The story is told from the perspective of Major HPS Ahluwalia, as he narrates his experience of scaling the tallest mountain in the world- Mount Everest. He was a part of the first successful Indian expedition to Mount Everest, which also included Sir Edmund Hillary. In this chapter, he talks about his experience and the lessons that he learned from it.
The chapter starts with Ahluwalia describing his feelings as he stood at the peak of the tallest mountain in the world. Although his body was weary, the serenity that came from the experience evoked emotions of humility in him. On his successful endeavor, he felt happy and was filled with gratitude. The experience not only changed his perception towards life but also brought him spiritual peace.
According to him, a person who wants to climb a mountain requires endurance, persistence, motivation, and most importantly, the will power to embark on this journey. He explains that he is fascinated by the charms of the mountains. Looking at the view from Everest, he felt complete. According to him, every person has a peak within himself, which we need to scale to better ourselves. Scaling either the physical peak or the internal peak can change a person.
He furthers goes on and talks about the thoughts that were swirling in his mind when he climbed the mountain. As soon as he was able to throw off his exhaustion, his mind wondered what pushes people to climb peaks. Unlike many people, the author had more personal reasons. Since he always had an affinity towards mountains, he had to scale the mightiest peak of them all. According to him, despite the many hardships that one may face, the excitement and the feeling of fulfillment that one feels at the top is incomparable.
The author then delves into the spiritual side of things and talks explicitly about the internal peak in each person. According to the author, although not everyone will be able to make it to the Summit of Everest, one needs to climb the Summit within. Just like how humbled and overjoyed he felt on making it to the top, a person who climbs his inner Summit will experience something similar. It is but a means to be closer to God and be appreciative of the life bestowed upon us. According to him, the qualities needed to scale the internal Summit are the same as those of a physical peak—endurance, persistence, motivation to better oneself, and the willpower to overcome any obstacle.
In Ahluwalia's opinion, the peak provides a lesson of companionship and brotherhood. The people who decide to scale the mountain hold responsibility for each other’s life. Without the collective strength and effort of all the members of a party, climbing a summit is impossible. A single man cannot even think about scaling a peak. The presence of companions provides emotional as well as physical support to the climbers.
The author states that on reaching the peak, they all felt a little bit closer to God. Each of his companions left a memento of their religions on it under the snow.
The Summit Within tries to draw a parallel between the physical world and the spiritual world. The author compared the physical struggles of climbing the mountains to the internal struggles that all humans go through in their minds. It has been narrated that to overcome those struggles, everyone needs Endurance, Persistence, and Will Power. If you have these qualities, you can scale any peak, whether it is physical or mental. And once you climb that peak, the emotions are incomparable and bring serenity and peace to the person.