8 Secrets of Mountain Climbing and Life

“Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.”
Harold B. Melchart

I’ve been goal-orientated lately, but I learnt some interesting lessons after climbing Mount Coroora with Team Candy and another family I roped into the challenge, Team Collin.

The Mountain

Mount Coorora looms 432 meters above Pomona, a bucolic little Sunshine Coast hinterland town, about a 30 minute drive from Noosa and the sea.

We’d already visited Pomona in July for the annual King of The Mountain contest, in which about one hundred fit people race up and down Mount Coorora. The winner gets to the top and back in 24 minutes, so I imagined that it would be a pleasant family walk, a peak we could bag in an hour or so.

That was my first mistake.

My second mistake was to attempt it on a Sunday morning after poker night, which meant we were all a bit sleep deprived and, in some cases, rather dehydrated.

The Climb

Mount Coorora turned out to be much higher, steeper and more challenging than expected. The last stretch is a practically vertical path of rocks you have to scramble up. A few steep staircases have been provided, but for much of it you have to drag yourself up with the ropes provided.

It was a tough climb, even for a fit woman in the prime of her life like me. All the kids struggled at times and the once peaceful slopes of Mount Cooroora were ringing out with cries of:

“I can’t walk any more.”

“I’m too tired.”

“My legs hurt.”

It almost drove me nuts.

My third mistake was to take no food and I compounded that with a fourth mistake – no water.

We all got incredibly hot, thirsty and dirty. Especially Kiara who was crawling up and down the dusty mountainside, and Max who preferred to slide back down on his bum. That’s how the racers must do it. I’m not quite sure exactly, but however they manage to get up and down so fast, I have a new respect for them now.

It was tough going but we persisted, stopping to rest and admire the view when our thighs got too wobbly, and bonding with Team Collin who kindly let us share their water.

The Life Lessons

Mountain climbing, like life, isn’t just about getting to the top and taking a photo to prove you did it. Although that’s a part of it, you also have to make sure you enjoy the climb itself too.

The 8 Secrets of Mountain Climbing and Life

  1. Plan carefully so you know what you’re getting into.
  2. Cheer yourselves on, admit it’s hard and congratulate yourself on how well you’re doing.
  3. Stop to rest often and admire the view along the way.
  4. Being part of a team of like-minded people can make it more fun.
  5. If you want to make it to the top you need to persevere.
  6. If you concentrate on just taking one step after another, you’ll get there in the end,
  7. The most important thing is to enjoy the process.
  8. Drink plenty of water.

Let’s focus on enjoying our journey today, and not only on the final destination. Achieving goals is good, but having fun is more important.


Mountain climbing runs in my family. My mountain climbing cousin, Jerry Moffatt, has been referred to as spider man. If you check out his book cover you’ll see why. Here’s his top mountain climbing tip which comes from knowing that, just like in life you may not get a second chance:

“Enjoy the actual ascent… that’s what it’s all about.”

The Pomona and Mount Cooroora Photos

Here are some more photos so you can enjoy the Australia’s Sunshine Coast hinterland experience and relive the pain and glory with us.

Noosa hinterland, Sunshine Coast, Australia, Pomona

The focal point of downtown Pomona

Noosa hinterland, Sunshine Coast, Australia, Pomona

Pomona lawn ornament

Noosa hinterland, Sunshine Coast, Australia, Pomona

A testament to the enterprising nature of Pomona residents

Team Candy and Team Collin at Base Camp

Team Candy and Team Collin at Base Camp

On our way to the top

On our way to the top

Team Candy and Team Collin celebrate madly on the peak

Team Candy and Team Collin celebrate madly on the peak

Queen and Princess of the Mountain:)

Queen and Princess of the Mountain:)

Buena Vista from the top of Mt. Cooroora

Buena Vista from the top of Mt. Cooroora

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  1. Desertgirl September 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Good article, good thoughts.

    The wise rule of thumb for any climbing or bushwalking in Australia is no matter how short or quick you think the climb will be, ALWAYS, ALWAYS carry water with you. Enough for each person. And an energy/chocolate/muesli bar each too. Just in case. And sip the water regularly.

    In the NT, we get a lot of overseas visitors venturing out in to the bush without realizing they need to carry water and plenty of it. Even in the cool months. Each spring and summer there will be a number of deaths from dehydration. Water may weigh 1kg/litre but the weight is worth carrying.

    Glad you survived, glad you all enjoyed the achievement.

