I’ve seen this quote a very long time ago on a sticker on the bumper of a car. I made myself one as well and glued it to my mountain bike. It stuck with me for all these years. When in doubt, go higher. It’s true both in climbing and mountaineering as it is in life. Whenever you don’t know what to do, you must strive to get a broader vision of what’s going on around you.
When you’re lost into the woods, climbing a higher tree above the canopy of the forest will give you a sense of direction, a clue of where you are and where you should be heading. It’s the same in the mountains, while hiking or rock climbing and it’s the right thing to do when you’re stuck in a unhappy situation in life.
Take a step back, get a better vantage point and look for another way out. It’s never a bad idea to try a different approach, go around obstacles or simply change the whole route. There are no black and white answers, no right or wrong ways to do things and no certainty.
Just go and do what you have to do. And when in doubt, go higher.
I shot these pictures about three weeks ago while on a guided tour on Moldoveanu peak, the highest point in Romania, at 2544 meters above the sea level. The weather was perfect and the sights reminded me of that quote. When in doubt, go higher.
I noticed that most people who choose to come with us into the mountains, come to get a different perspective in life, to show themselves that they can do it, to take a break from the humdrum of their day to day life and try something different, something that gives them a better angle on whatever is going on with their lives. Some are conscious about this, some do it unconsciously.
I do it all the time. With every moment I get to spend in the mountains, I realize how tiny and fragile I am, how immense and amazing this world is and how there’s no perfect or easy path to where you want to go in life. The mountains always teach me these things.
If only I would listen to them more often.