We’ve all failed at some point, in some way, shape, or form. Some failures worse than others.
On the plus side, at least you actually made it to the summit!!!
My first big failure (and probably my most disastrous) was on G/DC-001 (High Willhays), a good few years ago now.
I’m embarrassed to even admit what happened because I literally got everything that I possibly could wrong, and it could have actually been quite dangerous.
Bear in mind that this happened well before I figured out map reading, navigation, correct clothing/equipment to carry, or hiking in general. Basically I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and this proved to be a very valuable lesson for me as I saw how badly it could go wrong.
Before this I had only ever done a couple of really small single point summits in the G/SE region which are generally not more than 10-15 minutes gentle stroll to the summit and the same back down again.
Rather stupidly I decided that I wanted to take on a much bigger summit. Truth be told, I was far from ready or prepared for it, and it was way outside of my capabilities at the time.
My decision to go was driven more by enthusiasm than common sense (driven on by two other extremely inexperienced hill walkers & radio amateurs who also decided to join me to give it a shot).
We got to the car park and the rain had stopped (it had been raining earlier). Forecast was good for the afternoon so decided not to bother taking waterproofs with us. After all, “it won’t take more than 20 minutes up and the same coming back down again” (famous last words).
30 minutes later we were hopelessly lost, way off course, the map had totally disintegrated in the horizontal rain and winds which we were struggling to even stand up in (and yes we did print the map off the computer on an A4 sheet of paper).
Three of us with no water proofs, wearing jeans, thin summer coats and trainers totally lost on Dartmoor!
We did eventually manage to find our way back to the car park nearly 1 1/2 hours later, freezing cold (shivering fairly violently and probably on the edge of hypothermia), covered in mud, totally humiliated and looking like three drowned rats!!!
We never even made it anywhere near the summit, let alone got on air and activated it.
10 years on with much more experience, a lot more common sense, a better education of the dangers/precautions to take and having successfully managed some of the larger summits in the Lake District and Wales without any dramas, I’ve itching to go back and conquer “the one that got the better of me” all those years ago.
Like I said I’m embarrassed to admit it because it was a classic example of trying to run before you can walk and I quite literally got everything wrong that it was possible to get wrong.
It does make a textbook example of how not to do a SOTA activation though, and we still laugh about it 10 years on. Could have been a lot worse though.