    • Annabel Candy September 14, 2009 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      I don’t think we were in any danger, apart from being driven nuts by the whining but I definitely need to study by guide better next time so I know what I’m getting myself into. The Peak Bagger’s Guide you recommended to me by Gary Cobb is such a great book. I’d love to try to bag them all but some of them sound really forbidding and definitely not suitable with kids.

  2. Robin Dickinson September 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    What a marvelous post. I’m a big fan of mountains, and for some insane reason love walking, running or crawling up them any opportunity I get.

    The big takeaway for me is that as we ascend and descend, the view is constantly changing. So no matter where we are on the slope, there is a fresh, unique and beautiful outlook to behold.

    It’s as if every level, every step is it’s own summit, with it’s own story to tell. So often, in our mad scramble up the mountain or in our joyous romp back to the bottom, we often miss the huge kaleidoscope of outlooks along the way. And that, I think, is the real story that every mountain is trying to tell us.

    Thanks, Annabel.

    Best, Robin

    • Annabel Candy September 14, 2009 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      I’m a real sucker for climbing every hill to see the view and always stretching out my walks because I “just want to see what’s round the next corner.”

      It reminds me of a song I sing the kids, The Bear Went Over The Mountain, which always makes me smile:

      The bear went over the mountain,
      The bear went over the mountain,
      The bear went over the mountain,
      To see what he could see.
      But all that he could see,
      But all that he could see,
      Was the other side of the mountain,
      The other side of the mountain,
      The other side of the mountain,
      Was all that he could see.

  3. Ben Dawe September 14, 2009 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    I should have read this before walking from Katoomba to Yerranderie. Couldn’t see a thing in the rain, pretty well vertical in every direction. We kept singing out to each other “low gear” – meaning, very small steps in motoring parlance…

    • Annabel Candy September 14, 2009 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Ouch, it sounds like going for a walk in New Zealand:) We sometimes engage four wheel drive when walking with the kids which means that me or my husband get behind them and push them up! It works.

  4. Connie September 16, 2009 at 12:01 am - Reply

    This looks amazing. Your experience reminds me of a hike through a Utah dessert that my husband took me on – I was woefully unprepared but I remember it very fondly and learned a lot as well, such as: Talking will tire you out faster.

    • Annabel Candy September 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      Haha! I didn’t notice the typo until you pointed it out. Mmm, a nice walk through some chocolate mousse would certainly motivate the kids:)

  5. Connie September 16, 2009 at 12:02 am - Reply

    Obviously I meant a Utah desert…but doesn’t a hike through a dessert sound wonderful ;-)

  6. Sarah (aka kokusaimum) September 16, 2009 at 10:15 am - Reply

    I love this post Annabel! And it is extra inspiring for me as our plan is to move to Pomona when we leave Japan – in fact I’m hoping we’ll find a place where we can see the mountain. This post was also a timely reminder not to focus only on our goal of moving back to Australia but also to enjoy life in Japan while we are here. It sounds stupid but sometimes I forget how cool it is to be living here! We have friends visiting soon so this is great timing to get out and about and enjoy this crazy place.

    • Annabel Candy September 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      Sarah – thanks for making sure I wrote that one up. It almost fell by the wayside until you mentioned your dream of living in Pomona. The wonderul photo at the top was taken from somebody’s house so maybe you will have that view one day. It’s very special. Enjoy your time in Japan – it must be a fabulous experience and always good to be able to show visitors around:)

  7. SergioM September 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Thanks to you! I’ve spent a very good time reading you :-)

  8. Lin Morel September 17, 2009 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed the post, as I’ve also love mountains, and also the photos of Pomona and Mt. Cooroora. We’ve a Pomona here in California, and for a brief moment thought you were referring to our town.

    The joy in climbing for me is the opportunity to stay present to everything – the wind, sun, nagging children, and nagging gnats alike. It’s a time to feel totally alive. My husband taught me this lesson, which he shared from his patients, and also towards the end of his life. Each breath is a mini-summit and a celebration of life. What a fabulous family you have!

    • Annabel Candy September 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Lin – What a beautiful comment and how true – even the nagging and the gnats keep you in the moment. Amazing there’s a Pomona in CA too. It sounds Spanish which explains the CA naming but not the town in Australia!

  9. Trish Radge November 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    We climbed Mt Cooroora recently. Incredible views made the climb worthwhile. Our son (aged 12) was like a mountain goat and made us feel useless. He kept running ahead, and back tracking – he must have travelled twice the distance we did. At the end we were exhausted… and he could have gone again! Inspiring.

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