So here’s a positive story for you that shows that sometimes, age and self-doubt are no match for encouragement and determination. I had the pleasure of once again assisting Stewart Barclay from Adrift Tongariro on a guided walk up Mount Ruapehu. While Stew and the rest of the group powered their way up to crater lake, my ascent was a little more sedate.
Meet Jenny and her husband John. While they are both experienced trampers, prior to this, Jenny had little to no experience climbing in snow and ice. She’s also 69 years old. By her own admission, she didn’t want to do this climb, but she also didn’t want to not do it. And so, the seeds of self-doubt had been sown. On the drive up to the top of Bruce I noticed that Jenny was already talking herself out of doing the climb, and half an hour in she was telling John to go ahead without her and that she would wait at the cafe.
To cut a long story short, my job for the rest of the day was to give her the encouragement and support she needed to overcome her feelings of self-doubt. I could see that physically, she was capable, she just needed to put one foot in front of the other which she did with great determination, reaching the summit after four and a half hours (not a bad pace by the way).
Yes, on several occasions she did refer to me as a ‘miserable sh*t’ for not letting her give up and turn around, but all of that was forgiven on the way back down, which included a fairly steep 100m glissade down to the top of Delta Chair ski lift.
Back at Adrift HQ, Jenny and John thanked me and said that she wouldn’t have made it to the top without me. For me, helping people to overcome their fears and self-doubts is just one of the many benefits of being a guide here in Tongariro National Park.
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