Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Experience not More Stuff

Recently, I responded to a post on this bulletin board from a guy looking to buy a new tent. Seems innocuous enough, even the most miserly gear purchaser like myself, sometimes (although it is more occasional than you think) needs to purchase something new to replace something worn out. But, often times, these people seem more intent on accumulating stuff than they are on accumulating experience, fitness or expertise.

Unfortunately, stuff won't get you up Mount Columbia if you lack sufficient fitness to ski a long way across a big icefield to get to the base. Stuff won't give you the drive, the will or, as Rob Shaul calls it the "mental toughness" to keep moving to meet your goal. Stuff actually counts for very little in success or failure as anybody who has followed mountaineering history knows. Back in the day, mountaineers did a hell of a lot with a hell of a little - stuff that is, not mental toughness.

Although I gave this guy some tent advice what I really wanted to say was "no amount of stuff is gonna make you successful on your trips until you: (a) improve your fitness; (b) improve your skill set; and (c) get some mental toughness - not necessarily in that order."

None of which has nearly the appeal of going out and buying some new piece of stuff to thrust into the back of your already over-packed closet of stuff where it will lie lingering away until you take it out on one trip, where you'll get about 6 hours from the road, get tired, quit and go home stopping at some take-out joint on the way home and making up reasons for why you failed yet again, many of which will include the need to buy yet another piece of stuff. 

Getting out in all kinds of weather is a good way to get experience

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