Why Go Mountain Climbing: 25 Things To Do At The Summit

Some people climb for the challenge. Others enjoy conquering summit after summit. Some like the adrenaline rush. Others just find it an enjoyable form of exercise. Ask a hundred climbers and you will likely get 300 answers.

Why go mountain climbing?

For me, there’s something magical about reaching the peak. Unlike many things in life, there’s no gray area, no shifting of goal posts. After sloughing away for hours (or days or even weeks), you would have reached your goal. It is an accomplishment, an achievement that cannot be denied.

So what’s next after reaching the summit? Most of my climbs involved sitting in the cold, waiting for the sunrise, taking a million pictures of the sunrise, taking an obligatory picture with the marker indicating the elevation, and then squeezing with the crowds to rush back to camp.

So for my next climb, I’ve decided to snap out of the routine and create some unique memories.

New to mountain climbing? Check out these helpful guides:

How To Start Mountain Climbing Today: 10 Simple Steps
– When Do You Need To Take Mountain Climbing Courses?
– What Are The Dangers Of Mountain Climbing: 15 Potential Hazards
What Is The Difference Between Mountaineering And Alpine Climbing?

Here’s a list of 25 things you can consider doing to make your next summit all the more magical:

To Create Awesome Memories:

1. Record A Time-lapsed Video

2. Take A Themed Photoshoot

3. Think Of 25 Things You Are Grateful For

To Let Go:

4. Meditate (Or Just Take A Few Mindful Breaths)

5. Forgive Someone You Have Been Holding A Grudge Against

6. Forgive Yourself

To Connect:

7. Make A New Friend

8. Reconnect With Someone

9. Thank The People Around You

10. Propose To The Love Of Your Life

11. Write A Note To A Loved One

12. Tell Someone A Secret

To Become A Better You:

13. Make A Wish

14. Make A Wish For Someone Else

15. Make A Commitment To Yourself

16. Set A New Goal For Yourself

17. Remember How You Got There

18. Conquer Your Fear(S)

19. Learn Something

20. Commit To Giving Back

21. Write A Note To Yourself

To Reward Yourself:

22. Give Yourself A Huge Pet On The Back

23. Plan Your Post Climb Indulgence

24. Plan Your Next Adventure

25. Enjoy The View

1. Record A Time-lapsed Video

Personally, my amateur photos never seem to do justice to a magnificent sunrise.

I like to capture the moment through a time-lapsed video instead.

All you need is your phone and a good place to rest your phone (you can hold if you want but your arms are going to get sore).

For iPhones (iOS 8 and later):

  • Open your camera app
  • Go into time-lapse mode (swipe right until you get to the first function on the left)
  • Hit the red button to start recording
  • When you are done, hit the red button again to stop recording

For Android phones (only for newer models):

  • Open your camera app
  • Go into time-lapse mode
  • Hit the record button to start recording
  • When you are done, hit the stop button to stop recording

If your phone doesn’t come with an inbuilt time-lapse feature, there are many free and paid apps that you can use.

Do note that time-lapse video requires quite a bit of space on your phone, and might drain your battery quickly.

2. Take A Themed Photoshoot

I was once busy snapping pictures of orchids in a garden when my brother commented, “why don’t you just google pictures of the flowers?”

That was obviously not the point. But it got me thinking. How should I take my pictures so that they don’t look like I could have gotten them off Google?

So to make your pictures of the sunrise or with the summit marker more interesting, why not plan for a themed photoshoot instead?

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or required lots of bulky props. The props can be as simple as:

  • Pieces of paper for each climber to write down some information about themselves such as:
    • Hometown or countries (if you have a diverse group, it will be awesome if everyone can bring along a small country flag)
    • Random fun facts about themselves
    • Random fun facts about each other
    • Favorite or inspirational quotes
  • Childhood photos
  • Small sentimental items
Get some inspirations from these 40 Mountain Photography Ideas: Gorgeous Photos For Your Next Climb.

3. Think Of 25 Things You Are Grateful For

It’s common to focus on all the negatives in our lives and take the positives for granted.

So challenge yourself to think of at least 25 things to be grateful for.

4. Meditate (Or Just Take A Few Mindful Breaths)

Taking 3 mindful breaths — that’s all it takes to get started on meditation.

Just take a moment to clear your mind, stop thinking about anything, and focus on taking 3 deep breaths.

If you enjoy the calm and stillness that brings you, feel free to continue as long as you like.

If not, just let it go. Do what feels right for you.

5. Forgive Someone You Have Been Holding A Grudge Against

Forgiving someone isn’t about letting that person off the hook. It is about letting yourself off the hook. Why carry all that resentment and anger around?

You might never want to say this to their faces, but feel free to tell this to the mountain:

  • “I forgive you, [INSERT NAME], for [INSERT WHAT THEY DID]. I am not spending any more time and energy on this.”

