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genepires

"stop telling ourselves lies about the risk"

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Is this like the dead people I have known chest beating thread now?

 

Nah, just a personal accounting of some friends that have died and how they passed. The most tragic was my friend who died mountain biking. He left a wife and an 11-year-old son behind. He was also my age, which was a real eye-opener at the time. It fully revealed to me as an adult the true impermanence of existence and the need to stretch every moment for all it's worth. Prior to that I was still working under the assumption that I was an immortal youth and I hadn't yet fully processed the interconnectedness of life and death on a personal level.

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climbing has fewer risks than skiing when one looks at the kind of joint damage--knees in particular--typical in long time skiers.

 

my shoulder, which is going to have to be repaired soon, begs to differ

 

Had a shoulder "rebuilt" in '09. Injured in a motorcycle accident originally and aggravated through the years by rock climbing and a pretty serious fall on ice while nordic skiing in '08... It's good as new now though :tup:

 

Hope you can avoid surgery on that shoulder minx. It hurt. A lot. Find a good PT if you haven't already...

 

d

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thanks Doug

 

probably not going to be able to avoid the surgery. still trying PT though. my X went through 2 shoulder surgeries. After watching him in the days after it, i am NOT looking forward to it. that experience has totally freaked me out.

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I thought this was interesting:

 

"Using widely available public data we can compare whitewater paddling against a number of familiar activities. Its accident rate ranked well below those reported for recreational swimming (2.6) and for bicycling (1.6) Whitewater kayaking had a higher fatality rate, 2.9 per 100,000. This ranks well below well below the figures of 3.5 for scuba diving and 3.2 for rock climbing. Whitewater paddling thus falls near the bottom of the risk sport family, and kayaking sits comfortably in the middle. Looking at the big picture, 62 fatalities among whitewater paddlers comprises about .026% of the total drownings in this country (2400) each year."

 

I found this interesting because it's totally at odds with my own assessment of the relative risk level in rock climbing and whitewater kayaking (kayaking feels at least an order of magnitude more dangerous to me because of the nature of the risks, and it seems like I've had personal connections to more people that have died kayaking than climbing, despite the number of people I know in each activity being roughly the same).

 

After reading JosephH's posts (which I enjoyed quite a bit, BTW) I found myself thinking it'd be the antithesis of his kind of risk because it requires making 100% committed, totally un-reversible decisions about risk on the basis of information that can never be perfect, all of the critical variables are intensely dynamic, and can't ever be known with 100% certainty.

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After reading JosephH's posts (which I enjoyed quite a bit, BTW) I found myself thinking it'd be the antithesis of his kind of risk because it requires making 100% committed, totally un-reversible decisions about risk on the basis of information that can never be perfect, all of the critical variables are intensely dynamic, and can't ever be known with 100% certainty.

I don't need 100% to commit to an unreversable set of moves - I just need to be able to convince myself I'm in the ballpark. I free climb over a lot of marginal pro on FAs and have taken no shortage of 50+ footers over the years. It is a fine line though and I've backed off of as many of those situations as I've pushed.

 

Edit: I should state that I'm ridiculously rational when climbing - in fact, turning off thinking and evaluating is probably my biggest challenge in a clutch along with breathing which I often forget to do. That as opposed to my old partner who in a clutch could sort of roll his eyes back, get almost malevolently primitive with a strange breathing pattern - when you saw that you knew you were with the best possible rope gun in circumstances where you both might die. I've always been alternately somewhat frightened and envious of him in that regard.

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climbing has fewer risks than skiing when one looks at the kind of joint damage--knees in particular--typical in long time skiers.

 

my shoulder, which is going to have to be repaired soon, begs to differ

 

Sorry to hear that Minx, on the positive side, I have a good friend who had shoulder surgery at our age and it turned out just fine, just took a bit of time to recover.

 

He does have the knack for letting an injury heal tho, one of the many fringe benefits of having a non-climbing life too. So just get it done! You'll be that closer to recovery.

 

I've just seen A LOT more carnage in full contact sports, that's all, and there are full contact climbs out there.

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After reading JosephH's posts (which I enjoyed quite a bit, BTW) I found myself thinking it'd be the antithesis of his kind of risk because it requires making 100% committed, totally un-reversible decisions about risk on the basis of information that can never be perfect, all of the critical variables are intensely dynamic, and can't ever be known with 100% certainty.

I don't need 100% to commit to an unreversable set of moves - I just need to be able to convince myself I'm in the ballpark. I free climb over a lot of marginal pro on FAs and have taken no shortage of 50+ footers over the years. It is a fine line though and I've backed off of as many of those situations as I've pushed.

 

Edit: I should state that I'm ridiculously rational when climbing - in fact, turning off thinking and evaluating is probably my biggest challenge in a clutch along with breathing which I often forget to do. That as opposed to my old partner who in a clutch could sort of roll his eyes back, get almost malevolently primitive with a strange breathing pattern - when you saw that you knew you were with the best possible rope gun in circumstances where you both might die. I've always been alternately somewhat frightened and envious of him in that regard.

