Vivid Views is my series of articles, blog posts and press releases show-casing my work as an author and reflecting my many years in business and self-employment. They are a blend of my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories.
My hope is that in them you find enlightenment and inspiration. 'The Peak Of Achievement' is the 15th in the series.
It was cold, brisk and windless as I set off in the early morning mist from my base at the foot of the mountain towards my chosen climb to the summit. I knew to expect far less benign conditions further on but I was well eqipped with ice axes, crampons and full Arctic survival gear. I'd need them. Conditions on the summit could be subarctic and the climb particularly dangerous after heavy snow or during thaw conditions. Sure enough, the weather soon closed in. Long before I crested the ridge at the top of the gully, a full blizzard was blowing. I made it to the mountain top and snuggled down behind the boulders to hungrily devour my energy bars and hot soup. Then it was time to get off the mountain. I had no intention of snow-holing overnight in those conditions.
I headed down towards the lower summit and its cairn which was the marker I needed to hit en route to a safe descent. In the nil visibility of the storm, precise navigation was necessary to reach it as the direct line took me close to the top of the six hundred foot cliffs and ice overhangs on my left. But, after half an hour of struggling through the thigh high snow, there was no sign of the cairn.
I knew that I had missed it, either to the left or to the right. There was only one safe choice. I made a ninety degree turn to my right. This because, if I had missed the marker to the right, then I was not in danger of going over the cliff edge. By turning right I would be walking further from the danger. But, had I missed the marker to the left, then I was perilously close to the cliffs, perhaps already on an ice overhang and in deadly danger. So I made my right turn and slogged on. In just fifteen minutes the marker appeared. I had missed it to the left and had therefore been absolutely on the cliff edge! I probably escaped tragedy that day by just yards, maybe only inches.
Two hours later I emerged below the snow line … into brilliant, late afternoon sunshine! It was as if the heavens were welcoming me back, assuring me that I'd not only survived but that I'd passed the test set me. It was, of course, a challenge I had willingly taken on. One which had stretched me to the limit and rewarded me handsomely because of that. The sense of self-reliance and achievement was immense.
I'd never insist that you do as I did - but boy it's exhilarating! I do suggest however that you tackle life as an adventure. Push yourself to do more, be better. Nothing was ever achieved through being timid, through avoiding risk. Life, real life, is not for the faint hearted.
Strike out for your summit in life. Your own peak of achievement is within you and waiting to be conquered.
I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.
My latest novel is 'Too Early For A Glass Of Wine?' Claim your copy by clicking on the image below.
THE PEAK OF ACHIEVEMENT is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
I hope you enjoyed this Vivid View and found it to be of value.
To learn more please visit me on my Author Page.
See you there! Regards, Tom.