By Truc Allen
Northwest Asian Weekly
In my last article, I referenced Yuichiro Miura of Japan becoming the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest at 80 years old.
Just over a year later, on July 11th, 2014, American born Ahsima Shiraishi became not only the second female to rock climb at the pinnacle of graded difficulty, but also the youngest at age 13.
Coincidentally, the first woman to climb at the grade prior to Ashima was Tomoko Ogawa in 2012 of Japan.
Stories like these don’t make headlines very often. But when they do, they set new milestones for what we can do at just about any age, as well as narrowing the excuses we can make to avoid trying new things.
At 40 years young, I take accomplishments like that of Yuichiro and Ashima with a little aspiration and a bit of inspiration. I know at this point, climbing at the professional level is pretty unlikely; yet, it encourages me to not only try harder, but to never consider age as a limiter for trying something new.
Starting a new outdoor activity at any age can be challenging. I remember my first time climbing and anxiously looking at the rope that was attached to my harness and following it up the improbable expanse to the top of the cliff. I remember asking myself “What have I gotten myself into?”
The 21st century has made getting into a new outdoor activity so much more transparent. In 1991, I have no idea how my friends and I made it as far as we did without suffering any serious injuries. The web was pretty young to get any kind of information and we’d be lucky enough to know someone that knew someone that was related to someone who knew enough to give us some basic tips.
Technology today has brought thousands, if not millions of articles, blogs, and videos to reference. With that said, whether you’re planning on going at it alone, taking a class, or heading out on a trip with a certified guide, make sure your information is legitimate.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a locally owned, long-standing and trusted outdoor gear store in your town, they may be one of the best options available. Local shops usually mean local guys that know the areas best, what gear you need, as well as having leads to accredited guides or services to ensure you enjoy your experience.
A piece of advice I always like to give people when starting out is to take it slow. Don’t get into things too fast. That’s not only how accidents happen, but you can hurt yourself by overworking your body. I’d say one of my biggest faults, as it pertains to the outdoors , is that I get so excited about the physical rewards that I end up doing more than my body can handle.
This usually results in injuries that leave me “grounded” for a week or more.
I think the best thing about getting outside isn’t the fact that it’s good for you, or that people statistically live longer and happier, or any of that hippie-get-in-touch-with-nature stuff, it’s the fact that there are a 100+ ways to enjoy the outdoors and not everyone shares the exact some reasons as to why they do it. It’s as unique as the way each person sees the world. (end)
Truc Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.