General > Epics and Accidents

Acceptable risk and soloing

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Hmmmm, another thread has pulled me into this one...arghh...ok I probably shouldn’t but here I go, to broaden the discussion on what is “acceptable” risk.

First, a definition: risk = (the probability of occurrence) times (the gravity of the consequence).

Put soloing under the light of that equation : to each his own, really, BUT having kids is often a game changer : you are then  involving other people  in your risk taking decision, like it or not. Soloing a grade 3 or 4 if you are a grade 5 climber is probably ok (as in probabilistically)... until something goes awfully wrong. And when it does, it is sad to see the tender half/and or friends beg on the net to raise money for a fund to put the kids through college (we have seen this too often). We climbers are supposed to take responsibility for our own actions, right? So IMHO, when one starts to raise a family , I have nothing against that person soloing  if that person has  a mothaload of money in the bank or an excellent life insurance that covers climbing. Freedom is great, as long as you don’t restrain other people’s freedom by your actions, be it financially or otherwise.  The consequence can be to put your family in a very akward situation - think mortgaging your children’s future. What I am saying is that having kids to support increases the weight of the second term of the risk equation immensely…
Now I don’t expect everybody to agree but this is what I did and I am curious to hear what others think of the subject, with or withour kids.
Just my two dollars.

I know that you specifically asked about soloing but I might throw "serious alpinism" into that mix above considering the objective danger.

I wonder haw things compare with climbing deaths   soloing vs roped climbing ??? i assume that way more people die in roped accidents, but the percentage is higher for soloing ??

Example - i have had 6 pretty good friends die climbing

one soloing
4 rappelling
one in a roped fall

I agree 100% with you Ridgerunner. I love my daughters too much to check out now. But I still take risks. And my level of risk taking at this point in my life doesn't have to be, nor should be, the same as the next guy. Who am I to know where he's at? For sure though, my risk envelope is much smaller than it once was because of my family.

Despite my best efforts to be honest with myself about my abilities,  there are still climbs I'm surprised by.  I don't want one of those surprises to come when I'm not roped.  For this reason, I only solo easy stuff 2's, the occasional 3, and 5.5 maximum.  It's not so much the financial quotient of it all, my family would be all set.  I'd just rather be around to see them through.


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