Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Be Honest About Why You Fail

Every day dozens of people set off on trips into the mountains with varying goals - to climb a peak, ski a route, redpoint a climb, whatever - some of them make it, and some fall far short. The putative reasons why people fail are as varied as their objectives and range from the bizarre - "I wanted to carry my skis to the top" to the banal "It was cold." Weather - past and forecast - is a frequent reason for failure, as is equipment - who would know that not having intuition liners could be a reason for failure - partners, conditions, the list goes on.

While it's true that a more technical pair of climbing shoes might help you to stand on small holds better, and a stiffer ski may give more confidence in icy conditions, but we've all had our share of successes while using crap gear - $6 skis, inadequate tents and sleeping bags, broken stoves, 20 year old crampons - in poor conditions with dubious partners.

I suspect that most of us actually fail for one - or more - of three reasons: (1) we just didn't try hard enough; (2) we are pathetically out of shape; and (3) we lack the necessary skill to succeed. Sadly, as long as we come up with other reasons excuses for why we fail, we'll never actually get to the point where we succeed. Because you can't change something you haven't acknowledged.

The end of the road on Bugaboo Spire due to a stuck knee, Marc Ledgwick photo

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