Category: Climbing

Rock Climbing Risk Management

Rock Climbing Risk Management

So this started off as a Facebook post on a group page that I am a member of, but I feel very strongly about it so I wanted to include it on the Seeking Exposure blog as well. Today, Rock and Ice featured a Weekend Whipper from a few years ago of a climber decking after running it out on a pretty tough climb.

As a fellow climber, I absolutely hate seeing stuff like this.  At the same time I wanted to share it because it hits right at the heart of rock climbing risk management.  Moreover, it is super important for everyone (myself included), to constantly be reminded that there are serious consequences to the risk management decisions that we are making real-time during every step of the climbing process.

It is not my place to say whether this guy was right or wrong running it out like that. The beauty of climbing is that everyone has their own personal goals and risk tolerance. He is obviously a much better climber then me and I am assuming that for him to make the decision to skip the piece, he knew what he was doing. 

Climbing and Risk/Reward

At the same time, what I do want to say that when you are confronted with a decision like above… you need to really weigh the risk/reward and evaluate it in the context of your larger goals. There is no right or wrong answer, but whatever you decide… you need to be damn sure you are fully ready to accept the consequences, good or bad.

To be clear, this risk management philosophy is not just limited to situations like above. It is universal and includes everything from simple things like deciding to wear a climbing helmet to building top rope anchors or deciding if you are going to save $5 and get lowered off a single bolt when bailing a sport route.

Climbing is all risk/reward… manage it properly within the context of your larger climbing goals.

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