...Mistakes

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Kiefer
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...Mistakes

Postby Kiefer » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:49 pm

So.
I've got my own opinons and insights about making mistakes. I've been on the receiving end and giving end as far as distain for stupid things as well.
I view mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve from. I don't want to go into details or specifics, but I'm looking for others' opinions on what
the whole process of making mistakes means for them. Whether that means "How they're important?", "Why they're important?", "What have my past mistakes
earned me in terms of experience?" etc.
I'm writing an epilogue and I'd like for others to share what this whole 'Mistake Theory' means for them.
Plus, it'd be interesting anyway to hear how folks from differing skills sets, experience levels, climbers/skiers views mistakes.
If ya could, either post here on the forum or PM me.
Thanks!! :-D


Oh,
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
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Mountain Ninja
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby Mountain Ninja » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:09 pm

I agree with you, Kiefer. I view mistakes as lessons, whether they're my own or someone else's. And I'm grateful when others share their mistakes!
A little pain never hurt anyone.

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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby Jay521 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:51 pm

I'm certainly not shedding any new light on the subject, but I do agree with Ninja that mistakes can be a very good learning tool. Assuming you survive them. For example, whenever I took a test in school, I would remember the questions I got wrong much longer than the ones I got correct.

And, as the old saying goes - Good Judgement comes from Experience and Experience comes from Bad Judgement. And my judgement is getting better all the time... :lol:
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby SarahT » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:17 pm

Like you say Kiefer, mistakes are invaluable learning tools. Obviously if the mistakes are our own the resulting lessons will be naturally ingrained in us and surely influence our future actions, hopefully making us better mountaineers. But there is also a lot to be said about analyzing the mistakes of others in an objective, non-judgmental manner.

I've noticed that for a lot of people (myself included), its just sort of natural at first to write off the "stupid" mistakes of other hikers and think that we, being clearly superior in some way, more skilled or more experienced, or whatever, aren't capable of such gross misjudgments. Maybe we think that way because we're scared and our brains don't want to allow for the possibility that something bad can potentially happen to us. Thus all of the armchair quarterbacking you see in the community when there is an accident.

There is nothing more sobering than being "that guy"... or in my case "that girl". Since the snowy season is upon us and there are plenty of new hikers on the forum I'd like to again share my story of near death resulting from my own poor judgment. Learn from my mistakes: http://www.13ergirl.com/LenaweeAttempt/LenaweeAccident.html

Thanks for the thread Kiefer, and thanks to everyone who has had the guts to openly share their mistakes. Very much appreciated.
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Brian C
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby Brian C » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:37 pm

What types of mistakes are we talking about? I truly believe that there are different levels of mistakes. Forgetting a rainshell on a 14er can be bad but it is in a different category of improperly placing pro before a crux and taking a ground fall because of it (i.e. the Bastille). Slipping on 4th class on North Marroon is very different than 4th class on the 3rd Flatiron as is tumbling down snow on St. Mary's is different than tumbling down Mt. Hood.

Nitpicking aside, I have made plenty of mistakes, especially earlier in my hiking/scrambling career. I have even written trip reports on learning experiences, the one with the most detail was from a trip to the Fishers. Fortunately for me, they ended up more inconvenient than life-threatening and excellent opportunities to learn. We have all been on trips where the margin for mistakes is slim to none.

Once on a trip in the IPW, a buddy and I were scrambling off route and he took a 40 foot fall. It ended in being a full blown self rescue situation and made me think a lot about risk management. Accidents do happen with a wide variety of consequences so it seems like learning from it is better than ignoring it.
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby Mindy » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:46 pm

SarahT..... I just read your story and it gave me the chills. You are one lucky woman. Thank you for sharing that - it will stick with me, always.
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby TomPierce » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:48 pm

Interesting thread, Keifer. I sort of lump mistakes into two buckets: (1) The calculated risk/gamble that goes awry, e.g. once I was doing a traverse of a rock face on Longs one winter and a key handhold popped off (it was just frozen in place), sending me on a tumble just short of a ledge, and (2) the hands down I-made-a-mistake, e.g. being very tired, close to exhaustion, and tying a knot incorrectly. Like most responses so far, I too look at these as learning opportunities and I think I'm pretty hard on myself, e.g. What did I miss, how did I miss that? What did I learn, what can I build into my skillset to hopefully prevent that in the future?

I come more from a technical climbing background than traditional mountaineering and it's pretty common in the tech culture to clinically analyze climbing accidents and mistakes. Not to feel superior to the climbers involved, but to learn from the errors (understanding that occasionally there really aren't any, just a wrong place/wrong time thing). I've learned a lot from such reports, they really help me get inside the decision making and also understand faulty rope configurations that might be of use.

Finally, I sometimes use mistakes as a proactive personal barometer. There have been occasions where I make an insignificant mistake or two, and thereby realize that I didn't bring my "A" game. A sign from G*d, Buddha, karma, whatever. I almost always listen to those and either pack it in or pick an easier objective.

Hope all is well with you, happy holidays!
-Tom
Last edited by TomPierce on Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby Rainier_Wolfcastle » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:49 pm

I agree, as I'm sure the vast majority agree, that most mistakes lead to opportunities to learn and improve.

Just thinking about the topic, I get a little lost in thinking about the many levels of mistakes...which really goes with the levels of experience. A mistake could be bringing the wrong food, hydration issues, layering system imperfections, the wrong partner/route/conditions, getting in over your head, a bad anchor choice, etc. Are you focused on mistakes of the more life or death variety?

It is easy to say that I "learned my lesson" after making mistakes. But did I learn the right lesson? I am too analytical, so I will get caught up in the details...if I did this and not this, then this never would have happened...but honestly, sometimes the lesson is that I was moving faster than I was thinking or I put myself in harms way by misjudging my abilities. The lesson that took me the most mistakes to learn, is rushing and the related skipping/or being too lazy to do something in the effort to be fast or save energy...caused me to get hypothermia twice, injure partners, injure myself, and ultimately it always costs more effort and time in the long run!
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby MountainHiker » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Experience is surviving your mistakes!

Sarah, I remember reading about your fall at the time. It really is an amazing thing to survive such a powerful avalanche with relatively minor injuries. You wrote a captivating report. I think about it whenever I’m near a cornice.
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby mike_kadow » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:05 pm

My take: Mistakes are free lessons.

And everyone likes free, right?
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby CO Native » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:21 pm

mike_kadow wrote:My take: Mistakes are free lessons.

And everyone likes free, right?

I wish my mistakes were free. Thankfully none have cost me too steep a price yet.
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Re: ...Mistakes

Postby Mountain Ninja » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:27 pm

...and then the Trolls show up.

Back to the OP's subject, anyone?
A little pain never hurt anyone.

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