5 Types of People You Meet on a Summit

Our world is full of diverse personalities – the tops of mountains are no different. Recently, I put some thought into the types of people I’ve met on the trails throughout my adventures. What type are you?   

1. The Adrenaline Junkie 

We all know who I’m talking about. It’s the hiker who will eat-up the opportunity to snap photos of that oozing flesh wound, exaggerate the extent of the injury, talk about how tough they are for ripping off a piece of their shirt and tying it around the wounded extremity and then proceed to gloat about how resilient they are for pushing it out to the summit. Epic. They love dodging dangers like the approaching grizzly bear or the impending thunderstorm. They see neglecting to pack enough water as an opportunity to “rough it out” and drink from the mountain stream… bonus points if you get Giardia and survive. 

2. The Soul Seeker 

Soul seekers have a broad range. Some take to the trail in search of a vortex with feathers and flowers in their hair and a gem stone that was strategically chosen to orient their energy onto a specific thread of the lifestream. If indeed they are wearing clothes, it will most likely be of natural fibers that speak to their inner spirit animal. These people can be fascinating to engage with. They are full of depth and creativity. Others will simply be dressed in a shirt, shorts and hiking boots. They enjoy the quiet nature of being alone on a trail while their mind meticulously dissects their internal thought processes. They then reassemble those thought processes with vibrant and progressive ideas. They are the evaluators… constantly evolving along their own personal path to success and happiness.


Photo by Ben Ward.


3. The Social Bug 

These are the chatter bugs that bubble over with joy and enthusiasm. Every step they take on the trail resembles an energetic skip of excitement. They take selfies with anything and everything… the lady bug on the leaf, the stranger's dog that is passing them on the trail or the grumpy old hag that just wants to be left alone. They hike to socialize and they are masters of starting up conversation from nothing and turning the experience into glitter and gold. Five minutes into conversing with these individuals and they will already know your home address, the last three cars you’ve owned and what your favorite childhood cartoon was. Come to think of it, these people would probably make for great product ambassadors… happily hiking around on trails and tossing food samples into the hands of hungry hikers. 

4. The Self Empowered 

I have some serious respect for these people. They are driven and goal oriented. If their goal is weight-loss, they’ve probably logged every calorie they’ve consumed and expended into MyFitnessPal and stood on the scale every morning religiously since January 1st. They don’t spray their progress… you can see it. It’s clearly defined in the successes they’ve had over the past months. You offer them some licorice and they politely decline as they munch into their rutabaga with confidence. 

5. The Hurt and Healing 

Healing the soul takes time. Everyone hurts internally for various reasons at various times in their life. For some, the hurt is so complex that it can take years or even a lifetime to overcome. Getting outside into the crisp mountain air, repeating the mantra of placing one foot in front of the other and allowing the mind to drift deep into thought can cultivate a place of peace and healing. The trail is their sanctuary where they can search for and find, glimpses of comfort. 
As I reflect on the assortment of people I’ve met on the trails, I realize that perhaps I can relate to each of these categories in one way or another. I imagine that very few of us would get clumped into only one category. Regardless of the reasons you hit the trails and summit the peaks, the unity of meeting other adventurers who appreciate the process of exploration will always find common ground and come to appreciate the diversity in all its colors.
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