When the objective is just an excuse

When the objective is just an excuse

I started thinking the other day about objectives.
I have always thought that the objective is the goal and motivation of any endeavor, and reaching it is the difference between success and failure. However, since my job these days give time for plenty of introspection, I have come to reevaluate this definition.

Let me start from the beginning and bear with me, hopefully this will all make sense before the end of this post. A few weeks ago I, Mattias and Erik woke up in Hunddalshyttan, a small hut at 68°N, strategically placed in an alpine valley guarded by peaks and glaciers.
Rise and shine! We are going to skin all the way to the bottom of the valley, turn left, climb 1200m or so, scramble along a narrow ridge, ski down and skate back. Puh...

Once the tedious flat bit was disposed of, we had a bit of elevation to gain.

Saelgatjokka, the peak to the right, is where our climb end and more flat skinning starts before we reach Järnkammen

Luckily, after a while we got a few distractions.

Great views of endless possibilities. Mattias is pointing towards Järnkammen, our objective for the day.

And the closer we got, the scarier it looked. And HELL YEA, I want to ride that face, even though it is steeper than it looks in this picture. A future objective for sure.

Helmets on kids, time to bring out the ropes and all that climbing gear we have been hauling around for hours.

A short downclimb later, and this is what I am looking at.

Unfortunately, just a little bit ahead, by the big bare rock in the picture above, the snow was too rotten to be passed in a safe way, despite all our climbing gear.

Nothing left to do but to retrace steps up the short pitch we just downclimbed.

On the way out, we treated ourselves to a bonus lap on the south face of Sealgatjokka...

...before going over the summit and going down the north face in good snow conditions.

Another one of Mattias cranking a good tele turn
Back at the hut, 10 hours or so after departure, we enjoyed a good dinner and watched the peaks turn red in the setting sun.

To come back at least somewhat to where I started, this was an epic day. It was the only day of the trip with good weather, and the snow was great to boot. We spent probably seven or eight hours on skins, a couple of hours faffing around with anchors and ropes, a few minutes climbing and precious few seconds skiing, which would otherwise be the sensible activity given the conditions. To top it off, we did not reach our objective, not even close. We managed to travel awfully few meters of that ridge before we called it quits. And still I count it as a great day, probably the best of the season (which this year for me unfortunately does not really say much).
That makes me think, maybe the actual reaching of the objective is not that important.

Maybe the important thing is to go out there, be with friends, push the limits, see the views, get scared and tired and most importantly, make it back home? If an objective is needed for me to do those things, then it is an important part of the equation for sure. But if the objective is reached or not does not define if a day is good or bad. Good friends do, and getting home does even more so.