Monday, June 4, 2012

Arbitrary Lists

You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures. Charles C. Noble.

After my resounding but humdrum failure on Mount Shardelow yesterday, I started the drive home feeling like a complete failure. An over-reaction perhaps, but I am one of those goal oriented individuals who expects to succeed at whatever they set out to do. And, truthfully, an ascent of Mount Shardelow was easily within my technical and (arguably not yesterday) physical abilities. My first thought, in fact, was, "I should have gone for Mount Jeldness," even though one of the reasons I chose Mount Shardelow over Mount Jeldness was because the climbing promised to be slightly more interesting on Mount Shardelow.

As the years pass, either in response to getting older, becoming a better climber, or just a process of natural evolution, I have become more interested in climbing interesting routes than merely slogging up the easiest route possible. Admittedly at heart, I am still a peak bagger - one of those folks for whom the summit is the goal, the route less important - but simply checking off a new peak on the list is no longer as fulfilling as it once was.

All these thoughts were rattling round in my brain as I bashed my way down through thickets of alder. Quality had, at some point, become more important than either quantity or, more importantly, novelty. I suddenly realized that I could have gone out for a nice steep snow climb close to home and close to the road. I would have saved myself a couple of hours of driving, interminable alder thrashing, and, as I suddenly realized, actually been doing what I wanted to do, instead of being tied to an artificial "list" of peaks to climb.

The middle of the year may not be the traditional time for resolutions, but I hence forth resolved to go climb fun peaks/routes with some challenge rather than mindlessly going out to tick another name off an arbitrary project list. 
Climbing Sentinel Peak in the Adamants

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