Suffering: isn’t it so dang shitty but so completely necessary?! Us mountain people and athletes, we put ourselves through some crazy mental and physical suffering to accomplish our objectives. We curse with each heavy step, feel every pinch of skin rubbing against harnesses, hip belts, shoulder straps and boots. We endure the blisters, callouses, and hip bruises, huffing and puffing our way up the mountain. But all the while, we try to push back the pain and carry on to our goal. We stop every so often and take in our surroundings, snapping a few photos to remember the beauty around us. We can’t help but feel small among a giant, ancient mountain who has seen so many generations of climbers come before us. When we finally crest that summit ridge and stand on top of that high place, we are filled with elation and finally able to release that pain and turn it to gratitude, humility and joy. We can finally breathe again. Sometimes its not until we get back to the car, crack open that beer, don our flip flops, shovel down some snacks and reminisce with friends, that we finally feel like a human again. All those feelings of suffering on the way up fade away with the sense of joy and accomplishment and the ability to experience such beauty that many others never get the chance to witness. And somehow we want to do it all over again because it was worth it. Suffering is always necessary in order to truly appreciate what our mind, body and our will is capable of. And this concept can be applied to so many other types of suffering in our lives - work projects, unexpected injuries, accidents, death and loss of loved ones or relationships and divorces. Life is full of ups and downs but it’s how we react to them and turn our circumstances into a positive, that really puts us ahead in life. So friends, rejoice in suffering for it produces perseverance, character, hope and love.