Friday, July 1, 2011

Learning From Failure

A solo attempt on El Cap leads to an accident and then a rescue. Here’s his complete story. I liked this part:

Great climbing above Mammoth

“I began to ponder the question no climber should ask themselves. “Why do I climb?” When other people ask me why, I have no trouble answering. It’s fun, freedom, a challenge, etc… But I know, as we all do, that those explanations are superficial…. I began seriously wondering if it was worth it. Then I thought back to the previous few days of climbing, moving up El Capitan, living on the wall, finding peace through action. Despite two wet nights, the bleeding fingers, and mental and physical fatigue, I could not think of a time that I was happier. Was it worth it?

…We often seek to have our successes define our image. We want to see ourselves, and want others to see us, in our best moments. However, it is our failures that often truly shape us. Warren Harding climbed The Nose in part because he missed out on the first accent of Half Dome. It is these times that force us to grow. We accept limitations, or gain the determination to overcome them, only after we find out where they are. I failed to climb El Capitan this time; epic fail in fact. But in the two weeks since the accident has happened I have had time to think. I have learned more about myself, my motivations, and my goals than I have in a long time. Our failures can define us in positive ways, just as much as our successes. In the past few years, I have become very well-defined. My name is Matthew Seymour, and I am a rock climber.”

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