Adversity – Making Friends with Pain – Part I

| August 1, 2008

Surviving adversity is a big part of ski mountaineering. After all, if it was fun, easy and safe it would be called resort skiing.  Beyond the basic discomforts, surviving adversity with comfort and style is what separates the pros from the amateurs.  

Scotty Lee and Mark Holbrook laughing it up during a howling storm.
Scotty Lee and Mark Holbrook laughing it up during a howling storm.

Skiing in the middle of the night or an early morning dawn patrol is a classic case of self inflicted adversity.  Its pitch black, you can’t see where you are going and its cold, but if you are prepared for it, the ensuing skiing can be absolutely incredible.  Conversely, getting benighted, lost and cold by accident puts you in the same situation, but is usually miserable.  The main difference here is preparation and attitude. Tough guys/girls feel the cold as much as anyone, they just don’t let it shut them down.

Enduring and overcoming adversities can often have unexpected silver linings. One of my favorite mantras is “The harder it is going up, the better it will be going down.”  The deepest snow I’ve ever skied was a result of trenching our way through chin-deep powder to get to the top of a perfect splitter couloir in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada.  The ascent was grueling, but the pain of it has been long forgotten, especially compared to the happy memories of floating through virtually bottomless untracked powder.  Persevere.

continued tomorrow…

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Category: 08 Adversity

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

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