Outdoors Magazine

The Risks and Rewards of Extreme Adventure

Posted on the 14 June 2011 by Kungfujedi @Kungfujedi
The Risks and Rewards of Extreme Adventure
Over this past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Aspen, Colorado and enjoy a few days in the mountains while attending the Outside in Aspen event. For those who aren't aware, Outside in Aspen is an annual festival, sponsored by Outside Magazine, during which outdoor enthusiasts get together to take part in some of their favorite activities in a fantastic mountain setting. For example, there was rock climbing, hiking, mountaineering, cycling, paddling and more. There were also a couple of good parties, a gear "base camp," and lots of other stuff to do as well.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a symposium that consisted of a panel of adventure athletes who discussed their thoughts on the risks and rewards of extreme adventure, such as climbing mountain, whitewater kayaking, skiing, and so on. The panel consisted of some very well known names in the adventure community, including three time Everest summiteer Melissa Arnot, mountaineer and filmmaker Michael Brown, telemark skier Nick DeVore,  and kayakers Brad Ludden, and Ben Stooksberry. The panel was moderated by a couple of editors from Outside, who asked the usual questions about why these athletes do the things they do, what motivates them, and what keeps them going back for more.
Listening to the group talk about the things they do, there were several common themes that cropped up. For instance, it was clear that when they feel most happy and content with their lives while out on the mountains or rivers. But that said, there is almost always a level of discomfort, if not out right suffering, while they're on their expeditions, and that often served as a motivation to accomplish what they set out to do and get back home to a more comfortable existence. Once home however, all they can think about is their next adventure and planning for when they can get back out into the wild and do the things they love.
Each of the panelist also talked about what it felt like to not successfully complete an expedition, turning back before reaching a summit or portaging around a particularly challenging piece of whitewater for instance. In those cases, they often have to weigh the risks of going on versus the rewards that they'll receive for doing so. Each of them has had to make that decision at some point, and while they all said that it can make you question whether you did the right thing, you have to learn to not dwell on it for too long. Coming home safe is always the first priority, and when you do that, you've always made the right decision.
The issue of risk vs. reward is a tough one, as the risks generally come in a very tangible fashion, while the rewards are often much more ethereal. The possibility of getting hurt, or even killed, is something that is a part of all extreme adventures, but the rewards are often more personal and internal. They may be something as simple as a great sense of accomplishment or satisfaction, which can't be seen or heard, and is only felt on an individual level. For the athletes on this panel, those rewards often outweighed the risks, and drive them to pursue the challenges that they desire.
Sitting in the pavilion listening to these adventurers, I couldn't help but think that they were preaching to the choir. After all, we had all come to Outside in Aspen to take part in our own outdoor activities, albeit on a less extreme level. But there are a lot of people who will never understand what motivates someone to take what are perceived to be undue risks just to stand on top of a mountain. Those people feel more comfortable living a life that is safe, predictable, and controlled.
A person with that approach to their life would probably never understand what motivates someone to climb into an 8000 meter peak or make the first descent of a remote river somewhere. But listening to this distinguished panel, it was easy to see that they love what they do and that brings them a sense of happiness and contentment to their lives.
In the end, those are the greatest rewards that anyone can ask for.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Five Things I Loved About My Wedding – Kayleigh

    Five Things Loved About Wedding Kayleigh

    This is the fourth in a series of blog posts with a focus on those little things that make a wedding special. It is called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding. Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Wedincentralpark
    LIFESTYLE, WEDDING
  • Democracy and the Politics of Intolerance

    Democracy Politics Intolerance

    A democracy allows government to reflect the will of the people. Or does it? Here I would like to understand a bit better the dynamics through which radical... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Dlittle30
    SOCIETY
  • Cable Girls – 1920s Era Women with a Modern Twist

    Cable Girls 1920s Women with Modern Twist

    Las Chicas del Cable – four women in 1920s Madrid – Cloche hats, colorful flapper frocks and bobbed hair. What’s not to enjoy about the new Netflix produced... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Glamourdaze
    FASHION, LIFESTYLE
  • BADASS Art Journal Page - All of Me....

    BADASS Journal Page Me....

    Embracing all parts of me and surrounded by miracles - Art Journal PageI found a couple of passports photos of myself recently and I was criticizing them becaus... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Realityarts
    CREATIVITY, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Dutch Apple Loaf

    Dutch Apple Loaf

    This Dutch Apple Loaf is my kind of cake, soft and moist,  and filled with juicy chunks of apple and pecan nuts.  For a lovely hint of sweetness I have... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Shadesofcinnamon
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • A Jumbo Passion Project

    The climber, facing away from the wall, gingerly peers over his toes to watch his sky-blue T-shirt flutter to the ground. He takes a deep breath, then turns in... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Thervproject
    OUTDOORS
  • Top 3 Dim Sum Restaurants in Chinatown

    Restaurants Chinatown

    Chicago’s Chinatown is home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Sundays can be especially crowded in this area, usually around brunch, as dim sum, a... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago
    TRAVEL

Magazine