Mary Grace Stocker
Yosemite National Park
I am humbled. I've learned a lot the past four days while aid soloing Skull Queen, a route on Washington Column. I sang, laughed, cried, screamed and climbed in the silence of the vertical wilderness. I only took 2.5 gallons of water for a presumed 2.5 days...but it took me 4 days to figure everything out and top out. As I climbed excited yet thirsty and scared, I looked down and saw the trees shrinking. I was humbled by the process of learning.
I almost bailed at one point but I plopped on my portaledge and read the first chapter to Beverly Johnson's biography. As I sat crying trying to muster up courage to continue on, I was inspired by these words: "It took her ten days to [aid solo] climb the wall. Her motivation had been in the journey, not the achievement. Beverly had chosen a life defined by the explorer's maxim, driven by the process of discovering rather than the triumph of discovery. But that life had hard edges. Though she experienced ten days in the middle of a sea of rock blanketed by an ocean of sun and stars, she emerged on the summit smiling but exhausted, victorious but scarred."