Interesting topic Eric, it reminds me of that guy who recently did the 7 tallest and got in the paper (Ed Viesturs?). In his interview he mentioned he was totally willing to turn around a hundred feet from the top. It seems to me that sitting at home, bored with my circumstances or annoyed with my job, or whatever people stress about these days, it's easy to look back and say, "Man I was a pussy for not at least trying to climb that snow covered ridge, it probably would have gone:"
As far as I got
Or, jeeze I was 50 feet from the top of the N face of shuksan and I bailed I was thinking about my partner standing down at the base below the burgschrund waiting because he was out of shape, I should have atleast gone to the top of the face:
But what I've come to appreciate about this sport makes it all worth it. I've been humbled, I've been taught a lot about myself from selfishness to mental toughness, I've saught to answer what I want out of life, I've had times when I just didnt want to take risks anymore, and I've learned from my partners valueable things like more patience, a good attitude, and trust.
Starting climbing, I knew I'd never be the most badass, I thought being the best at climbing meant taking the most risk, and in some ways it does (there are many yardsticks to measure climbers). But its still possible to have goals, have fun, learn about yourself, share adventure with friends, and take your life back from office chairs, cubicles, and deadlines, summit or not. Thats why I keep going out there, after all, it would be somewhat boring if I knew I was going to summit everytime and would certianly make the summit less of an experience.