Summary: Life is filled with mountains that just need to be climbed both literally and spiritually. Why? Because they are there! Why? Because they are in your path and the only way around them is over them. So the wiser we become at scaling spiritual mountains the

Mountain Climbing 101 - “Success in life is a long hard climb!”

Thesis: Life is filled with mountains that just need to be climbed both literally and spiritually. Why? Because they are there! Why? Because they are in your path and the only way around them is over them. So the wiser we become at scaling spiritual mountains the easier these mountains will be to climb and get over.


When I first moved to Minnesota in 1979 I hitched up with two neighbor guys that were into Mountain climbing here at Taylor’s Falls. We would just about every weekend come up here from Anoka and climb the cliffs through out the St. Croix Valley. We climbed the Old Man of the Dells and other rock formations. I always sensed a great feeling of exhilaration whenever I made a successful climb. I remember my first climb. I got hitched up to a harness that I wore, I had my helmet on, my climbing shoes on, and I off course hitched myself to a safety rope were at the other end I had a person who kept me from falling to far if I slipped. I was pretty nervous about the climb because of the fear of falling. I fell many times on my fist climb. But I was always caught by the safety rope. After a while falling did no bother me anymore because I knew that I was safe.

We became so confident in that safety rope that we use to plan falls whenever the tour boat would go by. We would actually plan on falling 10-12 feet to scare the people on the boat. We would embellish the fall and the boat people would scream and of course we were always caught by the safety rope. We thought it was awesome to hear the screams of the women on the boat and all the “Oh my Lord’s”. We would have people scream and say “He’s slipping, Harold do something!” Like Harold could even do anything about it! But we always heard the “Ahs” It was great to scare the tourists and we where proud to hear the “Ahs.” We would joke after wards and say so how many people did you “awe” today.

Those days were always filled with adventure and excitement. It was great to be young and to be able to climb those cliffs all those weekends. I am sure today it would be harder for me to climb since I am so out of shape and old. But back then I learn that I could do some things I would have otherwise thought impossible. I learned to make moves hanging on the side of the cliffs that I really in the previous year never thought I could do. I learned how to climb and how to hang on with just with my fingers and the tips of my feet. It was always an adrenaline rush to make those impossible moves and climb to the top successfully without falling.

Rock climbing was hard work, I recall times when I would start to shake because my body was so exhausted from hanging on to the cliff. But the more climbed the easier it became. The more I climbed the stronger I became. The more I climbed the more in shape I got and the easier the climbs became.

When I first started climbing I had to learn what type of gear I needed before I even began the climb. I needed a safety helmet, I needed a harness, I needed a safety rope, I needed a climbing buddy, I needed climbing shoes and climbing gloves. Once I acquired all these necessary tools I was then able to get ready for the first climb. Climbing did cost but I was willing to pay the price to experience the thrill of the climb.

So I acquired some gear but I still did not know how to climb. So I had to learn from my two experienced buddies the basics of climbing. Once they gave me a ½ hour crash course on climbing they then said, “Now get up the side of that cliff Mike!” So I reached up and latched onto the side of the cliff and started my ascent to the top. They did, however, direct me from below or above on were to place my fingers, my feet and were to reach out to the next ledge or hold so that I could progress up the side of the cliff. All the time they were telling me, “Don’t worry about falling we got you!” They even at one point told me to let go so that I understood that I was completely safe, even though my mind was telling me otherwise.

So I began my exhilarating experience and immediately became hooked on it. I can honestly say for the next couple of summers I lived to climb. It was always a great time there was always another harder and more difficult climb to tackle next. And you know what I always wanted to go to the next level to do a harder climb. As a matter of fact I do not recall anyone saying in my group, “That’s it! I climbed the Old Man and I never want to do that again!” No! We always wanted to do it again and again and even try something harder and more difficult. It was exciting to get up and over that edge at the top of the climb! You would reach the top stand up and look at the river below raise your hands and say, “I did it!” Sometimes we would even be applauded from the people below. So you always felt like you were on top of the world and in a sense you were because you had a successful climb and you had beaten the cliff.

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