the unending climb

Jarid Altmark
2 min readSep 2, 2021

A message to mountain climbers old and new:

The way you confront fear and survive is a gift, not to be misused. The path up a daunting steep cliff is blinded by the winding jagged turns you can half-see blurred in the distance. You understand the direction you must step towards, but the path is meant to be unpredictable.

Before your journey up to the mountaintop, it starts with downhill depth where you must first stumble low. This place is for everyone and the walk down will always feel easier than your climb cloud-ward. This place is dedicated to grounding yourself, emotions and body, to surrender to the ever-flowing rapid current that moves with or without you. Beware of the current’s influence, it’s meant to distract your awareness in it’s ice-cold embrace. You can choose to float, navigating the rapids and catching your breath slipping between boulders as the current flips you along the predictable plateau. When you are ready to embrace uncertainty, your climb begins.

The top is your goal, but getting there is a nearly impossible challenge without tools and preparation. Never apologize for your pace, rest is required. Along the way, the steep clay hillside will unbalance your progress. Slipping down the cliff isn’t an option, you’ve come too far to stay stagnant in fear. You can choose to look down, as the height induced heaviness fills your deep shaky breaths. I recommend keeping your head up, fear of accomplishment can be more motivating.

You may or may not be alone on this climb. You must work with your conscious and self-talk to support your physical-self with each step upward. If you have company, never forget to look down and warn them of the path before them. You can not always expect help and handrails, but you better be grateful when they are there to assist you. Take all the assistance you can get. Make the path less frightening by accepting what is out of your control and taking advantage of what you can control. Remain gracious for the things that help lift yourself higher.

The climb is not a team sport, it is a physically and mentally demanding individual journey that requires commitment, perseverance and self-awareness to keep pushing upward. I am proud of the progress you’ve made, whether you’ve chosen to start your climb, have gotten to the top or continue to float down the rapids reflecting about the choice to climb and your misused potential. Float for as long as you need, but heed my advice before your climb. The joy at the mountaintop will bring you enlightening self-actualization and an unmatched feeling of accomplishment. One never truly makes it to the top, keep climbing. Your mountain-high potential awaits you.

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Jarid Altmark

Artist, Writer, 4x Food Network Competitor, Professional Cake Artist and Practical Overthinker.