“Come on!” she screamed, but her tiring arm would not respond. With a frustrated cry, her grip loosened completely and her body swung backward. The harness and belay rope caught her, suspending her in midair, her swears echoing around her.

“I can’t do it!” she shouted down to her belay partner, glaring at her failure of a right hand. “I can’t. I’ve tried so many times and I can’t get there!” She felt tears fill her eyes and she growled.

“You’re not going to make it to the top on your first day,” her partner replied, gently lowering her down. “No one does.”

“I’m not everyone else,” she hissed as she found her feet and stood to unhook the harness. “I want to be up there with the best.”

“There is no ‘best’ at this,” he said, gathering her into his arms. “No one has ‘mastered’ this. There are no winners because this isn’t about winning. This is about defeat, and overcoming it to make it further than you did the last time.”

“What about the ones who make it to the top?”

“They just find a higher peak.”

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