Given what happened this week at Hanging Rock I thought I would not post this photo for a while. But somewhere deep inside me I feel like it needs to go out. What happened on Tuesday is tragic, one young and beautiful soul full of life is not here anymore. It sucks, it hurts, it is not easy ... My condolences go to the family and all of us who feel miserable right now.
What concerns me though is the flood of responses and comments I hear all around me. Dangerous activities should be banned, people are risking their lives, lets fence these places out and fine those people. I am not surprised to hear those judging comments as most of them are based on the unfortunate media coverage which seems to follow every tragic event with a shock factor greater than ever increasing X. It takes much more effort to write a catchy story about a normal day of an adventure junkie. Yes, what we do is "obviously" more dangerous. However when I look around me on a typical day I see tens and sometimes hundreds of people having fun being cautious about their safety ... double checking and looking after each other. There is this unique sense of camaraderie and belonging to a group of people who really care and are willing to make sacrifices for others. There are people doing what they love, calculating the risks and quite often bailing on their dreamed and ambitious climbs, jumps, big waves due to not feeling ready, quite right or not up to the game yet.
The other day sitting in a "safe" coffee shop I talked about climbing to a friend of mine. He said what we do is dangerous and he would not be able to risk his life like that. Then when leaving the coffee shop he briefly looked right, then left and jay walked the busy Sydney morning traffic. I am not going to hypothesize what is more dangerous. It is always a fine line between safety and danger and accidents happen. My point is that danger is subjective and cannot be easily generalized, banned, fined. My friend calculated the risk and crossed the street. He was familiar enough with this situation to be comfortable to "risk his life". I can see some parallels here however with much less potential for exciting and blood-thirsty news should something go wrong.
Perhaps I am missing something, perhaps we really are all selfish, I really do not know... if you know, please let me know ...
On the picture here is Stepan at Hanging Rock last Saturday having a great time, doing what he loves ... in the safest way possible.
Stay safe guys! Peace!