Ask any woolly-headed mountaineer
What drives them, up here
And they say, with their rareified air
While looking down on you, ‘coz it’s there.’
A friend told me of ascending delights,
I told her of my morbid fear of heights,
She told me my fears should be overcome;
Time to step up, not succumb.
In front of my supposed peers
I could put behind me all my fears,
Now I see those fears as well founded
And I wish I’d stayed better grounded.
At crack ‘o dawn the nightmare began,
After four hours in a jam-packed van
I stepped out to see Mount Aspiring,
A sight that left me coldly perspiring.
Twelve keen climbers looked out on yon hill,
Of no concern to climbers of moderate skill,
But I gazed up at that peak with trepidation
And made it my business to find a comfort station.
Then they showed me the ropes, and the carabiner,
This lash-up did nothing to cheer my demeanour,
Jokes about being in this all together
Left me literally at the end of my tether.
Then we set off on the epic trek,
Five minutes left me a wheezing wreck,
Then when the misty schist turned to snow
I glanced longingly at the land, far below.
My friend, so sweet, so kind
Seemed sick of dragging my sorry behind,
She frowned down as I was looking up,
I think she regretted us hooking up.
From above we heard someone stumble.
Our sure-footed leader had taken a tumble
And as far as as this learner climber could tell
Our chance to reach our peak drastically fell.
Flashing past us our leader flew
Followed by his ashen number two,
Then numbers three to nine…
And so on, down the line.
My ascent had been a slow tedious climb
Still, my descent could be in record time,
And I raised my eyes in the fervent hope
I wasn’t at the end of my bloody rope.
We had one chance at life-
I saw her sawing with her knife;
Such heartfelt prayers are said
When life is hanging by a thread.
As the rope grew taut
I felt our time grow short
She sliced and diced madly but
Sadly, we never made the final cut.
We felt our hopes begin to slide
As the trusty rope stayed firmly tied,
Her old social climbers became a drag
Till their declining friendship hit a snag.
We rushed towards the deadly drop
Only to be crushed against a rocky outcrop,
The pain of the impact one would not believe,
But the agony of the wedgie I could not conceive.
We’d stretched our luck, I’m afraid,
For though the rope was thin and frayed
We watched our future possibilities unravel
Both knowing we were highly sick of travel.
Came a sound, like a rifle shot
And we were free of that clinging lot,
Climbing down, a mutual passion was found,
Safely down, we fell together, kissed the ground.
So read and heed the morale. gentle reader,
Don’t fall in the footsteps of your leader,
And don’t get roped in with your friends.
Here their sad sob story stickily ends.