My observation wasn’t so much about the absolute magnitude of the risk, but the nature of the risk and the decision-making process that goes into mitigating it. I’m sure that the objective risks associated with the routes that you climb are substantial and would be lethal to a large swath of the climbing world, but you seem to have a adopted a highly systematic approach to mitigating the risks that reduces them to a level that you’re comfortable with.

 

Like most people who have spent some time climbing, I’ve been in irreversible situations everywhere from crag routes to alpine walls – but getting to the point of maximal risk was an incremental process with multiple checkpoints that offered abundant opportunities re-evaluate key decisions, contemplate alternate strategies, which have normally included backing off - before becoming irreversibly committed. E.g. lots of little decisions that generally allow for at least a few seconds of thought between them.

 

In whitewater (at least in my experience) the risk evaluation process generally boils down to one big, irreversible decision followed by a burst of highly reflexive actions in a dynamic environment where the sensory inputs are changing way too fast to process consciously. The medium changes so quickly, the hazards are so deceptive, and the extent to which it’s possible to stay 100% in control at all times (a big part of the game is assessing the consequences of losing control beforehand) is so much more limited that the real-time, algorithmic, lossless risk processing that you seem to groove on (at least from your posts)just isn't possible.

 

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My observation wasn’t so much about the absolute magnitude of the risk, but the nature of the risk and the decision-making process that goes into mitigating it. I’m sure that the objective risks associated with the routes that you climb are substantial and would be lethal to a large swath of the climbing world, but you seem to have a adopted a highly systematic approach to mitigating the risks that reduces them to a level that you’re comfortable with.

 

Like most people who have spent some time climbing, I’ve been in irreversible situations everywhere from crag routes to alpine walls – but getting to the point of maximal risk was an incremental process with multiple checkpoints that offered abundant opportunities re-evaluate key decisions, contemplate alternate strategies, which have normally included backing off - before becoming irreversibly committed. E.g. lots of little decisions that generally allow for at least a few seconds of thought between them.

 

In whitewater (at least in my experience) the risk evaluation process generally boils down to one big, irreversible decision followed by a burst of highly reflexive actions in a dynamic environment where the sensory inputs are changing way to fast to process consciously. The medium changes so quickly, the hazards are so deceptive, and the extent to which it’s possible to stay 100% in control at all times (a big part of the game is assessing the consequences of losing control beforehand) is so much more limited that real-time, algorithmic, lossless risk processing that you seem to groove on (at least from your posts).

Oh, got it - no, you are absolutely right. It wasn't discovered that I was severely myopic until I was almost thirteen. Prior to that I literally wandered about oblivious in a diffuse ADHD haze. Because of that I never adapted to any form of speed, be it me moving (carnival rides - horrifying) or, god forbid, spheroid objects flying in my direction out of random three-dimensional space (always too late). Along with that my ability to keep pace with, and react to, fast-changing circumstances could at best be called 'paralytic'.

 

And that's what I like about rock climbing - rocks are seldom turbulent, cagey, or moving faster than I can keep up with. Hell, I get moving faster than I can keep up with sometimes (breathing) and as a result I by and large limit my exposure to those mediums where I can evaluate and approach them at my own glacial speed. At one point I did [briefly] learn to ski steep runs (there was a woman involved), but to be honest, I would have much preferred it if there had been a red button on the top of the right ski pole that I could push at any time and just make it all stop. Similarly with bikes, in college I ran into the back of a parked car at night while thinking about something else entirely in not one, but two separate incidents six months apart. Luckily both were dark fastbacks which is why they got away from me; it was early in my Darwinian "be here now" phase.

 

But I did grow up on a river and took enough rides down it in all weather conditions to know I have no business doing whitewater - the only hope I would have would be to just give myself over to the river and hope for the best. Somehow I don't think it works like that. Windsurfing is the only speed sport I do, but there I can always let out the sail and stop even on my 2.8m in a 60kt wind (big waves at the coast are another matter altogether). Oh, and in college I did manage to sort out barefoot water-skiing, but that really didn't involve much more than holding on and abusing yourself.

 

All of the above is why I tend to see things in a very binary way as subjective (under my control) or objective (not under my control) as well as either static (rock) or dynamic (mountains). I can fine-tune my own game under static/subjective circumstances (rock climbing) and suck to a greater or lesser extent at the various dynamic/objective ones. And with rock climbing there are added bonus points for the fact that year-in, year-out the rocks are, for the most part, in exactly the same place as the last time I was out.

 

As for motorcycles - PNW drivers are utterly frightening on so many levels even on blue sky days when you're in a car. Exposing yourself to them out in the open on a bike or motorcycle seems completely insane. Baby jebus christ, to encounter worse drivers you have to go to FL and AZ retirement communities filled with New Yorkers who never drove before retiring.

