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glassgowkiss

Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

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3 hours ago, Rad said:

Gene, it's easier if you flip it around. The chance of nothing happening in your model is 99%, or 0.99. The chance of nothing happening two days in a row is 0.99 x 0.99 = 0.98. The chance of nothing happening a hundred days is 0.99 to the 100th power. If you calculate this you get 36.6%. Which means there is a 63.3% chance something bad will happen if you climb 100 days with each day having a 1% chance of that bad thing happening.

My question makes it a bit more complicated than your scenario. I asked a math professor and got a good answer but I did not fully understand at the time. My question is what is the chance of the event (death) happening at some point in X trials. So it is the chance of death on first try plus second on and on till X times but also negating the future possibilities after the death event. Nothing simple about it. 😀

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On 3/10/2018 at 6:12 PM, glassgowkiss said:

Kind of ironic in those situations when people are concerned about safe return, after applauding big alpine solos in marginal conditions. Reminds me of mass shooting and "thoughts and prayers". Watching a whole generation of Poles die in different accidents, the truth about old and bold still stands.

 

Bob - I felt a personal connection through Marc's posting here and am sad about the potential loss of a sincerely nice dude who developed into a pretty good climber right before our eyes.  Not everyone has the ability to empathize and there's nothing wrong with that. 

Gene - Regarding the odds of risk, I believe there are way too many variables in climbing to be able to apply a number with any kind of accuracy.  

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Posted (edited)

My point is that even though situations like this one is sad, it's hardly surprising. Given track record of people, who solo big alpine routes, outcomes like this should be expected. 

On the other note after soling a bunch of crumbly and lose rock routes in the Rockies, Mark posted a "challenge" on FB, which was kind of disturbing (challenging others to beat your "record" wtf?). 

I personally have zero interest in watching films of Honold soloing Freerider or other redbullshit driven content. 

Edited by glassgowkiss
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I don't think "surprise" is the feeling or emotion anyone has here.  In fact..."surprise" isn't even in the lexicon of the event.   I don't see anyone here or even other sites who are concerned about "surprise".

I see concern.  I see sadness.  I see hope, but it fades with each passing day.

I understand your lack of interest of extremely dangerous things done untethered.  You aren't alone there.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, olyclimber said:

I see concern. 

And is my point. After soloing bunch of dangerous shit people usually will say: amazing, good job, great, inspiring and all such bullshit. Concern has only point if it is before not after the fact. Climbing, particularly alpine is inherently dangerous by nature. Having done my share of climbs in alpine in the past I would say I managed to get away with it on a couple of occasions. Back in march of 2002 or 03 I was nearly killed by an avalanche in the Rockies. While sitting in the cave behind ice curtain with two very experienced Calgary climbers we were discussing risk. One of them said: "oh well, if you get a chop, at least you were trying". My buddy and I looked at each other, both thinking wtf? Yes, there is admiration of risk among climbers, and there is a prevailing cavalier attitude about risks it carries. I am not the only person who is starting to speak out. Will Gadd wrote pretty extensive blog about accident he witnessed. In his text "The Grand Delusion" he sums things up quite well (here is a link to the text https://www.theactivetimes.com/grand-delusion). And here is from his blog in 2011: "For me I'm never going to use the word "tragedy" in reference to a climbing or mountain sports accident again. A tragedy is when a whole family gets killed by a drunk driver. A tragedy is when a little kid gets abused. A tragedy is when a 30-year old mother of two young kids gets cancer and dies. Dying while climbing, kayaking, paragliding, BASE jumping or any other form of outdoor recreation isn't a fucking tragedy, it's a clearly predictable result of doing the activity."

Edited by glassgowkiss

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No, you don't get to decide when "concern" is properly used or not according to your own arbitrary definitions.   Everyone has the right to be concerned in this case, and in every case when someone goes missing.   Do you not have concern when someone suicidal goes missing?  Concern can exist regardless of "why".

Do you want some committee reviewing all risks taken and when someone should get accolades or be shunned as suicidal daredevil? 

I agree with Jay, it must be the Eastern European mentality you carry with you that causes you to ceaseless argue a strange point of view to us Westerners.

I think your personal assessment that someone may be taking foolish risks and are receiving applause for something they shouldn't is a valid personal view point.  But that is all it is, a personally held view point.   It is a measure that you've set for yourself about how much risk is too much.  And I support you in telling people about it and let them know that you think they are crossing the line you have set....having "concern" if you will.  But it doesn't mean everyone (or even anyone) will agree with you.

