Beginning of this month, our juniors in SATU BUMI finally chose their major of outdoor focus. Since there are four major here in our organization; caving (later they are more frequent calling themselves speleology), rafting (or water sports?), mountaineering, and climbing, one must choose their focus because they need training and classes about their field. One by one they chose their interest and I just realized then if there was a decreasing interest in mountaineering division.
What came first to mind was a basic question about why did it happen?
For me, this trend didn’t affect me at all, because I’ve already put this thing in doubt since years ago. I just questioning this thing because it’s very interesting actually. We went to the mountain at the first time we all joined this organization, but later, seems like everybody got tired to get along with a mountain.
I track the trajectory of mountaineering long ago because I had to give a class about the history of mountaineering activities. Hehe, I found out that mountaineering activities took in a different shape out there. They did the mountaineering activities together with climbing. It was actually not really surprising though because they had different geographical characteristic. Mostly, mountaineering activities require climbing skill because of the snow and rocky mountains.
I turn to analyze the mountaineering activities in Indonesia. Actually, we have the same purpose doing the mountaineering. Mountains are sacred places, once before. They were identified as the highest peak all around their surroundings. No one knew what’s there at first, yet they were really anxious about it. The very first mountaineering activity was to conquer the hardness of nature which took shape in mountainous terrain. So, it was a very egoist journey, to be honest. Or it was not? Hehe.
In Indonesia, the mountain had special meanings for local people. Most of the Indonesian people, mountain took roles in their daily activities. We might know that the practices still put in practices today, you could see in Merapi, Semeru, Agung, Lompobattang, or else. They all see mountain not merely a place which serves a different perspective and scenery, but as a sacred place where only certain people who allowed to get there.
But the mountaineering activities these few years become very attractive for young generations in Indonesia. The question is, why?
Maybe I am just guessing because I am no longer into this activity for years, so I think I would just analyze from my observation on social media and from the people around me.
When I was into this activity, I realized that I changed so much from my start point to my last standing point. To be honest, I did mountaineering to conquer the mountain peak, which actually became my curiosity from my childhood life. My grand grand-mother lived on the mountain base of Merbabu. I could say that just following the first people who did mountaineering, I just filled my curiosity about got on the mountain peak.
Later on, the interest to do summit attack vanished away because I’ve been there for times and moreover, I was more enjoying the journey itself, not the highest point it served. The change also came to the seeking of value to do mountaineering. I didn’t think that those all not about conquer the mountain, but to dive to its deepest valley, its heavy rain forest, or it’s long winding roads. Those changes changed my behavior to respond any invitation to do mountaineering.
But it was me.
As a member of pecinta alam, I don’t think that many people feel the same as me. Pecinta alam was referred as an escapism activity (I borrow my friend’s terminology). The field of activities far from our daily yet served not only a dangerous field, but it forced them to leap beyond their limits. It needed not only skills but also will. Not merely taking a journey to explore, but preparing for the worst condition.
But the changing of social media and the spreading of outdoor equipment changed the mountaineering activities too. As the pattern behavior I saw of the changing of interest began with the will to conquer, lately really became so annoying because do mountaineering far from the feeling of escapism. It became really popular and everyone was able to reach the summit, even they didn’t have any mountaineering skills.
Hence, a new question appears here. So, which kind of mountaineering that pecinta alam means when we refer our activities as mountaineering? What did differentiated us from those people who didn’t train to get their mountaineering skills?
This question might not really be answered by mountaineers. We merely enjoy our own value to do the mountaineering activities. That’s all because mountaineering is an individual seeking of value rather than a group seeking of value. It might be done together, but the effort they put on the activities was coming from the individual.
The people who were able to do mountaineering was aiming to conquer themselves and their limits. It was their individual journey to get any values they were seeking. They were not doing something wrong by doing mountaineering. Yet, it made me realized that pecinta alam hadn’t established any specific values by doing mountaineering practices.
You might question why does this differentiation is needed. Yes, as pecinta alam became an escapist activities from routines, it must be distinct from their daily; not only the environment but also the people. Hence, the more people get into this field, the more we thought that this field became a common topic, the less interested we get.
So, should we establish some specific values to differentiate ourselves with the people out there? Do we need to determine the local trajectory of mountaineering rather than following the international trajectory of mountaineering? Some organizations established their own standard of mountaineering, but some might say that it was close to militaries pattern. While pecinta alam should not be close to them. Yeah, I agree and not agree.
Yet, it is not easy to answer what’s so interesting to do mountaineering today since everybody already doing it. The navigation skill became less needed because gps is everywhere and you could use it everytime. The forest itself vanished by the land clearing practices. And journeys to the hardest mountains out there been fulfilled by many. Then, what last for mountaineers? Yeah, one thing you might be proud of is, that we could still be others companion on doing outdoor activities. As the basic, we prepared as the basic skill. If there is no one interested to improve this field, just don’t force to.