6. Forgive Yourself

There are tonnes of negativities that we are all hanging onto at any moment. Take this opportunity to let go of bad memories that serve no purpose. Forgive yourself for any mistakes that you may have made in the past.

If there is something you can do to improve the situation, commit to taking the action.

If there’s nothing you can do, there’s no point torturing yourself with the memories or beating yourself up.

Here are some examples of what you can tell yourself:

  • “I forgive myself for losing my temper at my parents/ kids/ friends. I will call them to apologize once I get back to camp.”
  • “I am letting this memory of messing up at work go. I am not letting you hurt me anymore.”
  • “I forgive myself for losing my phone. It has taught me to be more careful and I can let it go now.”

7. Make A New Friend

It’s easy to make a new connection when you all already have a shared interest in mountain climbing.

If you have an intense fear of making small talk (like me), here are some talking points:

  • Is this the tallest/ coldest/ most challenging mountain you have climbed? If not, what is?
  • What’s your favorite mountain you’ve climbed so far?
  • Are you planning to climb another mountain this year?
  • Have you ever climbed [INSERT A MOUNTAIN YOU WISH TO CLIMB]?

If you find yourself talking to a more experienced climber than you, ask them to share their knowledge! People love to share what they know

If you find yourself talking to someone with less experience, see if you can share a tip or two with them!

You certainly do not have to just talk about mountains and climbing. But it’s a great icebreaker!

8. Reconnect With Someone

Even if you are climbing with a group of old friends, there’s probably someone that you haven’t spoken to in some time, or someone you are not particularly close with.

Take this chance to reconnect.

I always find it awkward to talk to someone that I have known for some time, and yet don’t really know all that well.

One useful strategy I have is to simply talk to them about them. Something you saw on their social media recently, something you overheard them telling another friend or some random memory that came to mind. People love talking about themselves, you can’t go wrong here!

You could just end up with a new BFF!

And if you are climbing with a group of acquaintances, perhaps there’s someone you only spoke to briefly in a few occasions? Or someone interesting that you would like to get to know better? Or someone who impressed you with something they did or said?

This is the chance to reach out!

9. Thank The People Around You

I am guilty of often taking my guides, porters and fellow climbers for granted.

So take some time to show your appreciation:

  • Thank your guide for bringing you up the mountain safely
  • Thank your guide for importing any knowledge or skills
  • Thank your porters for literally taking the weight off your shoulders (they are one underappreciated lot!)
  • Thank your fellow climbers for encouraging you when you were about to give up
  • Thank your fellow climbers for looking out for you
  • Thank your fellow climbers for their companionship
  • Thank your fellow climbers for putting up with your idiosyncrasies

10. Propose To The Love Of Your Life

If you are fortunate enough to have someone you love to share the passion for climbing with you, it’s time to put a ring on it!

Sure, you guys might be exhausted, and not looking the most glamorous. But isn’t there a better way to commit to someone for better (reaching the summit!) or for worse (looking like crap)?

Quick tips to prepare for this:

  • Write down what you want to say
    • You are going to be exhausted and nervous — your mind is probably going to become blank. So just write the words down!
  • Recruit your fellow climbers for help
    • They can help to keep people away or find a nice quiet spot for your grand gesture
  • Keep the ring somewhere handy
    • Check (at least) 3 times that it’s really with you before starting on the summit climb
  • Time it with the sunrise
    • You can say something romantic/ cheesy like, “I want to spend the rest of my sunrises with you.”
  • Be careful not to drop the ring(!)

11. Write A Note To A Loved One

I have to admit it has been years as I wrote a proper letter to someone. Well-wishes nowadays often take the form of a quick text or a cute GIF.

And though I am too lazy to write them, receiving an unexpected written letter certainly brings me a ton of joy.

So spread some love. You don’t have to write an essay. Just writing a short note on the back of a postcard will do.

You can write:

  • A note to your parents/ siblings/ kids
  • A surprise love letter to your partner
  • A note to someone whose birthday is coming up
  • A thank you note to someone you have never properly thanked

12. Tell Someone A Secret

According to PostSecret, “secrets are the currency of intimacy”.

After conquering the summit, why not conquer your own fears and allow yourself to be vulnerable?

13. Make A Wish

I would like to think that at the top of a mountain, we are a lot closer to whoever or whatever we hope can hear us.

So make a wish.

To tap into the power of visualization and affirmation, do this:

  • Close your eyes and see your wish coming true.
  • Feel the joy you have and believe that your wish has already come true.
  • Tell yourself:
    • “I wish for [INSERT YOUR WISH].”
    • “I will [HAVE YOUR WISH COME TRUE].”
    • “Thank you for granting me [INSERT YOUR WISH]”

Even if you don’t believe in the power of visualization and affirmation (I’m still on the fence about this), I find the process very helpful in clarifying what I want to myself. Being able to imagine your wish coming true and feeling it come true requires you to know exactly what you really want.

