Forum Index > Trail Talk > Unsafe behavior: When do you speak up?
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cascadeclimber
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 8:42 am 
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Normally I keep my mouth shut. I have certainly done my fair share of things that other people consider too dangerous.

And...two weekends in a row now, as I started up the Haystack on Si I encountered folks doing or considering doing things about which I felt compelled to say something. The first weekend a couple late teens were coming down in tennis shoes. The west side of the scramble was in the sun and mostly (but not entirely) dry and I wouldn't have said anything...until I saw the late tween that was with them. I mentioned that more than one person had died in winter on the scramble.

Yesterday it was a group in microspikes starting up as I was. Conditions yesterday were as difficult as I've seen, with ice and snow filling/obscuring the hand holds and flatter foot holds, but not enough snow/ice to keep crampons from skittering on the polished, steeper rock. Indeed, it took me about 45 minutes to carefully, slowly pick my way down with an axe and crampons, having to excavate for holds. Before I started up I basically said the same thing to that group- "More than one person has died on this in winter. It's substantially harder to get down than up."

I don't really want to be that person who tells others to not do what he's doing. And I also don't want to see someone get hurt and have my Sunday exercise turned into a rescue operation.

When you do speak up and when you do keep quiet?

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If not now, when?
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Schenk
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 9:19 am 
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Each person has their own comfort and/or assertiveness level.
If you care about other people and you feel something should be said, then say it.
What is the worst that can happen to you either way?
With one outcome maybe you'll see a post here by someone complaining about someone trying to tell them what to do if you speak up...the other outcome could a post about a recent injury or death if you remain quiet.
I would err towards the former, rather than the latter.

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Nature exists with a stark indifference to humans' situation.
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Stefan
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 9:23 am 
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I remember reading somewhere from the famous climber Royal Robbins:

I learned to climb better from my stupid mistakes.

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Art is an adventure.
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RumiDude
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 10:42 am 
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Stefan wrote:
I learned to climb better from my stupid mistakes.

This is always said by successful climbers because they survived all their stupid mistakes. You hear far far less from those who didn't survive.

As to the OP's question, I agree with Schenk. I know I have spoken up and my advice has been heeded. I have spoken up and been told to mind my own business, sometimes GFY.

Over a decade ago I was in the Grand Canyon in a party of six. We stopped mid-morning to regroup and have a snack in the shade of a large boulder. As we sat and chatted I noticed that one person in our group looked very tired and hot. I didn't say anything because she had actually hiked in the Grand Canyon and SW many times. I figured she knew what she was doing. That was about 10 am. Around 1 pm I witnessed her die from heat exhaustion. I look back on that moment when I noticed she looked kinda out of it and wish I had said something. For the most part I stopped beating myself up over that missed opportunity several years back, but every once in a while I recall it and it stings.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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cascadeclimber
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 11:05 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
Stefan wrote:
I learned to climb better from my stupid mistakes.

This is always said by successful climbers because they survived all their stupid mistakes. You hear far far less from those who didn't survive.

There is often a very fine, fuzzy line between mistakes in the mountains that are stupid and those that are fatal.

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If not now, when?
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Token Civilian
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 11:21 am 
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cascadeclimber wrote:
RumiDude wrote:
Stefan wrote:
I learned to climb better from my stupid mistakes.

This is always said by successful climbers because they survived all their stupid mistakes. You hear far far less from those who didn't survive.

There is often a very fine, fuzzy line between mistakes in the mountains that are stupid and those that are fatal.

The difference between a bold climber and a stupid one comes down to did they live through it and succeed.
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Token Civilian
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 11:31 am 
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Oh, and the way you handled this - thumbs up in my book.
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pcg
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 1:44 pm 
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Good on you for caring more for someone else, than what someone else thinks of you. If you say something to me and I perceive it as unwarranted, Iíll think youíre a know-it-all. If I perceive it as warranted, Iíll be very grateful. wink.gif

I say something depending on what I perceive the risk and potential for serious injury is. If the risk that someone is going to get hypothermic and frostbite is moderate, Iíll probably say nothing. What they learn from their mistake will be worth more to them than my remarks, especially if they were to heed my remarks and not get that valuable lesson.

On the other hand, last spring I saw someone back clip the last bolt before the crux move on a spicy overhang at Red Rocks. I immediately hollered out to them and they were very grateful. In that case, I felt the risk of falling was high, even though the injury probably would not have been extreme.

Having raised both a headstrong woman and man I have some experience here and have learned the value of street psychology. For example, rather than pointing out that someone else may be in over their head, I will come out with a spontaneous remark implying that conditions are marginal for me. ďDamn, be careful dude. I have a crampons and axe and this is scary as sh## for me. This is about as bad as Iíve ever seen it here.Ē In other words, donít tell them they are being stupid, let them imply it for themselves, the idea being that if they come to that realization themselves, they will be more inclined to be careful or turn back, than if they hear it from some old guy who they perceive is not up to the task.

I have no desire to lecture people, and if I perceive that an epic is coming that will not necessarily be life-threatening, then Iíll say nothing. Theyíll learn far more from that bad experience than they will from me telling them what to do. But if you think someone is really endangering their life, I would not hesitate to speak up. You did the right thing.
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RumiDude
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 2:16 pm 
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So if you are going to say something, what do you say?

I think the answer to that may be found by first asking yourself how you might want someone to say something to you. I know, I know, we are all experts. But suppose you weren't an expert, how could someone say something to you that would increase the likelihood you would heed the advice/warning?

Anyway, if you are going to say something you might think over in your mind how to approach people now so that if the occasion arises you don't blow them out of the water.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 2:55 pm 
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pcg wrote:
Having raised both a headstrong woman and man I have some experience here and have learned the value of street psychology. For example, rather than pointing out that someone else may be in over their head, I will come out with a spontaneous remark implying that conditions are marginal for me. ďDamn, be careful dude. I have a crampons and axe and this is scary as sh## for me. This is about as bad as Iíve ever seen it here.Ē In other words, donít tell them they are being stupid, let them imply it for themselves, the idea being that if they come to that realization themselves, they will be more inclined to be careful or turn back, than if they hear it from some old guy who they perceive is not up to the task.

I think this is excellent. No one wants a lecture from an old bat. I have seen people start up a difficult trail as I was coming down at dusk, thinking damn, they won't make it and there's no where to camp along the way (there really isn't). But those folks I let pass. It was obviously dark and I wasn't about to point that out to them. Hell, I've pitched my tent on a trail before; hopefully that is what they did.

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" I'm really happy about this! Ö I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  Ė oldgranola, NWHís outdoors advocate.
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 3:16 pm 
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Most people won't listen and need to learn the hard way, so I just mind my own business an go my own way....but then I'm not an expert like some of y'all.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Pyrites
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 3:31 pm 
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Sometimes the bunch of teenagers all already individually think itís a bad idea to go further but donít want to be the one to say so.

If someone already looks cold Iíd be pushier. But most miss the early stages of their own mental impairment. It requires conscious, honest, evaluation.
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 3:35 pm 
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Something similar but not exactly the same...

Suppose you are driving home from hiking and some lunatic who is speeding and driving erratically nearly runs you off the road...a ways further down the road you see that the vehicle has left the road and is in the ditch. Would you... A. Stop and ask if they need help. B. Just go on your way and let them lie in their own bed.  C. Call 911 and go on your way.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Pyrites
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 3:36 pm 
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Stop.
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Riverside Laker
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PostMon Jan 08, 2018 5:09 pm 
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What if you run into a stable genius on the haystack?
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