Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest mountain standing at a very modest 1343 metres, Glen Coe (Bidean nam Bian, 1150m) and Munro Lochnagar at 1155m, gave Paula some proper Scottish wintry experiences with deep snow descents, ice-blasted rock faces, freezing belays and ridge walking in howling gales.
On Mont Blanc Paula was taught Alpine Mountaineering and had to rescue a 6’4” sniper from a crevasse, as well as learn to ‘she-wee’ while roped between two male mountaineers! She realised that the most critical thing you need to ‘pack’ alongside the right kit is mental toughness.
Each time she had to step up to the challenge and push herself mentally and physically onwards and upwards. At the time, the effort was very demanding, sometimes painful, often torturous, but usually grimly satisfying (known as ‘Type 2 fun’), and afterwards, or during the times that she felt confident, she experienced extreme elation, a high of adrenaline and an immense personal satisfaction. This was living life richly and fully for her, embracing both the tough stuff and the great stuff equally in peak experiences.