half Dome, I am your master!

Half Dome, I am your master!

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Posted August 21, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

3 responses to “An Attempt to Explain Climbing

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  1. dude, seeing these pictures brought back such good memories. Miss u bear. We gotta go to half dome again this year.

    Naan!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Yah, it seems like Half Dome doesn’t work for us now because all of us have busy summers. But every place grants Christmas vacation… so we gotta do some Lake Tahoe! I can’t wait!

  2. it’s all about the women…and testosterone we attain at the top

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