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Couple of amazing things recently

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby lodgling » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:23 am

They do what they do because they're better stronger faster smarter. Unqualified criticism is just noise. No sarcasm intended.

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby Doug Shaw » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:28 pm

lodgling wrote:They do what they do because they're better stronger faster smarter. Unqualified criticism is just noise. No sarcasm intended.


Inherent skill and ability is a large part of the story, to be sure, but there are a lot of strong, fast, smart people. That is not ultimately the differentiating factor. What makes the difference is obsession.

You don't get to be world-class at something without a degree of monomania - a focus on that one thing to the exclusion of others.

There are people in the world who are stronger, faster, smarter than these strong, fast, smart people - but their abilities are diffused by the distractions of life: friends, family, other interests.

Have you heard about Alex Honnold's world-class baseball card collection lately? How about Ueli Steck's fascination with radio controlled cars? Steph Davis' mad love for computer programming? No? There's a reason for that. You don't get to be elite by spreading your focus over a lot of different areas.

The reason we hear about these people in the contexts they're known for is because they are obsessed - to one degree or another - with that thing. To become expert at something requires practice and repetition. In many cases, these people get that because they have structured their lives - relationships, work, etc - to revolve around that one thing.

Even though "obsession" carries some negative social implications, I am not intending to denigrate or demean anybody or their achievements. But just saying they're faster or stronger or smarter usually isn't the whole picture.

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby atalarico » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:03 pm

Yikes. Well I'm glad I stoked a fire. I could care less about runners and their myopic decision to gamble with their lives simply because they don't want to carry more. So long as they don't mind when I don't assist in their inevitable need for a rescue that wouldn't be needed had they just decided to respect the mountain and mountaineering. Oh, wait, they get pissy about that too...

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby madbuck » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:04 pm

Doug Shaw wrote:
You don't get to be world-class at something without a degree of monomania - a focus on that one thing to the exclusion of others.

There are people in the world who are stronger, faster, smarter than these strong, fast, smart people - but their abilities are diffused by the distractions of life: friends, family, other interests.


Interesting observation, well stated.


atalarico wrote:I could care less about runners and their myopic decision to gamble with their lives simply because they don't want to carry more. So long as they don't mind when I don't assist in their inevitable need for a rescue that wouldn't be needed had they just decided to respect the mountain and mountaineering. Oh, wait, they get pissy about that too...


Hah, I think there's some joking there! But, there's a slippery slope there that leads to logical inconsistency: what does it mean to be "prepared" and respecting the mountain?

The ability to run and go light is often (not always, but often -- these things tend to filter out mistakes) a by-product of fitness and familiarity with the mountain. But every summer weekend is full of entirely unfit and unprepared people hiking up and down any number of lame peaks, taking an objective risk that is higher than someone with skill and familiarity but less gear on an even harder peak.
If we're going to judge people on preparedness, why stop at just how much water and food they have that day?
Anyway, I'm willing to help both groups out if needed.

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby madbuck » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:21 pm

atalarico wrote:The ultra-runner crossover with mountaineering thing is getting a little out of hand. These people are asking for trouble by running up mountains like Long's with nothing more than running shorts, shoes, and two aluminum stakes for "traction". OK, so maybe I'm jealous too. =p


Back to this, though...I'm also intrigued, inspired, jealous...and similarly concerned about something happening as limits are pushed. But the same cycle has happened in mountaineering, skiing, etc. as limits are pushed. For the most part, most of the high-profile speed climbing ascents have had a good amount of prep and recon of routes before the full thing is done in one push, so I haven't thus far read things that have seemed utterly reckless (to me).

On the positive side, cool stuff comes out of a lot of this, too, for all of us...I'm not a fanboy of ultrarunning "personalities" (far from it), and I only begrudgingly think about spending money on gear, but credit where credit's due:

* ~3-4 years ago, I was looking at REI for Microspikes when Tony K. was big into them for winter running in the foothills. The guy at REI said they don't sell them because they have limited use, and Yaktrax are "just as good" while "any real climbing would need crampons." Long story short, my Yaktrax are/were only good for flat packed snow in the neighbourhood, but I've loved trailrunning in Microspikes. Look how commonly they're suggested for popular 14er ascents in snow conditions...and available at REI.

* Ultimate Direction has been working on some really cool packs (info), from superlight and simple ones to slightly bigger ones that carry things like ice axes. The best part, IMHO, is water in bottles/Platypi that can be stored in the front.

* Shoes: footwear selection, weight, composition surely has benefited from increased popularity where people demand speed, grip, and durability. I'm hopeful that other companies (besides, say, Montrail) work a little harder on grippy rubber in a racing shoe. As some guys are complaining about how otherwise good trail shoes kind of suck when climbing, hopefully there are improvements in this area.

Other examples?

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby Dave B » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:29 pm

Doug Shaw wrote:You don't get to be world-class at something without a degree of monomania - a focus on that one thing to the exclusion of others.


This explains why I suck at so many different things!
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby atalarico » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:37 pm

There was a lot of joking in there, don't worry. =)

I watch a video like Anthony Krupicka's Kiener's video and I am more impressed with humanity than upset with his gamble.

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Re: Couple of amazing things recently

Postby matt pierce » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:29 am

SeracZack wrote:Image

Picture from a portion of the 5.15c climb. Wow.

The yelling and screaming...yeah I'd rather watch him with the mute button on as well.


I suddenly got this twinge of pain in my left elbow :shock:

(Pretty amazing stuff)

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