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Faces of a Mountaineer, the Natural Progression

 By Jim Gile

A climber looks at 50:

In your 20's you're all about youthful power and exuberance with little technique and minimal mental fortitude.

In your 30's your power levels off but you make up for it with better technique while each new adventure contributes to your mental fortitude.

In your 40's your power decreases as your endurance increases, you hone your technique and forge your mental toughness.

As you approach your 50's, your body starts to feel the effects of a lifetime of use and abuse pursuing your passion for the mountains. Everything starts to hurt, you can't train as hard or often as you used to, you stretch more and sweat less.

You stop more often to enjoy the surroundings, take in how lucky you are to be in these wonderful places, you take more pictures and pay less attention to how far, how high, or how fast you do things. You enjoy each outing a little more, knowing that your last big adventure may be just around the corner. You laugh, wince, and smile a little deeper knowing you wouldn't have it any other way.


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