Trekking with a Diference

This was a weekend  trekking in the mountains with a difference in snow up to 5ft deep. My wife and I started off snow shoeing up to a high mountain chalet which is at the end of almost a mile long track that winds up the mountain.

But things got to be very soft and frankly exhausting. I suggested to Hélène that we go straight up, which would make the climb tougher but surprisingly less tiring.

We started climbing on open ground at about 35% to 40% before entering a woodland of small Sycamore maple trees. I already knew the route but it was a first time for Hélène so soon she was disoriented and not at all happy with what I had gotten her into.

I expected the next steep climb to be around 35% unfortunately it had turned into a wall of 45% plus.

What had happened was with the melt the snow was settling from higher up and had piled up against the woodland. We had to climb about another 70 yards to get to a level track to the chalet.

To turn around and go back was more dangerous than forging ahead. Hélène was mad but now digging into her reserves of mindpower and anyway we both rise to a challenge and she has learnt that when I take her to crazy challenges she always comes out covered in roses.

I took one snow shoe off and began digging a series of steps up. Hélène began to feel cold waiting for me to make a path so she found another route just as precarious but she  was able to traverse one way and then another without breaking an ankle.

She actually got to the top before I did. My excuse is that I am twice her weight plus a slipped disk and badly injured ankle in the same accident last August slowed down my usual performance.

Yes it is crazy and Hélène complained and swore “never again” so many times it was not worth counting.

But I knew what would happen next. With a little praise for each step she took forward and up and a little guidance how to overcome the really tough parts, when she got to the top Hélène realised she had not only raised her game but beaten the mountain and in appalling conditions.
Her often repeated  “never again” may have been valid but it turned into a long procession of telephone calls to her friends and family recounting her proud epic journey and discovery of another bit of who she really is also how fit she has kept herself. Oh yes I almost forgot, Hélène is 78 years young and still manages her own company training coaches and coaching HYPOs, CEOs and top corporative executives.
What do I do? I support without interfering and then let the mountain do the coaching
Robert Denton

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