It’s no doubt that we find ourselves as humans seeking thrill. The internet has only escalated our need for thrill. We see professional athletes doing amazing things everyday on the internet. Alex Honnold has brought the sport of free solo climbing to the forefront of everyone’s minds. We get ourselves into scenarios that can turn from good to REALLY bad with a simple choice.
So where do the choices start?
Think about a time that you got into a position in the backcountry where you made one bad choice, or even a series of choices that ended up not being the best. It then put you into that cliche, “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” Just like our outdoor movie star, James Franco, oh wait, isn’t his name Aron… who got famous and made a bunch of money off of ultimately a series of bad choices.
Some choices start from the very beginning of an outdoor experience. Where you plan to go. What you plan to do. Long before you ever step foot into the backcountry. One of my favorite stories is of climbers Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, and two other friends, who ended up being kidnapped by Islamic militants in Kyrgyzstan. While doing some big wall climbing there, they were sleeping in their portaledges, and woke up to militants shooting at them. The rest of that story is incredible, and the fact that they were able to get home to America alive. As extreme and uncommon as this example may be, it does illustrate how easy it can be to make a simple choice, and then evaluate the course of events that take place after that.
No need to beat the horse anymore than I already have. But think about it. Think about the series of choices that you make when you go into the backcountry. How often do you stop, think, and analyze a situation before you execute, or even step away. What’s the risk factor? What heuristic elements influence your decision making? What’s more important, getting the rush of adrenaline or making sure that you come home at night unharmed and safe? What risks are worth taking?
With the upmost respect for the events that took place, I leave major details out. A good friend of mine, and a legend in the Utah climbing scene, Shingo Ohkawa recently suffered from a fall in Little Cottonwood canyon, in Utah. Through a series of events, he is lucky to be alive, and continuing to share his love for the outdoors. A series of events that lead to him being lowered off the end of the rope and a 30 foot ground fall. Even the professionals have the worst happen to them. Were just glad Shingo is alive and well, after a very scary accident.
Long story short, just be smart out there my friends! Make sure you look at all the angles and weigh all probable cause. One simple choice could be the last choice you make. We love the outdoors because it’s what fuels us, it’s what we live for. But in order to continue to enjoy that feeling, and love, we just need to be smart about being back there and do it right the first time. Be safe my friends!