For example, I might find myself wishing for a million dollars. And when I’m visualizing that dream coming true, I find myself looking at a beautiful mansion overlooking the ocean. It turns out my wish is for a gorgeous home instead of a million dollars.

The clearer you can see your dreams and wishes, the more inspired you will be to work for it, and the more likely it will eventually come true.

14. Make A Wish For Someone Else

Wishing someone else well actually has its own surprisingly benefit. You’ll often feel much better yourself too.

If you have family or friends who are hoping to get that proposal/ big job offer/ children, make a wish on their behalf.

If not, think of a few people close to you and make general well-wishes for their good health and happiness.

While you are at it, make a wish for someone you are not particularly fond of. Wish that something good can happen in their lives so that they can be less mean/ gossipy/ inconsiderate etc.

Try it out!

15. Make A Commitment To Yourself

What is something you have been meaning to do for a long time but have yet to accomplish?

Perhaps a new year resolution that you have failed at year after year? A bad habit you can’t quit? A good habit you can’t seem to stick to? A project that stayed unfinished for years?

The best way to do this is to write down your commitment and the date on a paper and snap a picture of yourself with it.

Save that photo as your phone and computer wallpaper. Paste it up on a wall. Commit!

16. Set A New Goal For Yourself

Standing at the summit, you know that nothing can stop you when you put your mind to it.

So set a new goal for yourself — the next summit to climb, the next milestone to reach in your life etc.

17. Remember How You Got There

Take some time to remember the bumps along the way. The aches in your body, any disagreement you had with someone, the moments where you were very close to giving up…

And despite them all, you made it.

Remember these the next time you run into bumps in your everyday life. No matter what the problems are, big or small, know that you will get there as long as you keep going.

18. Conquer Your Fear(s)

Do you have a fear that’s holding you back? Will your life be better if you can overcome this fear?

If there someone around you whom you are comfortable with, tell them about your fear. Tell them why you would like to conquer this fear, and ask for their advice.

An example of how this might go:

“This might seem a little random but I have this intense fear of public speaking. And I know I cannot progress in my career if this fear keeps holding me back. I can’t lead a team if I’m afraid of speaking in front of them. Do you have any advice for me?”

Alternatively, you can talk through this with yourself:

“I have a fear of public speaking and this is going to affect my work and career. To get over this fear, I will sign up for a public speaking course.”

Sometimes, it helps to hear the advice from someone else. But often, we already know what we have to do.

So promise yourself that you will take the next step to conquer your fear(s).

19. Learn Something

There’s no better way to learn about mountain climbing than being out there in the mountains. Hopefully, you had opportunities to pick up some skills or knowledge along the way. If not, take the time now to do it.

There are no silly questions. A smart climber never stops learning. Ask about things that are hard to learn from videos or books or the internet and things you can only pick up from experience.

Ask people how they go about picking the right gear and equipment, ask them how they train, ask them about the climbing schools or books they recommend.  

If there’s something you wish to know, don’t be afraid to just ask.

20. Commit To Giving Back

Not everyone is going to have the opportunity and privilege to be standing right where you are.

If you have a cause you believe in, make plans to donate a bit of your money or time.

If not, giving back can also be as simple as helping out more around the house, or giving support or advice to the people who always have your back.

And no matter how insignificant you think it might be, just remember that doing something is always better than nothing.

21. Write A Note To Yourself

There are usually too many distractions in our daily lives that take us away from having a quiet moment for some introspection and reflection.

Make use of this downtime to write down a journal entry, some good memories or any ideas that came to you during your climb.

22. Give Yourself A Huge Pet On The Back

We often don’t take the time to celebrate our achievements.

You have trained hard for this moment, you have endured the hours (or days or weeks) or semi-torture to get up here.

Celebrate the win!

23. Plan Your Post-Climb Indulgence

You have been training for months for this. And you finally made it up the summit.  

Now it’s time to give yourself a treat.

Here are some indulgence ideas:

  • Book a spa or massage to soothe the aching muscles
  • Binge watch your favorite shows
  • Pig out on junk food
  • Sleep the day away

Swap ideas with your fellow climbers and see who has the best idea!

24. Plan Your Next Adventure

What’s next on your bucket list? Another higher peak to conquer? Another country to visit? Another adrenaline rushing sport to pick up?

Don’t let life get in the way. Start planning for it right now.

What to do:

  • Decide on the actual date for your next adventure
  • Decide on who you want to go with (maybe it’s the awesome group of people already with you now?)
  • Commit to training/ saving up for it!
For some of the highest climbs around the world, check out:

56 Highest Mountains To Climb in the US for Beginners
– 56 Highest Mountains To Climb in Europe for Beginners
– 74 Highest Mountains To Climb in Asia for Beginners
– 27 Highest Mountains To Climb in North America for Beginners
– 20 Highest Mountains To Climb in South America for Beginners
– 18 Highest Mountains To Climb in Africa for Beginners

25. Enjoy The View

You worked your butt off to get here. Enjoy the view!

Hope this list inspires you! See you at the top!

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