What is Adventure?



  • The Everest thread prompted me to pose this query. I have thought much on this over the decade (okay, for the quibblers it was only 9.x years) I spent not paying rent and living out of the back of my truck. I've kind of had the impression, perhaps erroneously, that much, if not most, of the newer generations missed this aspect entirely as climbing evolved from a counter culture life style to mainstream sport. So, without further ado: What is adventure?



  • Anytime you get off the beaten track and go exploring into the unknown.

    Adventure is for the intrepid, as it has always been - the boundaries just get pushed back a little with the influx of participants to your given outdoorsy penchant.



  • Indeed, this was one of my primary criteria as well. Not sure it still stands though with modern technology, e.g. GPS and satellite phones and such. I mean, is one really "off the beaten" path when their watch is telling them near exact altitude and GPS coordinates, with fairly detailed satellite views sucked down on their tablet? Having never experienced anything else, many would say "yes" without giving it much thought.

    Edit: So yeah, I agree that getting off the beaten path is requisite. It is just a whole lot harder to do nowadays.



  • @toby Being willing to experience "not knowing".



  • I do agree the word "adventure" has suffered a downgrade in the last 20 years or so. I think Donini more or less said "You've had an adventure when you've been cold, wet, & scared, with no possibility of rescue, for more than a day,"

    I'm not quite that severe at deciding I've been on an adventure, but some must have criteria are: No communication with the outside world, off trail, surprises encountered & survived, & a little misery. Adventures must be multi-day "suffer-fests" too. We encountered this bottomless water after bushwacking down a cliff in Idaho in 2009. Jerry & I pushed a floating log into position as a bridge & while I braced the log, Jerry ferried our packs across.

    Sawtooths 2009 100.JPG

    Sawtooths 2009 102.JPG



  • If one finds oneself in a state of technology that there is no "unknown", one can either abandon that technology or accept there is no unknown.

    Good instincts and dead reckoning may or may not be lost...



  • ...or find the "unknown" on a smaller scale - such as first ascents, first descents, proximity Base, etc...



  • @FritzRay

    And so... we have arrived at another of my criteria: There has to be some risk of injury or even death.

    Risk should be managed, of course, which leads to utilizing various modern technologies. Given advancements in technology move at light speed these days, we've come full circle to trying to define what "off the beaten path" actually means in the real.

    To wit, we've touched on yet another on my list: There must be an element of the unknown. This used to be pretty tightly coupled with "Risk" but much less so in modern times. Turn back the clock a couple hundred years, pre compass, topo maps, and orienteering skills, and the mountain men of yore may well be laughing at what we call "unknown". Heh, just a bit of a reality check for the holier than thou folks 😜

    Although obviously one is opening the door for such when they embrace an element of the unknown, I am not in agreement with the sufferfest' bit, however, as I have had some pretty darn good ones without much suffering (which is not to say that I've not experienced a few epics' and gotten damn lucky a time or three).



  • "Adventure", IMHO, is a relative term.

    For a city dweller with little outdoor experience, climbing the Half Dome cables could be the "adventure" of a lifetime.

    For the climbing community, it's more a stroll in a very crowded park.



  • Toby! Per your mention: "I am not in agreement with the sufferfest' bit, however, as I have had some pretty darn good ones without much suffering"

    Ah, but I think I have a less severe definition of "Sufferfest" than some. I confess, what I consider a "sufferfest" might well be "a hell of a gud-time" to some folks.

    At about age 32 I took a less experienced climber friend into Mt. Colchuck in the Cascades for a January drought-year ascent of its north face. After many miles of slogging through ankle-deep to knee-deep snow on the approach, I looked back & noticed he had a huge grin on his face. I snaped & said, "Your're enjoying this aren't you!" He blandly replied that he was having a great time. I told him my feet were cold, I was tired of having twin "snot-cicles" hanging from my nose, the 65 lbs on my back was a miserable load, & I sure as hell was not having a great time! We continued on & the next day did the climb, which went cleanly without a lot of fear on my part, but it still was a "sufferfest."



  • @L-Aura said in What is Adventure?:

    "Adventure", IMHO, is a relative term.

    For a city dweller with little outdoor experience, climbing the Half Dome cables could be the "adventure" of a lifetime.

    For the climbing community, it's more a stroll in a very crowded park.

    Spot on, L-Aura!

    After living in an native village in AK and doing things like mushing a recreational dog team out in "The Bush", where the population density was somewhere on the order of 0.2 people per 100 acres at the time.... I came to view much of what I had previously thought of as "Wilderness" in the lower 48 as tame and groomed. Which tips my hand to what I'd planned as a follow up discussion starter thread; "What is Wild/Wilderness?".



  • For me personally, there are two key criteria for a proper adventure:

    1. Dependence on my physical senses to interpret the world directly as I experience it to make decisions
    2. The sense that my only option is to get myself out of whatever I get myself into

    Aside from these, I more loosely use the term adventure to capture a mindset that I choose to adopt. It is the idea that whatever adversity I encounter, it’s part of what I signed up for, part of the life path that I chose, and that I should embrace the good and the bad and assign my own positive meaning to the experiences rather than let some discomfort or unpleasant/unexpected events dictate my perceptions and life happiness.

    It’s a choice to take responsibility for my attitude, rather than treating my moods like weather that I can’t control.



  • @toby said in What is Adventure?:

    After living in an native village in AK and doing things like mushing a recreational dog team out in "The Bush", where the population density was somewhere on the order of 0.2 people per 100 acres at the time....

    Where were you exactly? And when?

    I lived in Anchorage from '84 to '90...went to AussieLand and KiwiVille for 2 years....then returned to the Wasilla/Palmer area for 2 years.

    Now THAT was an adventure!



  • I am reminded of some cool adventures from one of our great raconteurs, Gorilla Monsoon by John Long. Yeah, I know he's written bunches of more recent stuff, but this was gold for me back in the day 🥇

    I guess he kind of faded from ST but I sure would be honored to see him pop up here. Probably done with boards though when he can monetize so readily via the publishers.



  • @toby
    adventure for me is a third class bus across southern Mexico with a lunch stop of tacos made from a fly covered pigs head with a warm Leon Negra or two to wash it down.



  • @Alfalfa said in What is Adventure?:

    a third class bus across southern Mexico with a lunch stop of tacos made from a fly covered pigs head with a warm Leon Negra

    How do you spell adventure? Pepto Bismol

    😜



  • I'm reading The Push, by Tommy Caldwell. He climbed Lost Arrow Spire and did the Tyrolean traverse back across.... when he was seven. That's gotta count as an adventure for a second-grader!



  • L-Aura is right, adventure is relative to a person's experience. But as the world shrinks and becomes more and more networked and interconnected adventure becomes scarcer.

    Of course adventure from the latin means "to go toward", but we add connotations of danger and unknown.



  • Chouinard wrote "it's not an adventure until something goes wrong"



  • I don't think it's too hard to find adventure these days. Just last week I had quite the little adventure getting a couple of cheerleaders to come home with me. Wife with the shotgun made it quite risky, too.

    But on a more serious note, all one has to do is leave the trail, go outside one's comfort zone--whatever that is--and some measure of adventure will be yours for the taking. Of course, there are different levels--cutting cross country to a valley you've never seen before, asking out that woman who would eventually become your wife, setting out on a free solo, up AND down Fitzroy. Let's create a rating system: AV 1 through AV 7. AV 7 is where folks start dying.


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