Anticipating THE EDGE... where it BEGINS and where it ENDS--by Alpinista Hombre
It is appropriate to quote a very well-known mountaineer, and extremist of sorts, when mentioning “the edge” and having more equal skill in a team or group. Mark Twight is known for his great abilities and die-hard personality, and displays it in his various books. One such book is Extreme Alpinism wherein he stated, “As an alpinist who carries a long list of dead friends and partners, I approach the mountains differently than most. I go to them intending to survive, which I define as a success. A new route or the summit is a bonus.” He makes his goals very clear, so it is up to whoever is contemplating travel with him to weigh-out their own risks.
Making small errors in judgment on your adventures and escapes will only add to your personal experience, and in knowing “the edge” as an individual will assist you well in avoiding the big mistakes. The mountains and wilderness can be quite unforgiving, so our objectives on our various adventures should be to assess, weight-out, detail, measure, calculate, and above all… THINK... when we are “visiting” Mother Nature’s domain.
Instincts are our natural, internal sensory that exists to aid us in our survival. Experience only enhances our instincts. These “sensory” impress upon our centers of judgment. They may be felt in our innermost core, or “gut’. Other instinctual feelings may come as increase in pulse, sweating palms, random thoughts of “common sense”, etc. Our five basic senses also assist our instincts. Our brains, being capable of processing and calculating information gathered from the various sensory, give the storage, strategy, and quick reaction to survival situations. If you are good with your own condition on an adventure, make it your purpose to sense the condition of your fellows. One person will always have greater survival instincts than another in any given situation, so share your senses and perceptions with your crew.
So speculate for a moment, on the various risks that exist in wilderness travel. Ponder for a moment, the potential of the wilderness and high country to take a life, or many lives. We adventurers travel the mountains and wilderness because it is in our souls to do so, because it enchants us and feeds our desire for the unknown, and because it continually answers our questions to life’s challenges. Hence it is necessary to know your personal limits, your own sphere of risk, your own “edge”… and balance yours with the others you adventure with. After all, the idea is to live to see many more adventures in the future… is it not?