Summits are Funny Things.

Out of danger I thought about the boys I’d dreamed about. I wondered how I could miss them so much, but still be so lame about calling their mother and arrange a time for me to see them. While things had ended between us, they hadn’t really ended badly and we were on good terms. Still something held me back from just calling Amy and taking them out for pizza. Still my shame at letting them down keeps me from calling.Summits are funny things. You work and work, sometimes months, leading up to this moment where you stand on top of the world. You expect that moment to be transcendent. All those hours in the gym, all that time climbing on smaller rocks, working on technique. The long hike in. All of that is supposed to lead up to this moment where you reach your goal. Literally the top. It’s supposed to be special.

In reality there is nothing up there. Mountain tops are lonely places. Even when you share them with people you care about. The growth does not come when the goal is achieved. It comes in all those moments of dedication prior to reaching the top. The summit is only an objective way for the world to measure success. In reality they mean nothing.

Liberty Cap is the “second summit” to Mt. Rainer and sits about 300 ft and a mile lower than the actual summit. We didn’t go to the actual summit. We hugged, snapped a few pictures, Doug and Veronika shared a kiss, then we started down. Doug and Veronkia tied to either end of the rope, me in the middle. Some would call that failure, after all we didn’t actually stand on the top.

I say they’re full of shit. We climbed to the top of the route. I went deeper than I thought I could. I learned. I grew more in those three days than I had in the past two years of hardships.

I got what I came for.

1 thought on “Summits are Funny Things.

  1. stumbled across this today:

    “…..I realized that achievement to one who has lived all his life in loss and failure, and who has experienced more or less constant rejection, is, itself anti-climatic. The joy exists in the possibility of things–in their perhaps…..I am possibility-oriented, doing-the-deed-oriented. While I am reading or writing, or playing a piano, all is possible. After that, it’s hard to take anything seriously……You can put Pushcarts on a curriculum vitae, but its not what makes you create. If it is, then you’re pretty fucking pathetic. Nothing is more pathetic than someone who achieves and is not alive except for their achievements. Such a person is a slave to the wrong master. It is terrible when no one appreciates your art or wants to hear or see or recognize it. It is more horrible when that’s all that matters…..”

    from this Joe Weil essay (worth reading in its entirety):

    Thought you might see a kindred in this, weighing the value of the the path vs. the summit…

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