22 minutes ago
Reaching deep into the summer archives just to remember this moment with a subpar photo that doesn’t at all match what was actually happening.
this was taken shortly before we began our final descent off mt. wood in montana - the state’s second highest peak. we turned away from the summit roughly 200 vertical feet from the top. darkening skies and questionable terrain led us to making the difficult decision to turn back - our first miss of the summer. and thus begins the most hellish descent of our lives.
we bushwhacked, scrambled, and crawled back to our base camp with little food and no water. our summit push had taken way longer than expected, as we had to make our own trail in a lightly traveled area. fueled by talk of milkshakes and french fries, we finally collapsed back into base camp but were still 6 miles from the sweet release of our car. we went to the lake to filter water and eat whatever we had left, tending to our swollen, blistered feet as best we could.
after this brief respite, we hoisted our packs back up and began the final six mile hike out, with afternoon rain storms quickly approaching. this photo was snapped just as we left our base camp, well aware these last six miles would hurt.
on that day, we thought the fact that we didn’t summit mt. wood signified some sort of failure. today, we know that being able to smile, hoist our packs back up, and trek on after a disappointment is the only thing that matters.