 

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Your explanation of concern is on parr with watching a drunk getting behind a wheel of a car and learning he/she crashed into a tree. People who are suicidal usually suffer from mental illness spectrum (diagnosed or not) and nobody chooses to have mental illness, the very way people don't choose to have cancer. 

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I get it, you have your own narrow version definition of the word or you are choosing to only see it one way in this particular way.   I'm talking about concern as in caring for someone else's well being regardless of how they got there.   We might as well be speaking a different language.

I'll just leave it at this, and I  don't believe there is more fruit in this conversation for me:  I respect that you have a point of view about this. Good luck with your point of view.

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It doesn't need to be either or. We can grieve the loss of an inspiring climber AND shake our heads at the risks they took. Dean Potter is a case in point.

I, for one, am not past the grieving stage for Marc, even though I never met him. His loss tears a big hole in the fabric of our local climbing community.

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These guys got plenty of grief for the risk inherent in their FA on Johannesberg. 

 

 

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@Off_White  I think that TR is a clear demonstration how some people can view a climb as bold (and these are usually people who view risk as a personal thing).

And I also think @JoshK and others who agreed with him were also right and should be thanked for stating their own opinion about if the route should be included in 50 Classic Climbs of North America or not.  I totally appreciate their comments in pointing out the objective danger of that climb. I always appreciate folks like @lunger  and @rat who go out and climb something with high objective danger...if they share their TR, they are always honest about recommending it or not.    Here is an excerpt from their Hozomeen climb:

Quote

In an effort to give you a flavor for climbing the Pissburger Dihedral, here's a too-common scenario: launch from the belay, hope to protect it soon, find a crack behind a meager flake maybe 15-20' up. Maybe you put in an appropriate-looking nut, but a yank pulls right through as the flake expands. You slot in a crappy cam with a 1 in 50 chance of catching a leader fall, though if you whip it might slow you down, so you leave that mostly ornamental gear hanging there and hope for more soon. You wend, hem and haw to and fro and yonder, tapping and kicking holds to test. Up and right, back down; up and left, decide right is better; then up and right again. A number of deliberate, committing moves and 30-40 more perspiring feet above the ornament, you spy a small patch of vegetation in a faint corner. Out comes the compact ice tool. Scrape, scrape, scrape at this scratch card hoping to reveal a prize, only to find a shallow, flaring "crack"; try a nut, a sideways nut even - nope - maybe the tricam trick that 'worked' earlier will go here - nuh-uh. Poop your pants a little. Search the horizon for anything. Resolve to continue, ensuring you can reverse the moves. Higher still another ornamental piece gives you the false confidence to continue ... ok, so it's pretty much soloing.

 

 

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so...

...humans are not rational creatures, therefore it is irrational to expect them to act rationale?

 

 

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Posted (edited)

My name was mentioned above (I think).  It seemed in reference to my ability to stay alive and climb in the mountains.

Just to be clear: I’m alive because I’ve been lucky. No more, no less. Sure, I try to mitigate risk as much as possible, but when you are going for it in the mountains on a regular basis, the odds of an accident increase. Climbing is a dangerous sport. It always has been. Life is dangerous too. 

I know that for me, climbing and skiing in the mountains is absolutely worth it. That said, the pain is crushing when someone is lost. Absolutely crushing. I still don’t know how to make sense of it, but I’ve accepted that there are many things I’ll never wrap my head around in this lifetime. 

 

 

Edited by JensHolsten
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, JensHolsten said:

My name was mentioned above (I think).  It seemed in reference to my ability to stay alive and climb in the mountains.

Just to be clear: I’m alive because I’ve been lucky. No more, no less. Sure, I try to mitigate risk as much as possible, but when you are going for it in the mountains on a regular basis, the odds of an accident increase. Climbing is a dangerous sport. It always has been. Life is dangerous too. 

I know that for me, climbing and skiing in the mountains is absolutely worth it. That said, the pain is crushing when someone is lost. Absolutely crushing. I still don’t know how to make sense of it, but I’ve accepted that there are many things I’ll never wrap my head around in this lifetime. 

