Student Personal and Social Ethics Program



Climbing Sugar Loaf

My family and friends decided last Sunday to get out for the day and climb ‘Sugar Loaf. It had been a tough few weeks due to my father-in-law going to heaven, so a day out is what we all needed.

After visiting the Falls and lunch at the bakery in Marysville, we ventured on to the ‘Sugar Loaf’ climbing track. I had never been there but Dan and my girlfriend had both climbed it in their teens. It was a lovely crisp sunny afternoon and the boys all ran ahead (when I say boys I mean all of our teenagers including Belle). The first part of the climb involved a constant uphill incline, I did stop a few times to catch my breath and Dan would wait every now and then for us (my girlfriend and I) to catch up. I looked up and thought, I hope it’s not like this the whole way!

A few moments later the track started turning into smaller rocks which I found easier to navigate than the track. As we kept climbing the rocks and heights got larger and larger until we found ourselves helping each other with a ‘foot up’ when needed. Some of the rocks were now above my head and as my legs seemed shorter than everyone else’s, I had to get creative on how to manoeuvre up the rocks. We were now half way up and the view was amazing.

Dan said there was a harder bit coming up where the rocks were about 30 cm apart, a bit like a tunnel and we had to walk through them side on. I heard one of my boys above me somewhere say “mum will never get up here!”. Ha Ha, that’s all I needed to spur myself on! My girlfriend and I continued to encourage and laugh our way though and yes, that tunnel sure did arrive! It was easy to start with, Dan was with us and the boys ahead. There were a few moments where I got a bit nervous as it was quite dark, damp and cold, I had a feeling of being trapped come over me and then right at that point I noticed a small light appear at the end of the tunnel. I kept my focus on the light and even though the rocks got narrower and narrower, it was enough to keep calm and carry on. We all kept laughing and encouraging each other and finally came to the end of the tunnel, to get out I had to go back a bit to be able to turn around as where I was I couldn’t do that. I shifted my position and backed up out of the tunnel, relieved to be through and now looking up to where I was going. Even through the rocks were even bigger, I didn’t care as I was now empowered to finish what I had started… nothing was going to stop me from getting to the top!

We all kept climbing up and I found myself helping some of the younger ones with a ‘foot up’ like Dan had helped me. I was surprised sometimes at the strength in my arms and legs, pushing myself through what looked like impossible tasks. We were now nearing the top and the rocks were almost vertical, but that didn’t stop us. I just kept looking up and stopped myself from looking back knowing that would scare me… Before I knew it we had all made it safely to the top and were rewarded with incredible views in all directions. A sense of achievement and wonder followed by excitement for what we had all done came over me.

After taking some great pics and even some where the boys ventured out to the edge of the mountain (they always take limits to the extreme) we all had to climb back down. The little orange arrow pointed the way and off we went. Dan mentioned the ‘chimney’ would be the hardest bit as the way down was different to the way up. I was relieved to hear this as there was no way we could have gone down the way we had come up! The way down seemed to go quickly, I found myself jumping from one rock to another and they seemed easier to manoeuvre. All of a sudden we all stopped, it looked like we couldn’t go any further… it was the ‘chimney’! Dan went first as he isn’t afraid of anything! I noticed a piece of nylon, no thicker than a shoe lace wrapped around a rock to help people get down and didn’t like the look of it, as the ‘chimney’ would have been at least twice my height. Dan stood at the bottom as I grabbed the tree root hanging out of the rock and down I went. I found myself hanging in mid air with one hand on the rock edge and the other on the tree root and I sure didn’t like that! After a few big breaths while pulling my thoughts together I followed Dan’s instructions to let go of the rock and hold on to the thin nylon string… one of the most scariest things I have done in a long time, the string held firm and I dropped down to Dan at the bottom.

We spent the next half an hour getting everyone else down, the boys tried another way too which worked with the help of everyone working together. My girlfriend maneuvered the chimney forwards, which seemed to work better and then we were off again. Nothing was in our way other than trying to slow ourselves down. We had done it, we had accomplished the mountain!

No matter what comes at us in life, if we keep going, work together and encourage each other we can do anything that is placed in our hearts. Mountains are always there to climb and if we allow them to strengthen and grow us, it is amazing to see what we can accomplish. You are stronger than you think, don’t give up as the reward is too great.

What are the mountains in your life?
What are the barriers to overcome?
Who can encourage and help you?
Who can you encourage and help?
What would be the reward when you finish?

Jo Hames
sugar loaf