Saturday, June 22, 2013
Are You a Don't or Won't Climber
That principle? You must be off the summit before 2pm. No exceptions, no other options. Discussions about that guideline were held over and over and yet at least two groups ignored that rule and people died as a result.
You see, some people like Ed Viesturs look at a guideline like that as something they don't do. There isn't any decision that needs to be made in his mind. If it's two o'clock or will be before you summit you turn around and head down. Perhaps a closer to home example of this would be for someone who has a serious food allergy such as peanuts.
People with a peanut allergy know that they can die if they eat even one small nut, so they have developed a don't mentality about peanuts. Even if the Queen of England or the President invites them to a meal and peanuts are served, they don't eat them - period.
On the other hand if you just think that you usually won't do something you have a harder time deciding. You base your decisions on the circumstances, what others think and how they might react. So sometimes you give in just to please people or avoid extra drama. With some things that may not be a big deal but with other decisions a wrong or hasty choice can be destructive and dangerous.
So just like on Everest there are probably some things we need to turn into Don't choices that can keep us safe, healthy and growing. Ask yourself, How should I fill in this blank: I don't ____________________ any more? Maybe it's that you don't argue with people about things that don't matter, you don't give in to everyone else's demands or you don't take unhealty and ptentially dangerous risks that you used to take.
You figure out what's best and stick to it. But let me warn you that sometimes your friends will disagree or think you're too legalistic or rigid. Keep your commitments anyway. It's your life and sometimes our choices can really mess up a good thing.
And once you come up with your Don't list start living with it. Make decisions with your don't list in mind. Compliment yourself or enjoy the compliments of others when they see you stand strong. If you're going to continue climbing, you have to know what you will and not do. And it's pretty important that you decide before you get some place where it's especially hard to make the right decision.
Never quit climbing.