For a little while, as we passed through Little Yosemite Valley, we had a stunning view of the back side of Half Dome. The view was intimidating but encouraging. The goal was in plain view and the very sight of it beckoned us onward. But as we progressed through the switchbacks that steadily climbed up, Half Dome was no longer visible because of the tall trees.
The switchbacks were a killer. I was second to last as the rest of the group, including Rosemarie, went on. The only person left behind me was Mike, and he eventually passed me too.
I found myself having to stop every few feet or so to catch my breath because of the steep incline and altitude. People passed me left and right. I was going so slow that I didn’t think I’d ever make it to the top. Worse, I thought that if I did at least make it to Sub Dome, I would be too exhausted to even consider going up that last set of stone steps, let alone the Half Dome cables. I was also mindful of the fact that I was terribly afraid of heights.
Whenever someone passed me on the trail, I felt worse. Discouragement settled in and took hold of me.
Maybe this was a bad idea after all. I’m not in the best shape and look how I’m huffing and puffing. The group is probably already on top of the dome by now.
Those thoughts alone tempted me to quit right there. I noticed all the slender and healthy-looking people passing me by.
I can’t move that fast. I should never have fooled myself into believing I could do this. Who was I kidding?
Despite the agony I felt and the negative thoughts warring against me, I continued placing one foot in front of the other, up the switchbacks that grew increasingly difficult. I literally felt like I was going to die. And I wasn’t going to die happy.
I am so disappointed in myself for doing this. I came all this way and I’m not even going to make it to the top. I thought I had trained and prepared enough, but apparently, I didn’t.
I pressed on further, hurting in every way, remembering how badly I wanted to conquer Half Dome and place my rock at the top as a memorial. The rock! Yes! I had to take the rock to the top of Half Dome. It was my mission. I couldn’t give up on that. Yet, my body screamed as I tried to go further. I pretty much convinced myself that the others were probably waiting for me at Sub Dome and were upset that I was taking so long and holding them up.
Prior to the hike, our leaders, Lynn and Neil, suggested that everybody wait at Sub Dome so that we could all go up together as a group. I certainly didn’t want to turn back while they were waiting and expecting me to show up, so I continued on.