 

And don't even get me started about horses...

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I wonder where motorcycles fit in the hierarchy of risky sports?

 

Gotta be right up there with the best (worst?) of em...

 

And yes, I continue to ride. Some people never learn...

 

d

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I had a climbing partner who gave up trying to make it as a climbing photographer to shoot auto and motorcycling racing - big sponsors, more money. Anyway, he said motorcycle racing was way more dangerous than climbing.

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I had a climbing partner who gave up trying to make it as a climbing photographer to shoot auto and motorcycling racing - big sponsors, more money. Anyway, he said motorcycle racing was way more dangerous than climbing.

So is DH mtn biking.

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I climbed with a guy a few times who was way into DH mtn biking and he was always breaking something.

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In general life is dangerous, particularly food:

"But more than 910,000 Americans still die of heart disease annually, according to the American Heart Association. And more than 70 million Americans live every day with some form of heart disease, which can include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, angina (chest pain), heart attack and congenital heart defects."

Percentage wise people are more likely to die from heart attack, stroke or diabetic complications, then all the risky activities combined.

 

Edited by glassgowkiss

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I climbed with a guy a few times who was way into DH mtn biking and he was always breaking something.

Started riding at Whistler last summer. Yes, it is a high risk activity, but a lot of accidents are due to stupidity and not developing proper technique. I usually ride at about 75% and rode 36 days without any fractures.

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"I just don't want to die without a few scars, I say. It's nothing anymore to have a beautiful stock body. You see those cars that are completely stock cherry, right out of a dealer's showroom in 1955, I always think, what a waste."

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"For years now I have had the same experience: I am working, sitting in a chair, the electric lights playing across my table or desk. I feel the bones snapping in my body and think my entire life at the moment is safe, useless, and like many another. I sense that I can manage, if I mind my manners, to squander all my days and nights and die in bed confirming what I never believed. And that this act will win approval. From everyone, including me. I see myself dead, properly dead. Perhaps kind lies are being said about me. My bones are snapping."

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"For years now I have had the same experience: I am working, sitting in a chair, the electric lights playing across my table or desk. I feel the bones snapping in my body and think my entire life at the moment is safe, useless, and like many another. I sense that I can manage, if I mind my manners, to squander all my days and nights and die in bed confirming what I never believed. And that this act will win approval. From everyone, including me. I see myself dead, properly dead. Perhaps kind lies are being said about me. My bones are snapping."

eleanor roosevelt? :)

 

seriously, what am i lying to myself about again? climbing's dangerous, duh, but that doesn't mean the risks can't generally be managed, that other things are necessarily less like to kill me, or that i'd be happy any other way...

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I wonder where motorcycles fit in the hierarchy of risky sports?

 

a.k.a Donorcycles a.k.a. Suicycles

 

aka riding a war pony that goes from 0 to 100 in notmuchflat...with unlimited free parking.

 

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"For years now I have had the same experience: I am working, sitting in a chair, the electric lights playing across my table or desk. I feel the bones snapping in my body and think my entire life at the moment is safe, useless, and like many another. I sense that I can manage, if I mind my manners, to squander all my days and nights and die in bed confirming what I never believed. And that this act will win approval. From everyone, including me. I see myself dead, properly dead. Perhaps kind lies are being said about me. My bones are snapping."

 

Stephen Hawking's got a new book out?

 

Too long for the fridge. I'll have to hang this one in the shitter next to "you are a child of the universe..."

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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http://c535846.r46.cf2.rackcdn.com/anam_2007.pdf

 

The Accidents in North American summation provides some interesting reading. For example there were fewer accidents in Alaska than Washington in the last 65 years but those involved were more likely to be killed. Under "Contributory Causes" climbing unroped and exceeding abilities ranked highest followed by inadequate protection placed. This leads me to think about the hubris that most climbers are guilty of at some time or another such as thinking that we have the situation under control when in reality we are walking a razor's edge.

Edited by bonathanjarrett

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I had two events within 3 months that fit your "climbing unroped and exceeding abilities". Shame it took two lessons but those two did change how I did things in the mountains.

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"For years now I have had the same experience: I am working, sitting in a chair, the electric lights playing across my table or desk. I feel the bones snapping in my body and think my entire life at the moment is safe, useless, and like many another. I sense that I can manage, if I mind my manners, to squander all my days and nights and die in bed confirming what I never believed. And that this act will win approval. From everyone, including me. I see myself dead, properly dead. Perhaps kind lies are being said about me. My bones are snapping."

 

As if there is no middle ground.

 

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Less than an hour ago, I somehow survived a sliding wreck on my motorbike with a speeding car at an intersection. It just reinforces the notion that there are plenty of survival opportunities not only in the mountains, but in mundane urban environments as well. Makes ya think 'bout G_d as well.

 

P.S. Ouch! But despite the wounds on my legs, my Old Navy khakis stayed intact! Figures that one out!

And yes, I was wearing a helmet.

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