The Daily - June 10,2022 - 26

FEATURE
SO I SHOWED UP.
I GOT BEAT DOWN
MORE THAN EVER
BEFORE. TIRED,
HUNGRY, THIRSTY.
I TESTED THE
LIMITS OF MY BODY
AND MIND.
the alpine sky. Hiking below it, we
traversed nearly a mile along its
base. At the southern end, we put
on our climbing shoes and moved
upward to reverse the mile, this
time climbing along the knifeedge
of Matthes Crest. I followed
behind, unsure, questioning my
capacity to move across so much
exposed terrain without a rope.
My hands slotted precisely in the
crack, feeling each grain of rock, a
toe pressing on a crystal of quartz.
Move up, reach, connect with
the crack. One move more. One
perfectly executed move at a time,
the ground began to fall away.
Fifty feet, 100, 300 . . . Reaching
the crest, we moved northward,
hundreds of feet of air below to
the east and west. Blue sky and
the seemingly endless, sprawling
alpine peaks, lakes, meadows in all
directions. My breath was the only
sound to be heard.
Moving this way demanded
attention; it taught me awareness.
Moving my body through this space
created stillness in my mind. I was
no longer concerned with the insecurity
of wondering if I could do it.
The question was laid out across the
ridge, behind and in front of me. The
answer was each move.
I felt the buzz of being fully
awake for thousands of feet along
this ridge. The next climb was
planned by the time we walked
into camp that evening. The summer
strung together miles of granite,
endless movement, scrambles
and handjams across the Range of
Light. Absolute freedom.
The possibilities were limitless.
I began to explore with friends,
26
Lauren
Delauney Miller
then alone. I gained a deep understanding
of my body's movements
and capabilities, an awareness
of precision. I got scared,
got into places I wished I hadn't.
And got out of those places,
because I knew how. The Sierra
alpine was my playground, and I
felt that I could do anything.
But what could I do on the
Valley's big walls? Fueled by
curiosity about what was possible,
I set out again, this time with
that bucket list goal: to climb
El Cap. Wall climbing was still
hard, but it got easier. And after
a couple of routes on El Cap, the
goal became to climb it in a day.
Then, climb harder routes in a
day. And, can I climb it solo? Solo
in a day? How fast can I actually
climb it?
THEN QUINN FELL ON THE NOSE.
at this point there was a bolt
between us, but it didn't matter.
She fell past me, hitting ledges and
coming to a stop in the jumbled
boulders at the bottom of the
chimney. The rope never came
/ OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2022
tight. Perfection turned to catastrophe.
I thought she was gone.
I moved to her to stabilize
her and initiate the rescue. She
survived something that most
thought was unsurvivable. But her
back was broken. Her spinal cord
no longer communicates signals
below her midback.
What is it actually like to be up
there? Gorgeous. Awe-inspiring. Incredibly
fun! Terrifying. Awful. Stupid.
As the weeks passed, I tried
to climb again. I suffered from
visions of falling. A body (her
body, my body?) falling through
the air. I cried while top-roping
and could find zero motivation
for climbing. What is the point of
doing something so dangerous? I
began to ask: Is it worth it? How
could any of it be worth what
happened to Quinn? I had never
stopped to question if I should
do these things or why I wanted
to do these things. I just wanted
to know what I was capable of.
And I still wanted to know what
I was capable of. The goals were
still there, but the value was not.
Somewhere along the way my values
had become muddled with my
goals and it was no longer obvious
which stemmed from which. The
chicken or the egg?
Several of our friends decided
that it was not worth it for themselves.
I found myself morally
grappling. I had to climb. Didn't I?
But I felt like I could not say, " Yes,
it is worth it, " because it wasn't
fair. What happened to Quinn
did not happen to me. What
happened to me was different. I
felt only emptiness. Questioning
if it is worth it was like pulling on
bare threads. My sense of self was
beginning to unravel. It felt like an
impossible question.
" HAVE YOU MOURNED THE LOSS
of that person? " Madaleine was
referring to my former self: the
carefree, playful human who loved
scrambling through the mountains.
It was an interesting question. I
became curious about that person.
I couldn't be so carefree. I couldn't
unlive what I had been through,
from Quinn's accident to the loss of

The Daily - June 10,2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - June 10,2022

The Daily - June 10,2022 - CT1
The Daily - June 10,2022 - CT2
The Daily - June 10,2022 - Cover1
The Daily - June 10,2022 - Cover2
The Daily - June 10,2022 - 1
The Daily - June 10,2022 - 2
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The Daily - June 10,2022 - Cover3
The Daily - June 10,2022 - Cover4
The Daily - June 10,2022 - CT3
The Daily - June 10,2022 - CT4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailysm2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/may_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/april_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/march_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/december_2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020winter
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day3_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day2_summer2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018summer
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