I'm so glad that I know more than I knew then. Gonna keep on tryin'... till I reach my highest ground

Stevie Wonder, Higher Ground

Venturing out on expeditions up and over mountain ranges is as ancient an endeavour as civilisation itself. But even the simple things in life, can disguise hidden complexity and danger if we don’t respect the true nature of the challenge that lies ahead.

Since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest at 29,035 feet above sea level, mountain summits have inspired a global adventure movement of hikers, climbers and explorers. The thought of taking on vast unmoving monoliths can compel a desire to explore and achieve like few other natural wonders our planet has to offer.

In recent years, incredible climbing accomplishments like Alex Honnold’s free soloing ‘Half Dome’ as well as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson free-climbing El Capitan’s ‘Dawn Wall’ have crossed-over to pique the interest of the non-climbing world. New forms of elevation abound – inspiring us to reimagine what each of us can really achieve.

But in amongst the noise, it is important to remember that hiking to any peak—regardless of scale—is a primal endeavour, a basic rite of every human. Elevation is as natural a movement as running… an opportunity to feel alive and connect with nature in a uniquely meditative way. Taking your run or hike to the hills brings with it a dead silence. You’ll connect with the sound of life through the rustling in the bushes, wind in the trees and the birds far above. As your effort, foot-strike and self-awareness dance in perfect harmony with the elements around you.

But some adventures are best when shared. Hiking in a group allows you to discover the beauty of the natural world whilst working together to extend your expedition and ensure a safe journey. Hiking is surely an art that can be mastered but failure to take the right steps and precautions can lead to trouble.

You’ll connect with the sound of life through the rustling in the bushes, wind in the trees and the birds far above. As your effort, foot-strike and self-awareness dance in perfect harmony with the elements around you.

So to help you get started, here are a few ideas to consider before you set off on your next—or maybe your first—upward adventure.

1. Where are you headed?

Set your direction but determine your route first. It goes without saying, but choosing your route carefully is one of the most important steps you can take. Are you venturing off on a well-trodden path? Is this in your backyard or are you new to the area? If you’re inexperienced, speak to a professional to select an easy route that you can explore. Starting small will help you learn about what you need without inviting unnecessary intrepidation - then you can work your way up to more challenging gradients and routes. This will bring the confidence that you need to further your skills.

2. Everything you need

Before you head off on your trip, ask yourself: have you taken time to think about your gear? What are you certain that you’ll need? What essentials might you get stuck without? And what could be useful if things get gnarly? Pay attention to your clothing. Will it protect you from the elements? What will you do in the event of strong sun, high winds or heavy rain? You can check the forecast but it pays to bring gear that will provide shelter from unexpected changes. Good boots, fitted by a professional are an essential investment, as is a tactical wristwatch – one that will stand up to harsh conditions and keep time when you need to get home.

3. Ready for anything

Whilst jumping to the worst-case scenario can be dismissed as negative thinking, this type of scenario-planning is a strategy that’s been used for time in memoriam by the world’s greatest adventurers. Asking ‘what if’ is an effective strategy that can help you to imagine different encounters and outcomes as well as acquire the mindset, tools and fitness you’ll need to take on your challenge. When we play potential disaster situations out in our head, we can break outcomes down into smaller ‘chunks’ – helping to reveal ideas, equipment and counter-measures that can help us better prepare for every eventuality and ultimately mitigate potential risk.

4. Pace yourself

Long hikes are a game of perseverance and stamina. Conserve your energy by starting slow and expending energy as you need to. If you’re in a group you can prevent collective exhaustion, by gauging the speed of the slowest member to establish a pace that you can maintain – ensuring you can prevent energy drain and stay safe together.

Remember that your motivation is to soak-up and breathe-in all that nature is offering you. Don’t rush unduly and remember to take breaks throughout your hike. Add scheduled stops to your estimated trip duration and refuel with small energy-rich snacks and plenty of water. If you stretch yourself, the moments of repose, the sound of silence and the breath-taking views are the memories that will endure beyond the sore feet and lactic leg burn.

5. Immerse yourself in nature

And finally, get ready to commit. Moving forward, onward and upward is ‘the game’. Hiking is the physical manifestation of our obligation to progress. Getting out of the city and into the thin air is one of life’s simplest adventures – one that can offer infinite variety and maximum reward. So breathe it in, relish your adventure and replenish your energy.

At Rotate North we want to inspire this kind of progress throughout our community – to shake off whatever is holding you back… to get out, live life outdoors and elevate yourself. But these are experiences we need to take back into the world and share. These are the adventures that will shape our everyday decisions and nurture more respectful relationships with our world.

Your adventure awaits… So wherever you’re going, plan ahead and be careful out there.


The Rotate North Altitude is the perfect companion for the open air – a beautifully crafted tool watch designed for adventure – from the toughest trails to the highest peaks.

Inspired by classic watches designed for jet aviation, the Altitude is paired with a silicone vegan rubber strap made from sustainable sources.

Shop the Rotate North Altitude today. Get back to going forward.
August 05, 2020 — Stephen Shaw