The Nepal Question - Time to Give Up?

03/05/15 ·Posted By: Ruben Payan

I would like to send my prayers to the millions of people that were affected by the recent earthquake and resulting devastation in Nepal – including an avalanche at the Mt. Everest base camp that caused seventeen fatalities.  This has prompted a lot of people to ask if I am reconsidering K2.

This is an excellent question and one that I have given a lot of thought.

Bottom line: Any time you set yourself a big goal you also agree to take on some kind of risk. Maybe you’re not risking your life – or – maybe you are. Regardless, you open yourself up to further introspection and digging deep to discover your truth.

What are you willing to do to meet this big goal and how badly do you want it? Would you take time off from work? How about a whole year? Would you leave your family? For how long? Would you give up your life?

I could spend $500 and get that K2 tattoo lasered off my back. Gone. Finished. Over.

However, the point isn’t whether or not I choose to abort K2. The point is that I allow myself a space for reflection to ask – does it feel right? That I create a space of calmness when there is uncertainty. Because when you make a choice from that space – it’s never, ever wrong. In fact, this is what the mountains grant me. Give me time to be, time to feel pain. Allow me to submit. They grant me things that Ruben finds uncomfortable, to allow me to strip past the layers of baggage and see.

Maybe your calm place is with nature. Or talking to a friend or counselor. Or deep in prayer. Only you know.

Your life will have defining moments. The important thing is to be able to search within yourself to see where and when you want to take a stand. Your inner voice and direction will never lead you wrong.


Just for the record – I’m still committed to climbing K2. For me, it’s worth it, even if it costs me my life should it come to that. But I also acknowledge there do in fact, exist certain conditions that would prompt me to say no to K2, at least for now. It wouldn’t be a failure. It would be an honest assessment of my priorities.

So if you answer “yes,” to what you would give up to get something done, roll with it. But if not, it’s okay. After all – this is your journey. You make up the rules. You stay true to you.