<photo: leaving base camp at dawn, and going on final summit climb to the peak of Mount Elbrus, southern Russia>
a base camp is a place where climbers gather their resources (food, equipment, supplies) before attempting to reach the summit of the mountain.
base camps are safe places where climbers can plan how to reach the peak - what routes to take, the role of each climber, what to do when an accident happens, and when to turn around.
to turn around means to give up without reaching the summit because it's too dangerous. making the decision to turn around is especially hard when the climbers have been training for months. that's why the time spent at base camp is important - so that the climbers can plan and commit to making tough decisions when the time comes.
being at base camp means that your purpose is clear - you want to reach the peak of the mountain that's overshadowing the base camp where you are at. your time at base camp also means that you are committed to planning, teamwork and safety - you won't try to reach the peak at all costs. you know when to turn around and live to come back and climb another day. for climbers, there is no shame in not reaching the summit.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain