Unfinished business: a trip back to where I left off
This summer, I felt ready.
I was going back to Pioneer Peak. Last year I got to the South Summit and back, after a fairly strenuous 10 hour-hike, over 12 miles and 6000 ft of elevation gain.
A ridge separates the South from the North Summit. There is only a 50 feet difference in height between the two summits, but I felt compelled to get to the top of the highest one. The ridge that separates the two peaks is pretty exposed and requires some fairly descent scrambling skills. I knew it could still be challenging but I wanted to try it.
We started our trip around 9 am.
Soon the rain started pouring. The climb up was straight forward, a vague memory of last year’s experience floating in my mind along the way.
After 5 hours, we finally reached the South Summit. Alas there was only fog around us. We could have been at sea level and wouldn’t know the difference. There was no trace of a North Summit, even less of a way to get there. Everything looked pretty sketchy and unpredictable.
In order to get to the ridge, one has to get down a steep slope consisting of scree and loose rocks. Everything was half covered in snow and very slippery.
And so we turned back… once again leaving something unfinished…
Nobody wants to hear that it is not the right time to accomplish something.
This is the kind of moment in your life when you have to balance out the risks from the rewards.
It is important to remember that it is okay to fail, if that means coming home safe.
There is always another day.
About the Author
Martin is a longtime Minus33 customer who enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, logging, backpacking, mountain climbing, and bouldering. He spends at least a day a week in the great outdoors of Alaska, summer or winter.
“It is pretty cold most of the year here in Alaska, which means that reliable clothing that can keep you warm no matter what the weather throws at you is very important, if not life saving at times.”