HOW TO REACH SAFE EXTREMES
Canadian adventure athlete Will Gadd knows a thing or two about risk. He’s spent endless hours exploring the outdoors and seeing some of the most beautiful vistas in Canada as well as the world. There are innate risks involved in many activities that we derive satisfaction from. For Will, one of his favourites is alpine climbing. Here are 5 tips about how he’s kept safe, which we’ve gleaned from a recent blog of his with a few added gems we learned from our interviews with him.
BONUS: We have a lot more tips and info about risk in our Risk Navigator mobile app. DOWNLOAD THE APP to learn the risk factors of all your favourite activities - everything from rock climbing to eating bacon sandwiches.
1. Know your Terrain
In any situation, not only when climbing, take time to plan your trip, observe, ask questions, and keep learning so each time you go out you can better understand your terrain. “I learn every single day I go out,” says Gadd.
Recognizing the type of climb and utilizing the correct equipment can save you from unnecessary injuries or even death. “Systems need to be appropriate. If you’re climbing difficult rock then it’s rock climbing, even if you’re over a glacier. Three-piece anchors, solid gear, etc.,” says athlete Will Gadd.
3. Solid Feet
Have a good sense of where you are stepping. Missteps can result in grievous injuries. “I spend a lot of time coaching movement in the mountains; not falling off all begins with solid feet,” says Gadd.
Understand what you know and don’t know. “Alpine climbing is often far more about all the “not climbing” parts than the climbing. Knowing how good you aren’t on a sketchy lead is often more important than knowing how good you are…”. Develop your craft, find solid training, read. Know how to climb a rope to get out of a crevasse. Know what isothermal snow and wind-slabs are, and why they may be issues. “Learn, learn, learn…” says Will Gadd on climbing.
5. Leave Early, Fail Early
Follow your time plan for the day. If the plan is falling apart, or the day is changing, there’s nothing wrong with waving a white flag, staying safe and coming down. “I fail all the time, probably like 75 per cent of the time and I will get up and go back examine what I did wrong, what I did right, what I read wrong, what I read right and I try to do better the next time,” says the adventure athlete.
For a more indepth look at his tips read his full blog.