Lots of excellent commentary here - thoughtful and insightful posts. VFTT does not see anywhere near the quantity of chatter that certain FB groups do, but the quality here is really on a different level. Keep on keepin' on, friends!
I feel your pain, Daytrip and others. Reminds me of a solo trip I did a couple of years ago: headed up to Nauman, dropped my overnight gear and then headed out towards Washington with the plan to just go as far as I felt like going. I think it was 3 winters ago, the last weekend of winter, when it hit something like 60 degrees at the observatory! Freakishly warm weather. I took a nap on Ike. Like, the top of Ike. In the 'winter.' As background, I've attempted a winter Presi-traverse backpack on 4 occassions now over the past 10-ish years, north to south, and the farthest I've made it is midway up Monroe before bailing. In each case, the weather has turned epic one or two or three days in, as it is wont to do. But on that weekend, I was hanging out on Monroe, just basking in the sun and warm weather, and a group comes by, can't stop talking about how they're about to complete a single day winter presi-traverse, WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! SO HARDCORE!!!! Ohmygod, I was dying. Sierra, you're right on, couldn't agree more with what you wrote, but at that particular moment, I just wanted to scream, 'It doesn't count, this is not winter, YOU DON'T GET TO HAVE BRAGGING RIGHTS!!!!' I didn't. I sipped my hot gatorade, ate my grilled cheese, nibbled a chocolate bar and let them pass.
The reality, at least for me, is that those feelings were born of insecurity. Somewhere deep in my psyche, I was insecure about the fact that that group was about to complete an itinerary that I had bailed on on 4 seperate occassions. Well, single day vs. backpack (which I think is harder), but same idea. It's goofy, on so many levels, that I would feel insecure about my 'accomplishments' or lack thereof in the mountains. I don't go to the mountains to 'compete' and to 'accomplish', at least I didn't think I did, but there it was.
I've thought about it a lot, but truth be told I'm not completely certain what draws me to the mountains. I think it's a lot of factors. But this 'competition' thing is a motivator I've actively tried to erase from my psyche, and I've found myself enjoying my experiences even more. Eliminating just that little bit of nagging negativity and insecurity has made already amazing experiences just that much better; I don't bother wondering if someone somewhere is having an even more amazing experience. Before that weekend in the southern Presis, I'm not sure I could have pinpointed the source of that negativity, but having thought about it a bit (I mean, it should not be possible to feel anything other than bliss when sitting on Monroe with all the beauty of a winter landscape and none of the cold harshness), I'm convinced that, for me, bringing competition into my hiking is almost universally negative.