Added by Jamie:
I was completely immobilized by fear. My body was shaking, tears were welling in my eyes, and both my stomach and head were killing me (from either subjecting my body to the altitude or starting to go into a complete panic). Here I am at 13,500 feet on the side of Mt. Eolus, cold and afraid.
One part of me was trying to tell my brain to stop thinking and just to man up and do it. We were going to be fine, the drop to the right and left of me were not that bad.
The other part was telling me that I did not have to prove anything to anyone else and that it was just myself at the end of the day to make a judgement.
I decided to turn around and not summit Mt. Eolus that day.
To talk about failure is extremely hard and it is something that a lot of us deal with quite regularly. For me, each time I fail I learn something about myself and how to prepare next time.
For Mt. Eolus, my failure came from the lack of preparation for both my mental and physical self.
This trip was my first 14-er and only my second backpacking trip ever. Being a newcomer, I relied heavily on the advice of the person leading the trip (an individual who had also been there before). This action proved to be a mistake for several reasons. The biggest of those is that I should have researched that trip more and done what I needed to prepare myself properly. It was completely unfair to put that burden on another person. This mistake is something that I will never do again.
You are your own driver.
Both mentally and physically. Had I known what my body needed to complete this trip successfully, my experience may have been completely different.
Do not be ashamed.
I have never once doubted my choice at that moment. It would have been unwise for me to put myself and others in a situation that could easily have become unsafe.
Listen to yourself.
There is such a thing as pushing past your limits to achieve a goal. You must make that choice on where those limits are.
This trip will always stay with me. Not only do I make sure that I am completely prepared for the journey in front of me (no matter how small) but also tell others the realities of the trips we take. Where others may say it is a cakewalk, I remind them that they are a different person and that they have their own limitations and expectations. Ultimately this trip is a reminder that only YOU can push yourself and only YOU can make the personal judgment at the end of the day.