Don_Serl Posted December 18, 2009 Share Posted December 18, 2009 well, has this cheerful conversation seen its end? Jake, when you participate in a potentially fatal activity, unless you can look the 'cheerful' facts in the eye, absorb them, understand them, accept them, and make them part of your ongoing judgement set, you're just playing Russian roulette. i had personal experiences 25 to 30 years ago that opened my eyes to the extent to which i was 'climbing blind', and i changed the way i thought about, and participated in, my climbing activities. i'm still alive in large part due to luck and good fortune, but an active engagement with risk assessment deserves some credit too. any and all conversations that pass information around amongst the climbing community can contribute to keeping people alive. and the 'uncomfortable' subjects are often the ones most useful to talk about... also, mountains don't kill people. you're right, people die on mountains, the mountains don't kill them in the way people kill people. my use of the phrasing 'killer' mountains is a combination of anthropomorphism, poetic licence (again), and sensationalism. mea culpa. on the other hand, mountain DO present objective hazards: bad weather, rock-fall, avalanches, serac collapses, altitude illnesses, etc. the mountains can indeed 'kill', in an absolutely impersonal but very active way. it's tempting to personify these attributes in an attempt to understand them. this is an error in intellectual rigour, and dangerous: i reckon the danger comes from following a logic path that runs something like "these activities have some 'live-ness'; therefore they are susceptible to reason; therefore i have some degree of control (or at least a better chance of accurate analysis) than if they were fully inanimate." that, of course, is flatly not true. but it IS possible to improve your ability to analyze mountain hazards, and to therefore increase your chances of survival. exposure to information about risk factors is important in this process, so again, I'd defend discussion of uncomfortable aspects of our sport. fact is, I reckon it's crucial. if the act of personifying the outcome is labelling as 'killer' mountains Himalayan peaks where your chances of death are about 1 per 20 successful ascents, perhaps the impact is worth the illogic. the big peaks are superbly attractive, but they're also hideously dangerous. if you're headed off to climb in places such as these and you haven't thought thru and come to terms with the possibility of your death (and prepared for the consequences and impacts on those around you), you're not 'living right'. apologies for the thread drift... cheers, Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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