Thursday, October 9, 2008

Deep Survival

My cousin Eric recommended the book Deep Survival:  Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why to me.  I had heard good things of this book from Mazamas circles, so I checked it out from the library.  What I found was a compelling collection of stories, some of which l was familiar with.  As a mountain climber, it was helpful to read the author's analysis of the tragic 2002 Mt. Hood accident.

But there was something deeper here than  learning from someone's mistakes.  The author spent considerable time exploring the mindset of survivors.  I found this useful, but I found myself looking for the magic formula to avoid accidents in the first place.  Deep Survival points out that accidents will happen, just do not let them happen to you.  So, how does one do this?

Perhaps the beginning of the answer is a mix of humility and preparedness.  This book made me realize that I have had many outdoor experiences where things have not gone wrong.  It would be easy to conclude that it was my skill and savvy that got me safely home.  That could be a tragic error on my part.  To go out in the wilderness is to walk on a knife edge ridge between deep rewards and devistating disaster.  Survivors realize this and are humble travellers, ever mindful of what is going on around them.  They listen for the faint whisper of intitution and are flexible, willing to change their plans.

If you are looking to learn the rules of adventure, whether it is in the mountains or the dramas of life, this is a good place to start.


partyintukwila said...

Sounds like quite an interesting book, especially since I've just recently learned so much about tragedies on Everest. I was unfamiliar with the 2002 Hood incident, so thanks for including that link. Anton just finished reading "Into Thin Air," which I'm sure you've read.

Anonymous said...

A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928

Mike P