“You don’t always get to the top. There are times we turn back, to live another day.”
It is not hard to understand why this can be difficult. The summit is within your grasp: you can see it, you can feel it, but you can’t reach it. Are all your efforts undone? How do you make the decision? Do you push a little further? Play a round of Russian roulette? Or simply walk away.
When our time officially ran out on Denali, 2016. I knew exactly how it was going to end. But it didn’t end without a fight; at least personally, I wasn’t going to allow it. So I gave it my best shot. “Why bother?” you might ask. Because I know this is the only way I can confront myself.
It also made me realize that sometimes, the most dangerous element is not the mountain, but in fact, ourselves. There is a thin line between ambition and arrogance. Yet, on the other hand, frustration and disappointment can also be turned into something much more positive.
What I learned from my last Denali expedition finally paid off. This year, 2016, on the summit of Denali, I finished what I started: I cleared the last 3000 ft.
“I believe there is a universal tendency in human beings to be ambitious, to plan, and to take risks, to be prepared to fail and accept it, to learn from it, then try again. We sometimes fall short, but at least we are ambitious enough to go out and seize the moment, and then we know that we can accomplish something really big.”