The book “Killing Lions” is a conversation between John and Sam Eldredge about the trials young men face.
[John] Do you feel that you can handle life? A woman? Your finances? Crisis when it hits? “I can handle this,” is the practical daily expression of a validated man.
[Sam] Bit by bit it’s happening. Last summer Susie and I had the opportunity to climb Mount Whitney (tallest peak in the contiguous 48) with some friends who had been planning on it for some time. We weren’t sure we would be able to go since all the spots were filled, so we didn’t really train for it. Then two days before the climb, the call came that two spots had opened up. I was jittery to say the least. I felt like the low man on the totem pole, the one who didn’t train, who was the least athletic (or so I felt), and I dreaded the coming weekend. Shame was crouching at the door: You’re going to wimp out. You can’t handle this. You won’t be able to summit.
When the climb actually came, the group decided to do the whole thing in one day; starting at base camp at 4:00 a.m. we would summit by early afternoon and be back down in time for dinner. Six hours into the climb we asked a group coming down if we were doing well, if we were even getting close. They laughed at us. We had four hours to go.
After ten grueling hours I was the first to summit. My group had been afflicted with altitude sickness, fatigue, and disorientation. By the end I was the only one who felt good enough to keep walking around on top; in fact, Susie and our friend Ryan both fell asleep immediately. At the end of the day I felt so validated, so strong. I had surprised myself and the members of our group by leading the way to the top.