2013, Lessons

The Lessons: Part Deux

It is hard for me to go into the mountains and not learn something, especially when the trip into the mountains involves Chalten and the Fitz Roy massif.  We, Matt and I, applied a lot of the lessons we learned last year.  It is my hope and dream to next year apply the cumulative lessons we have learned.

  • It is only rock climbing — You go up until you can’t or should not go up any more.  Mountains are big but pitches are small.  Keep things in perspective but don’t loose sight of the big picture.
  • Don’t underestimate anything — More importantly if you do, do not be afraid to admit it and get out from being in over your head.
  • Don’t overestimate yourself — Self-awareness is paramount.
  • Get lightweight equipment — Wild Things founder John Bouchard said it best: light is right.  If it isn’t light, maybe go with less or get stronger.  It is all a matter of perspective.  But remember if you  are going to be dumb you got to be tough.
  • Get the right equipment — Our systems worked well enough.  Not much was improvised.  We  learned lessons last year and applied them with regards to buying and bringing new and different gear.
  • Climb ’till dark — Use the available daylight (and there is a lot of that).  Get higher and then figure it out.
  •  Stay flexible — Mountains demand an ability to adapt and overcome.  Have an objective in mind and set yourself up for success, but be ready to adjust if conditions or other factors don’t permit.
  • Verify beta — Unless you know for a fact that a bivy ledge will be good (and that is a subjective term) don’t count on it.  If it is not you will not sleep.

  • Be ready — If you are going to spend all fall in New Zealand humping a heavy pack around the Southern Alps, you had better have a good climbing head on your shoulders AND believe that climbing is like riding a bike…
  • Above all, communicate — Be clear and honest with goals and objectives.  Clearly communicate thoughts and feelings with partners in a timely fashion.  Be on the same page.