 

 

OK, that was me that toss you in there. LUCK you say? LUCK? Pfft. Jens it looks like I'll have to take your name off and sub in Reinhold Messner......(kidding). Not all luck. I will note that Messner noted that if you drill the correct procedures into your own head so many times that when you are exhausted and out of it and the shit has hit the fan (my summation), you still do the correct thing on autopilot that will still get you out alive. That is what luck can be for some and that luck pulled his fat out of the fire many many times. That said, I know luck played a big role in Messners life, as the well known story of Reinhold Messner and his late brother Gunner will attest to.  The pain of losing Gunner was crushing for him no question.

I think we all choose where we want our own risk level to be.  It certainly changes over time, but for some, it is much higher, and those of us still on the ground cradling our children watching others fly to new heights are shocked, impressed, astounded, upset, and a whole bunch of other things as well. It is about choices. No doubt.

In this instance, I suspect that they chose to go light and fast. If so, they were out of fuel and thus water days ago and a happy ending isn't to be I'm sorry to say. I hope I wrong and if that were my kid I'd be all over that area trying to get rescue personal in there......

Now, what was Bob saying again? Oh, Polish folks. Amazing. Slovakians and Russians at times as well. 

 

Here's something worth reading as well https://marcleclerc.blogspot.com/  I got to cook some rice up for dinner now. Take care all, and may they both found before the rice finishes. 

Edited by billcoe
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Bill, I think events have made it very clear to Jens that luck plays a huge role. We live in a state of denial around that because it helps us to function, but sometimes events strip that illusion away. Sure, training, prep, and all that ala Messner makes a difference, but it's a fallacy that we're in control and if we just make the right choices everything will work out fine and predictably.  For me, I think it was Craig Leubben's death in the relatlively mundane location of Torment's moat. a place many of us have been, that underlined the amount of random risk that defies preparation and planning.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Off_White said:

it's a fallacy that we're in control and if we just make the right choices everything will work out fine and predictably

This is my experience as well @Off_White.   I've lost rock solid partners to situations where it just as easily could have been me.

Thanks for those words @JensHolsten, I agree that there are some things we just won't understand this side of veil.

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I apologize and mean no disrespect. It's tough, as we all know, nothing I say will change any of that. There are a lot of nuances which we miss in making bold declarative statements, it's harder to type it than say it. I'll bow out now with that final note.

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20 minutes ago, billcoe said:

I apologize and mean no disrespect. It's tough, as we all know, nothing I say will change any of that. There are a lot of nuances which we miss in making bold declarative statements, it's harder to type it than say it. I'll bow out now with that final note.

Bill, you haven't said anything wrong and certainly don't need to apologize. We'd like you to stick around cc.com even if you're done in this thread. Peace

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4 hours ago, Off_White said:

Bill, I think events have made it very clear to Jens that luck plays a huge role. We live in a state of denial around that because it helps us to function, but sometimes events strip that illusion away. Sure, training, prep, and all that ala Messner makes a difference, but it's a fallacy that we're in control and if we just make the right choices everything will work out fine and predictably.  For me, I think it was Craig Leubben's death in the relatlively mundane location of Torment's moat. a place many of us have been, that underlined the amount of random risk that defies preparation and planning.

 

 

This has always stuck with me.  I was on that route a week prior to Leubben.  The last repel is locked in my memory.  Partner and I had to do something kind of sketchy.  The rope wouldn't make it completely over the schrund, so we had to kick off the wall, jump the moat, and drop off the end of the rope a couple of feet from its edge.  It was only a small drop off the rope.  I didn't think much of it.  In fact, it was exciting...fun even.  But then I remember hearing that someone died at that exact spot.  I was young at the time...easy to dismiss it and chalk it up to user error.  But, the older I get...the more my past decisions get reframed, and really terrify me.  How did I survive the learning curve?  No god damn idea.  All this to say that most of us on this forum have been in a situation that we survived that others didn't.  Surprise has nothing to do with it.  But empathy makes me feel the loss.  Because it could have easily been me.  Should have been me.  

