I know I brought up this point in class, but I feel like it is one worth looking at again with more clarity. On pg. 85, Ann says: "The challenge of going off on a contrived quest in a frozen world paled next to the very real challenge these people faced in eking out an existence for themselves and their children. The sadness of that contrast did not escape me."
Her awareness is admirable, though it brings up a number of crucial points. As Claire said on day 1, these adventures are, by any non-first world standards, "stupid." By this, I take her to mean that these trips cost thousands of dollars and put many lives at risk, without a substantial goal other than (perhaps!) the egotistical satisfaction of the "conquer."
It is for this reason that I found Ann's motivation far more admirable than those we have read so far. In describing her trip to the North Pole, she says that as they neared their goal, she and a member of her team felt a certain emptiness. Perhaps it was the same emptiness that Arlene Blum referred too in the intro to her book, where she noted that summit was simply a place to a stand for a moment, before your footsteps are blown away. "The emptiness," Ann said, "came from not having a full purpose beyond my own ambition" (20). She later said that if her trip could even impact two or three kids, she would feel successful. I think that is her way of keeping her footprint at her destination, long after the natural elements have blown it away, and I'd like to think in the return from their expedition, she felt none of the emptiness this time.