The Human Instinct to Summit

Your heart is pounding 160x against your chest wall per minute, the lungs are grasping for oxygen in the thin air. It’s not particularly painful but the uphill battle has made you weak … even the trained minds & bodies will feel a little spacey.

Yet as soon as the mountain peak moves into the light of dawn, the aforementioned pain and the worries of everyday life seem to move further away; mountain magic mate.

Even during depressing times, summiting a mountain induces a profound feeling of euphoria. Reaching the top means, everyone and everything is below you – it’s absolute. I’m sure, not only megalomaniacs can relate.

Wanting More

But you see, us humans adapt easily. 1000m elevation gain, a squished sandwich and flat pint won’t cut it weekend after weekend.

2000m in elevation…3000m; it’s always a matter of walking the thin line between challenging yourself and being fucked.


11 climbers died trying to summit Mount Everest last year (ABCNews). So why does a dentist with a beautiful wife and kids, a golden retriever and house designed with every intricacy in mind, take this 1,2% gamble with death ?

I am certain these climbers possess the emotional maturity, not to be motivated by humble bragging rights at a party (assuming they survive). So is it a: A prolonged mid-life crisis? Strava KOMs? Or the feeling of accomplishment knowing you pushed yourself to the brink of exhaustion?

I won’t know until I try myself


The allure to summit can be embraced on a daily basis without 6-months prep and 40,00$ worth of equipment. It is well within reach (unless you live in the Netherlands).

I don’t believe a stroll up the local hill can provide the same magic as a 10h hike, but surely the sunset will be better than between 4 concrete walls.


Cheers 🙂

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