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“It Gets Easier The Higher You Climb” October 19, 2009

Posted by tmorty in Uncategorized.

I couldn’t get to sleep right away, so I thought I’d share a story.  Several years ago, my friend Phil invited me to go rock climbing with him.  I had never been before, but had always wanted to go. We drove out to Parley’s Canyon and just stopped off  somewhere on the side of the road.  There are plenty of good spots to climb in that canyon.  My friend Phil offered to go first so that he could take a rope up for us that would make it safer for those who had never done it before (me).  The rope would also allow us to repel down the mountain so that it wouldn’t take so much time to get down once we had reached the top.

Parley's Canyon

Parley's Canyon

My friend Phil made rock climbing look so easy.  When he finished, it was my turn.  No backing out now. I think I was actually more afraid of repelling down the mountain then I was of the actual climb.  I started up the mountain. However, I did something that wasn’t very smart. I hope there are others out there that have done this, but I’m probably alone in my foolish blunder.  As I started up the mountain, for some odd reason I only used my arms to try and pull myself up the mountain.  I didn’t even think to use my legs for strength (stupid I know, but that’s how it went down).  When I was about half-way up the mountain, I started to lose all my upper body strength until my arms fully gave out. I let go of my holds on the mountain and gave in to gravity. I started to fall.  Luckily I was hooked up to the rope that my friend Phil had put in place.  However, the rope would not have done me any good if Phil had not been keeping an eye on me from the bottom of the mountain. As soon as he saw me start to fall, he grabbed a hold of the rope and I didn’t fall more than a foot or two before I was suspended in the air. For a minute, all I could do was just hang there. My strength had fully given out.  While I was hanging there in the air, Phil shouted some words of encouragement, “Don’t worry, it gets easier the higher you climb.”  This was a total lie.  It didn’t get any easier but the encouragement helped me anyway.  However, I was smart enough to use my legs and arms once my strength came back to me after hanging there for a few minutes to think about what went wrong and I eventually reached the top of the mountain.  Repelling down was no problem as I knew my friend Phil had the rope below and wouldn’t let me fall.

When I came down, all I thought about was how fun it was and that I had reached the top.  But now the experience means so much more to me.  Before this climb, I hadn’t seen Phil in a few years.  He and his family had moved away a couple of years before.  However, even after not seeing him for a couple of years I trusted him enough to know that he would catch me if I fell.  After he caught me when my strength had failed, I didn’t fear anything.  I’m happy to say that I’ve been surrounded by friends like Phil my whole life.  And I hope they know I would do the same for them.   Even though the climb didn’t get easier as I got higher like Phil suggested, the climb did get easier when I knew I had a friend that I could trust holding the ropes that was looking out for me and giving me the encouragement I needed to reach the top.  So, next time you see a friend who’s strength is about to give out, be the one to grab the rope and don’t let them fall.  Because it doesn’t get easier as you get higher, it’s still just as hard.  But good friends you can trust and words of encouragement will help you reach the top.



1. Jess - October 19, 2009

Great post, Tom. It’s strange — right before I read this I was catching up with an old friend who has always been the epitome of trust/encouragement/friendship for me. Reading it with him in mind made me very grateful! Now onto returning the favor to him and others 🙂

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