Monday, February 17, 2014

Trusting Your Team

In the final pages of Chapter three, Krakauer describes the other members of the expedition and how unfamiliar this dynamic of climbing with strangers is to him. Signing up for a climb as a paying customer, with unclear minimum limits to fitness and experience, seems as strange to me as it does to Krakauer. I share his status quo for pursuing challenging experiences only when accompanied by equally if not more knowledgable companions. The idea of venturing into a technical, high risk experience with total strangers seems like a trust fall that I would find to be very uncomfortable. On the one hand, as I write this, I realize that I have participated in Nols and Wilderness Ventures courses and see how these two examples overlap. On the other, none of the trips that I have shown up on with little to no prior training involved elevations and extreme weather that reduce appendages to icicles and brain cells to goop. Krakauer's willingness to recline into a position as the ignorant follower is very interesting to me. Because I consider myself to posses considerable experience in a given outdoor activity that I would participate in, I would have a very hard time relinquishing involvement in decision making as Krakauer did.

1 comment:

  1. What came first the chicken or the egg? Trust in oneself.

    How does one define a team? A team can have different motivations, but members must share a common goal. Adventure Consultants could be considered a team due to their common goal of climbing Mount Everest, but teams are bound by more than a common goal. They are bound by trust, and Adventure Consultants lack trust. They may trust themselves individually, but they do not have the trust in each other needed to succeed as a team, at least according to Krakauer. The climb is an individual pursuit because they do not trust one another and they do not experience success together, considering some people die.

    What happens when mountaineering becomes an individual sport? Trust shifts from one’s team to oneself. Your success relies on yourself, and maybe some luck, but for the most part, your fate is in your hands. This relieves the tension of relying on others and makes people feel comfortable.

    I believe the discomfort of adventure—the discomfort of working with a team in any capacity—is what makes a great adventure, but you cannot experience a successful adventure if you don’t have trust in yourself. Without trust in oneself, one cannot succeed in any capacity. Into Thin Air suggests that team success starts with individual success.