"The Summit Within” is a chapter taken from the book “Higher Than Everest: Memoirs of a Mountaineer". It is written by Major H P S Ahluwalia. The lesson opens with the narrator expressing how he felt as he stood at the summit of Everest. While looking at the vast view of the wide area, he felt multiple emotions rushing through him; among them, the dominant one was humility. He believed that a man who had been to the mountains would not be the same again. It meant that the experience and difficulties he faced while climbing the mountains had changed him.
The narrator then stated that as soon as he got rid of his physical exhaustion, his mind questioned, "Why people climb mountains?" Later he said that most people would say, “Because it is there,” but the narrator had a more personal response to the question. He claimed that the mountains had attracted him since childhood, and he would feel miserable and sad when he was away from them.
Then the narrator remarked that ascending a mountain had physical challenges. Climbing to the summit required strength, persistence, and willpower. Later his mind questioned why he had selected Everest in particular. The narrator stated that there was no perfect answer to why he climbed Everest. He related it to the reasons why individuals breathe and why they aid their neighbours.
The narrator had climbed Mount Everest because it was the world's highest and most powerful mountain. No wonder the journey was challenging; he thought it would provide him with a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction, and joy when he stood there. He also mentioned that well-known climbers sought assistance from other climbers. He said that standing on the summit made him realise that the struggle was worthwhile. The majority of the climbers, including the narrator, thought that reaching the top would allow them to communicate with God. Later, he told how he bowed down and made his submission to God on the highest mountain.
At last, the narrator and his companions had left the portraits and relics of God on Everest as they believed it was a sign of reverence. He then explained another big summit, the summit within oneself; it was more challenging to climb. However, every climb, whether it was physical or spiritual, had transformed him fundamentally. He claimed that summiting Everest had given him the confidence to pursue other goals. Also, he stated that climbing the summit within was even more challenging than climbing Everest.