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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, May 27, 2011


If you climb and likely because you climb you know what fear is.

Much of what we do in life is motivated by fear.  Fear of losing a loved one, losing a job, losing you favorite bit of kit or losing your life.

Few things in our life are as powerful as words.

Words can excite you, depress you or even kill you.  They can kill a business or start one.

I was once told that the Cold Thistle blog "was a weapon of mass destruction". I have come to realise that the proclamation came from a base in fear. 

Fear of failure?.  Fear of having limitations pointed out?  Fear of job loss or product dismissal?

Smart people (or a compamy) won't find much to fear in life.  They may run the ragged edge but they stay in control.  What is there to fear?   There are always other jobs.  Failure is part of success.  Few reading this will ever go hungry or lack a roof over their head intentionally.  The best seldom worry about being the best.  They worry more about how to better themselves or their business.

Yoda said, "Either do or do not. There is no try."

Simple enough.  But WTF has this to do with an alpine climbing blog?

It first needs repeating:

from Jan 2011:

"Remember what works for me may not work for you. Always take my comments with a grain of salt and trust your own observations. I can only write what I see or experience. I don't pretend to know much, let alone know everything. Do your own research...learn through your own experience when you can what works for you. Then compare notes with anyone you can find that has similar interests, experiences or goals. Type it into Google. And always consider the original source."

I had no idea a "list of the best" would be a target.  No big deal as rounds can just as easily go out as be incoming.  Ammo is plentiful ;-)

It is worth looking at the blog.  Intentionally there is no advertising on the surface or behind the scenes.  And I could very easily do both.   I don't like ads.  I really don't like being involved with advertisers.  Most of them actually want something for their money.  Imagine that?   My opinion is they simply clutter the web site and any worth while content .   I hate ads.  They suck.  The only thing worse is the multiple pictures of me.   Once I figure out how to make money at this I'll hire models and buy THEM gear I really like to take pictures of.    But the bastards will have to work for free!

Ah, but the companies that live in FEAR...they are the most demanding of all and have the most to lose.

It doesn't take much to figure out who in the outdoor industry owns the limited brain trust for research and development.  R&D as opposed to just cost cutting veiled as a technological improvement.  Easy reference is look at where they manufacture.  Is it at home or off shore?   Anyone making the effort to manufacture in their home country is paying a price to do so.  Ever wonder why someone would do that?  Running it out on your own and trusting your skill set?   I can admire that.  And who are the guys out there that simply make copies of good ideas?   Sadly, I have yet to see a copy that is as good as the original.  I have however seen improvements on original designs.  One is not the other in most cases, but the rare exception.

Lots of decent gear being made.  Pick and choose, then support the ones you think deserve your hard earned coin.

The good companies don't live in FEAR.  They easily make changes in public, admit mistakes, fix them and move on.  Same decisions most of us have to make everyday.  Look at the corporate cultures.  How do they deal with the public.  How about the retailers?  The manufactures?   Even the blogs and forums.    What are they into "it" for.

If you have ever had a pissing match trying to return a piece of gear or bought an item that you found truly a POS compared to the advertising hype or went looking for honest, no BS, opinions of a end user, I suspect some of this will ring true to you.

The gear I mention on Cold Thistle is what I think is the very best.  Most of the time it could be better.  I don't mind pointing that out as it is generally pretty obvious to everyone.   Either way it is gear I paid my own money for and actually use.  Sometimes but not often betting my own life on the results.   Those suggestions may change over time for various reasons.   You may disagree and  I love to hear about the mistakes you think I have made.  But no one paying me to write about what I like and use.  

Believe it or not I write this blog simply for fun!  But it is also "serious business" to me.


Matt said...

Dane -

Thanks for the post. It is timely as I've been thinking and talking a lot about fear lately. Not in the usual "harness your fear" aggro sense, but rather the other kinds of fear that you are discussing here. Being scared and fearful of actual risk is one thing, but mitigating fear in your professional and personal life at the expense of integrity and excellence is an entirely different thing. I think your comments are spot on in regard to manufacturing and design industries. Because these organizations are scared of the market, they have not empowered themselves to create excellence. In my own life, I realize that the greatest hindrance to personal excellence is my self-limiting fear. However, if I accept failure as a consequence, then I can free myself. The rewards of excellence far outweigh the perception of stability and mitigation of imagined danger. This was rambling, but I appreciate that someone else is working on these thoughts as well. My introspection is in relation to my own life and your analysis is external, but ultimately we are looking at the same subject.


Dane said...

Hi Matt,
The vast majority of my failures are because I didn't start the journey. Literally just taking the first step often times means finishing is a lot easier than expected. It is easy to get stuck because of fear of failure or fear of the unknown. BTDT many times.

For me the answers come by looking at myself. (Business or personal) I might not like the answer but it is generally a pretty concise and accurate answer. Trick then is to change that answer if I find it unacceptable.


Bruno Schull said...

HI Dane,
Strange that people do not understand your perspective--I think you have made it very clear in the past (you pay for all your gear, you do not have preferences for certain companies, your views are personal for your style of climbing, and so on). Oh well, I guess when you get big enough you will attract your share of naysayers and groupies. Take it as a sign you are on the right track. The only thing I would say about the gear list is...harnesses. I would love to hear your thoughts about harnesses. In general, I like the direction harnesses are going (lighter, simpler). However, every manufacturer seems to screw it up somehow. For example, with the Hirundos, which you like, I would say that I like the weight, but the gear loops are strange for me. In any case, is there a post on harnesses in the future....? All the best,

Dane said...

I heard this one a few days ago from the best in the high tech industry. "Fail early, fail often" is a very successful company mantra.

Failure is an itimate part of success. Acknowledge, learn from failures and move on.