Life lessons for those who want to climb high . . .
Follow the leader.
Our final summit bids on both Kilimanjaro and Cotopaxi were begun near midnight. At night the temperatures are at their lowest which keeps the volcanic skree (climbing through skree is like climbing through sand) and fresh snow solid. I’ve also found night climbing of benefit because limited vision keeps me from seeing what is actually below me!
Because you are climbing at night, it is absolutely imperative that you have an excellent, highly-skilled, trustworthy guide that can lead the way.
For the first 5 hours of the summit bid virtually all you can see in the small path of your headlamp is the footsteps of the person you are following. (After about five hours there is enough ambient light from the approaching sunrise for you to begin catching your first glimpses of the summit.) Step out of the leader’s footsteps and you run the risk of falling into an 80 foot fissure, stepping off a rock cliff or sliding down a forty degree vertical ice wall. Following in the right footsteps matters.
The Apostle Peter encourages each of us to “Follow in the footsteps of Jesus. He is our example.” (1 Peter 2:21) Jesus is a guide that has walked this mountain before us. Jesus is a guide that has our best interests in mind. Jesus is a guide that is 100% trustworthy. If we want to climb high . . . it is imperative that we follow in the footsteps of Christ.
As I was following in the footsteps of our guide, Cozme, up Cotopaxi, I realized how important it was for me to stay as accurate as possible to his lead–others were following in my footsteps. If I stepped off the path, if I strayed, it could be disastrous for those who were following behind.
The Apostle Paul urges us to be able to say, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) In this life, as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, others are following in our footsteps. Our children, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Our stray steps may very well cause those following us to stumble and fall. Our consistent, trustworthy steps as we simply place our feet in the path that Jesus trod help others stay safely on the path as well.