It’s one thing to miss a summit due to altitude sickness, or not eating well, or dehydration, or suffering mishap and injury, or being turned back by weather. And, it’s another thing to get back on the trail to do it again.
So, when I wrote about altitude sickness and weather turning me back the first two times on Whitney, and only mentioned actually summiting on the third attempt as a passing remark in the post, I took some heat. John wrote,
“…Trying again for the third time when you knew it would be difficult. Overcoming fear when something had already happened twice. Pushing through in a physically painful state but mentally determined to summit. That was the real story. Was it worth it? What did it mean to you personally to be there at that survey cap? More than the one line you gave it. The three of us knew the risk that any one of us could falter and that the success of the group making the summit could be compromised. Each of us was willing to give up the personal achievement goal for the health and safety of the other two. There was a huge dynamic taking place that day among us…”
From a mythical or archetypal viewpoint, summiting with a team is a warrior move. It’s not the sovereign king, or the mystical magician, or the heartbroken lover that stands at the survey cap. It’s the warrior. Clean action deployed with competence and confidence.
Warrior energy brings together skill, desire, passion, and resolve. Clear goals are accepted. Boundaries and rules are honored. Loyalty is given. The clean warrior is neither savage nor victim. The clean warrior is emotionally aware, efficient, effective... and gets the job done.