Day 216 – packing up

I haven’t had to pack bags since India but once again I find myself rolling and stuffing clothes into the crevices of my backpack. This time there is no plane to catch, I know exactly when I am coming back and the only weight limit is how much I can carry. Tomorrow I drive down to Jindabyne to go mountaineering at Mt Kozciosko. I have thermals, fleece, outer shell, Goretex, mittens, gloves and countless other snow-ready pieces for camping in sub-zero climates. I signed up foor this mountaineering course with full excitement, but now I pack with more than a little trepidation. I really feel  the cold. I mean, my fingers never seem to warm up. I am about to spend a week sleeping outside, in the snow, trekking and climbing, getting consistently colder and wetter. Why did I pay for this again? But I remember feeling that way in India, at Bhojbasa, struggling to sleep in a corrugated tin shed underneath a pile of blankets, unable to feel my toes, irrationally afraid of hypothermia and frostbite. I remember asking myself why the hell I was there. Then, the next morning, the snow had stopped and as the sun rose above the bright white mountain peaks, we walked the final four kilometres to the glacier and met with god. The sight was breathtaking and the cold melted away with the bright sunshine. Any discomfort from the night before, any lack of sleep became completely irrelevant as I touched the ice wall where the holy river Ganga was born. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. There is no other way to experience greatness than to step out of the bubble of your life and enter the unknown, to face the fears and the cold and the exhaustion and just do it anyway. I zip up my brand new gaiters into my backpack and sett it on my back. In one week I know I will return a different person. In my experience, you don’t climb a mountain without returning the other side with a whole new perspective. This will be my last post for a week. I am going to climb Mt Kozciosko.

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