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Friends, I just want to say that I'm okay, and will be assessing just what happened as the weekend moves on. Suffice to say, I fell far short of my expectations. I made the decision that it would have been unwise for me to continue on last night and turned around just before the first summit. While this turning point represents a third of the elevation profile and more than a third of the distance, the fact that I did not "bag" the first peak, smarts. The temps were in the 30s, and for reasons I'll have to consider I was slowing down to a such an extent that it was going to be progressively more difficult keeping warm; heading ever further "out there" felt unsafe at that point.
I am honored by the fact that you all believe—as much as I do—in completing the 24n24, and hope that you see this as just a setback. I may have to put it off until next month, and will likely decide to tackle it in a counterclockwise direction, starting in the morning. There are several advantages to this other direction that I thought were not significant enough to warrant it, but I may indeed have been mistaken. I've no doubt that someone else could tackle the course as I'd laid out, but there are very real challenges in taking the initial 6000 climb while the body is wanting to shut down for the night. (This was one of the contributing factors last night, and made my footsteps less sure than typical, and unsafe for me over the rocks.)
I am humbled by the limitations I met out there; surprised by them, and frustrated by them since I'd climbed these trails so often before with starkly different results. The temptation is call this a failed attempt and leave it at that. It is all too easy to say this is about one single event—but it is much more than that. In a way, I've been climbing the mountains of this epic for several months, learning how to inspire and be inspired. That I've fallen short, is what it is. I am sorry for this. Especially all the efforts that were poured into the news coverage, were they for naught? I can only hope not.
I'm feeling a bit lost right now (got back at close to 4 this morning), but should have more to offer later.