Risk vs Rewards Poll

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Which of the following most closely describes your current approach to risk taking in the mountains?

1) I'm addicted to pushing past all my perceived limits.
2) I get a rush out of pushing right up to my limits back then back off
3) I discovered what my limits were and now I give myself plenty of margin
4) I have no idea what my limits are and no desire to push enough to find out
5) I'm generally somewhere in the middle but occasionally do something reckless
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Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by daway8 »

Everyone has there own set of risks and rewards - for some it may be chasing an adrenaline rush or chasing a list or a record or maybe it's just a love of nature or a means of fitness or whatever.
Whatever your reasons and whatever your limits, I'm curious what sort of spread we have represented in the forum.
I could probably identify some period in my life where I've at least briefly been in pretty much all of these categories...
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by jaymz »

I'm somewhere in the range of 3-4 ( I voted 4). Having a kid has changed my risk tolerance for sure. I don't know if I ever really had a chance to push my limits, but since becoming a dad I have very little desire to do something like Capitol or LB, especially when I hear about tragedies to climbers who were just out doing what I would be doing. I just did the Keyhole route a couple of days ago (finally!), and felt like that may have been pretty close to the top of my comfort level, at least at the moment. I've kind of gotten that feeling on a couple of steep couloirs as well.
The older I get, the happier I am just spending time on local trail runs and easier, shorter summits that are close to home.
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by greenonion »

For what it’s worth (but good question)… I selected 3 but blend a fair amount with 2.
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by seano »

I've never been an adrenaline junkie, and have little respect for people who keep pushing their risks until they end in wingsuits and red splats. But I've always found satisfaction in knowing and sometimes operating near my limits, and believe that this is a game one can play into old age.
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by Ed_Groves »

None of these choices work for me. I am just getting into class 3 climbing and do not know all my limits yet. I think I may know where my limits lie with respect to long, arduous, non-technical trails after doing the Harvard - Columbia Traverse last month but I don't know my limits with respect to exposure on various types of terrain. I ran into an exposure situation that made me a bit antsy on a class 3/4 route on Pinnacle Peak in Mt Rainier National Park in July but I still can't say I have defined my limits with regard to that piece of the puzzle. I suspect I will climb close to my limits but stay within them, but I won't know until I experience some of these situations.
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by TomPierce »

I picked No. 3, but the "wide margin" comment sounds a bit conservative to me. I think I have a good handle on my limits, but also know that the safe/unsafe boundary shifts all the time. Sometimes I'm feeling strong, sometimes not so much, and of course weather, fitness and the presence of a strong partner may shift the risk calculus. But mostly for me it's about the presence of good technical/rock protection: Everyone is a hero with a solid piece a foot below the knee! If it's a run out/unprotectable dicey move(s) above big air...eh, usually not feelin' it. And usually I can eyeball those sections from a distance, so I don't even try.

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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by oldschool »

The first 2 choices don't work for me due to the words "addicted" and "rush". The other 3 choices do not currently fit with how I choose my experiences.

Yes, I am a risk taker, more than some but less than others. I push my boundaries all the time. I challenge myself all the time.

However, I am not addicted. I don't get a rush.

I go out and do things, some that have risk, and have experiences. I am not wrapped up in whether it was "good" or bad", "successful" or "unsuccessful".

I go out for an experience. The result of said experience is what it is.

"There's a feeling I get when I look to the West and my spirit is crying for leaving" Led Zeppelin
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by Conor »

Conrad Anker put it this way...you want to be the car cruising down the interstate at about 2000 rpm. You're in control. You can stop if you need to, you can also step on the gas and have room to amp it if need be. You have options.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Skill development is so important. One doesn't need to just "try class 3" blind. Or class 4. or class 5. And doing "more class 2" doesn't necessarily prepare you for scrambling. I prefer to go in better prepared than that. JMO.
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by daway8 »

Interesting how the spread turned out.

If you consider 1&2 to be a relatively higher risk approach and 3&4 to be a relatively lower risk approach with 5 being sort of a split between the two then, depending on how you weight #5, you could perhaps conclude:

A) 66% generally take a conservative approach to risks.
B) 61% at least occasionally do risky things in the mountains.
C) 89% are nether prone to extremely risky nor extremely conservative behavior in the mountains.
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by nyker »

15yrs ago, maybe even 5yrs ago, I might have answered differently, but wouldn't use the words addicted. Now, I'm 3-4. As far as discovering my "limit" that sounds like I'd be redlining which wouldn't have a good outcome.
Thinking about days I pushed limits, probably foolishly I think about an 18hr+ day on a daytrip snowclimb of Mt Whitney one year in early December. Not the smartest thing, but as many of us do, "I wanted to see if I could it".
I recall reascending back to Trail Crest, on all fours after summiting and feeling like I was going to collapse after what was probably 12 hours of postholing untrammeled snow and not really well acclimatized. ](*,)
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by timisimaginary »

i'm right about at 3. i don't feel like i've "discovered my limits" per se in regards to risk, but i'm definitely not as cavalier towards risk as the #2 wording makes it sound, and even in brushing up against my risk tolerance on occasion, i tiptoe up to it rather than sprint towards it.

one thing i've noticed, and i've wondered if others have as well, is the pandemic's effect on my risk tolerance. after a year-and-a-half of having to do risk assessment on even the most ordinary behaviors (grocery shopping, public gatherings, visiting family, dining indoors vs outdoors, etc etc), it's led to some analysis fatigue. i've always tended to be more conservative towards risk to begin with, and during the early days when we were advised to avoid risky behaviors to prevent overstressing and potentially overwhelming the healthcare system or putting SAR at risk, since then that risk avoidance effect has lingered. i fortunately don't live in an area at risk of healthcare rationing (though plenty of people still live in states that do) but there are still nursing shortages and longer wait times at ERs even here, and i can't remember ER wait times being a factor in my risk assessment before. mostly it just feels like the risk aversion from the pandemic has bled over into other parts of my life, including outdoor recreation. i suppose for some it could have the opposite effect. that might be an interesting poll question: has the pandemic made your attitude towards risk while hiking/climbing more conservative, less conservative, or about the same?
social distancing since the day i was born...
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Re: Risk vs Rewards Poll

Post by Barnold41 »

I'm somewhere between 2-3 but I would never consider my choices "reckless." I know what I am capable of and don't push where I know I shouldn't, but I still love being right on the cusp of having that adrenaline rush.
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