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26 minutes ago, jordansahls said:

This has always stuck with me.  I was on that route a week prior to Leubben.  The last repel is locked in my memory.  Partner and I had to do something kind of sketchy.  The rope wouldn't make it completely over the schrund, so we had to kick off the wall, jump the moat, and drop off the end of the rope a couple of feet from its edge.  It was only a small drop off the rope.  I didn't think much of it.  In fact, it was exciting...fun even.  But then I remember hearing that someone died at that exact spot.  I was young at the time...easy to dismiss it and chalk it up to user error.  But, the older I get...the more my past decisions get reframed, and really terrify me.  How did I survive the learning curve?  No god damn idea.  All this to say that most of us on this forum have been in a situation that we survived that others didn't.  Surprise has nothing to do with it.  But empathy makes me feel the loss.  Because it could have easily been me.  Should have been me.  

It could or should have been any of us.  We're all lucky to be here.

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If I ever thought that luck played only a minimal role in surviving years of alpine climbing at a higher than average level of risk, this feeling was nothing that couldn't be altered by the compounding effects of a collection of personal close calls, and a long list of dead friends.

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, W said:

If I ever thought that luck played only a minimal role in surviving years of alpine climbing at a higher than average level of risk, this feeling was nothing that couldn't be altered by the compounding effects of a collection of personal close calls, and a long list of dead friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Miss you Mark, and miss your wit.  Hope you are well.

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19 hours ago, Off_White said:

These guys got plenty of grief for the risk inherent in their FA on Johannesberg. 

 

 

These guys got plenty of grief for the risk inherent in their FA on Johannesberg. 

 

Yes, yes we did. And for the Willis Wall climb as well.

I guess my position is that it's important to evaluate one's motivations for taking risks and, externally, to refrain from passing judgement on the severity of risks others take based on my abilities. Jens and I soloed a lot of unprotectable low-5th on those J-berg slabs. It was well within our abilities at the time and we'd done a lot of similar climbing together for years. At that point we didn't much need to talk to one another on-route, we just knew what the other would do. So while the consequence of an error was high and there was unavoidable objective danger (indeed, the slabs were swept by ice shortly after we got off them), we were able to move quickly and confidently through that section.

As far as motivation goes, it comes down to internal or external. My sense is that people taking increasingly high risks in order to get press, "spray" (to drag out an old term from this site), appease sponsors, get Instagram "likes", etc. are in a higher risk category, as are those who have become addicted to adrenaline. For me, over 25 years, the most helpful question has become, "Can I stop doing this?". If the answer is "no", then it's no less a risk that a drinking, drug, gambling, etc. problem. If the answer is "yes", then it is (for me, at least) important to do so occasionally. There was a period when I thought of myself as "Loren the climber". The first time I lost my climbing motivation for an extended period I had a bit of an identity crisis. The result was a reorientation of my self-concept; I am who I am regardless of what I do..."Loren. A person who climbs."

This connects to the idiotic and profoundly damaging "You complete me" movie idea. No one completes anyone, no one needs another *anything* to be complete. We are all entirely complete all the time. Start from a genuine embrace of that self-definition and the world is a brighter, more beautiful, less heavy place, where one can go have fun climbing and go have fun not climbing.

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First off. No offense taken Bill!! All good man, all good. Thx for pulling me in here :)

I know my answer is kinda simplistic, but for me, this viewpoint helps me understand my decisions about pursuing climbing. I don’t want any illusions. For me, they are a disservice. I really think it’s important to recognize my fragile mortality everyday. I think it’s important to be grateful everyday for health, love, and happiness. Step three is to get out there and do what you love while trying to stay as safe as possible. 

But like I said above, there are things I don’t understand. I don’t think any of us would ever want our climbing friends to not follow their dreams (maybe I’m wrong?), but the pain is nearly unbearable when a friend is lost. Sometimes our actions in the wake of an accident may seem desperate and that’s ok. We are only human. When a close friend dies your heart may shatter into a million pieces. I’ve come to believe it’s about gathering the pieces that were scattered and putting yourself together again. The pieces won’t fit together quite the same way and that’s ok. Give yourself time (lots of time!) and keep inching forward. Reach out to the people who love you and let them support you. 

This is all I got after losing friends to both sickness and mountain accidents. I watched my mother die of cancer and Chad died by my side in a horrific accident on Fitz Roy. Both deaths were very traumatic for me and understanding how I can continue living and loving has been the theme of my life the past 10 years. It’s been beyond hard, but I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. I love myself and I’m learning to own my story. It is a wild journey.

Sorry to take this thread a different direction. For me, I’ve been concerned about the boys in AK and I’ve applauded their climbing over the years too. As a lifelong climber still dedicated to the game, this seems totally natural to me. Just my take on it! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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