Saturday, August 27, 2011
When The Weather Changes On Your Climb
Most climbers in Colorado know that if you're wise you're on the trail well before dawn so that you get to and off the summit before noon. Afternoon thunderstorms are common there and lighting can be a climber's nightmare even the end of their life.
The same unfortunately is true when we climb life's peaks. We can feel like we're really moving forward, making great progress and finally getting somewhere on our climb only to have a "storm" come out of nowhere. Someone lets us down, our health changes again, we lose that job offer we thought we had, we take a big financial hit, a relationship crumbles or one of a hundred other possibilities rears its head.
The important thing for any climber is to plan for those possibilities and know what to do when they happen. We have to understand that few climbs will be stress or struggle- free. Bad weather is normal.
First, don't climb alone if possible. Challenges are always better dealt with when you have someone else there with you. When adversity hits you need a friend or two.
Second, know your limits and resources. Some may be able to continue climbing because of their equipment, talents, strength and expertise but not everyone will. Even the best climbers in the world die on mountains because they went too far. When a life storm hits evaluate before you just carry on. You may need to slow down or turn around for now. That's not failure, it's just being smart. As Ed Viesturs says the most important part of a climb is getting down.
Third, learn from others who have gone before you. Smart rock climbers are always learning lessons from others especially about how to handle adversity. Life climbers must do the same. Talk to people who are climbing a similar mountain to yours. Spend time together, share stories and admit mistakes. Those same people can help affirm that you can make it.
We certainly can't control the weather but we can control how we'll respond to it. And we'll be healthier and safer as a result!