Blogger’s note: I picked up this set of interesting comments by Francis Quinon on Facebook and with his consent, I have taken the liberty of posting them here for the benefit of all.
Emotions are ripe when things go wrong – as in the case of the disappearance of Victor Ayson – especially when we touch on a sensitive issue like solo climbing. I think it is not fair to curse expletives at someone simply because we don’t agree with their opinion. We disagree with the opinion but we don’t have to be nasty with the person. A hurtful word, once delivered, is hard to take back. Thus, let’s keep our eye focused to two issues: The missing hiker and whether it’s a good thing to solo climb or not. About the solo hiker, let’s just hope that he is safe regardless of the number of days that’s gone by since he went missing.Letter to a young mountaineer: Why do accidents happen?
Solo climbing is a personal choice and personal responsibility. It is difficult to simply make a rule forbidding solo climbing simply because of this incident or of rare previous ones. Because following this line of thinking, maybe we have to ask ourselves these questions:
Because there are car accidents, do we have to ban the manufacture of cars?
Because there are airline disasters, do we have to stop all flights?
There were skydiving incidents all around the world but it did not deter the whole world to stop skydiving right?
And what about bungee jumping? There were ocular injuries and ropes that snapped, but it still is a popular sport for the adrenaline junkies. Has the world put a halt to this activity?
And what about drunk driving? You see it all over the place. But really? Have we done anything about it? Have we stopped selling liquors for that matter?
I have met a lot of mountaineers and rock climbers who have done solo and I tell you they have loads of experience in their belt that would shame some of us here. They said that solo climbing is not the problem rather it is the individuals lack of self-assessment, preparation and risk assessment.
Solo climbing has its dangers but it is the sole responsibility of individuals to evaluate that measured risk whether the decision is properly considered and all steps were taken to ensure safety or it’s simply a straight on gung-ho attitude which smells of carelessness and immaturity.
Again, it’s the not the act but the person doing the act that fails. We can disagree with opinions but we have no right to attack personally. To call oneself a mountaineer is not simply having the right skills set or the amount of hiking gears you have in your garage or the humongous amounts of climbs you have in your resume. Being a mountaineer is a lot more than that. It spells compassion, understanding, camaraderie and total respect for every individual regardless of beliefs and differing opinions. I hope we can still get on the same boat and enjoy the friendship that we have in this climbing community. Thank you very much.
The opinion expressed in this piece is solely that of Mr. Quinon and does not necessarily represent PinoyMountaineer’s point of view. For dissenting views and your own thoughts on this matter, please feel free to comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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