Adventure and Limits

Merriam-Webster defines adventure as, “an exciting or dangerous experience”. So it’s not ridiculous to say that most adventures push your limits. That’s the point of an adventure, to get out of your comfort zone and say, “I can do this!” That said, there is also knowing where your limits are and the responsibility to not needlessly take risks. The reason is that when you call for help, you are asking someone else to put his or her life on the line for you. In mountaineering, there is something called the “death zone”, a place where if something bad happens to you, it is a death sentence.

This isn’t to say you should not push your limits. The above picture shows Sue Austin, a woman who has been challenging ideas about what it means to be handicapped. Sue has looked at the world around her and said how can I show that I’m not a prisoner of a wheelchair. The wheelchair is just her vehicle to see the world.

She worked with engineers and experienced divers to devise a system in which she could use her wheelchair on a deep-sea dive. She then went where many people in her position would never think of going. What Sue did was push her limits while working to mitigate risk.

I am not trying to discourage the budding adventurist because I have taken my share of dumb, needless risks. I just want to encourage people to plan, prepare and analyze their proposed adventure. We live in a world where safety equipment and features are built into most aspects of our lives so it is easy to lose sight on what real risk is.

One of the deadliest years on Mount Everest since 1996 occurred in 2014. A problem that kept re-occurring on Everest was the amount of novice climbers who booked trips with discount outfitters. The novice climbers saw this as a guided trip to the summit of the highest mountain on Earth. They in no way were prepared for the physical stamina required to make the climb or what to do when things went wrong. The outfitters were prioritizing getting their clients to the summit over doing it safely. Fortunately the government of Nepal has stepped in and placed more controls on who gets to attempt Everest.

I leave you with this, go out and explore and experience. Just do it wisely, not foolishly.