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Topic: How Much Risk is Too Much, When you have a young family?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 2:21 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would love to hear this community's thoughts on this.

I just read the interesting story of how Intrade's founder and CEO, John Delaney, died on Mt. Everest, very near the summit. He left behind a wife who was 8 months pregnant, and two young children.

My initial reaction was that it was very irresponsible of him to attempt Everest (a second time, he was stopped in 2007 by weather).

The mortality rate on Everest is 1.3% (according to article), which are odds similar to those facing an American  combatant in WWII.

If you had a young family, would you tempt those odds? Was Delaney wrong to pursue the summit in light of the risks?

By most indications Delaney was well prepared for the attempt. He had already done 6 of the 7 summits (continental high points), was in fantastic physical shape (obsessive about traning, accomplished marathoner), and had his previous experience on Everest. Still he died.

Your thoughts?


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 2:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Dec. 07 2013, 2:21 pm)
QUOTE
I
The mortality rate on Everest is 1.3% (according to article), which are odds similar to those facing an American  combatant in WWII.

For those who actually saw combat, the mortality rate was quite a bit higher than that.


To your question, the fact that he would leave an eight month pregnant wife for that long even with no risk, for something amounting to personal leisure, reveals a huge character flaw.

Considering the risk and the outcome, that character flaw is amplified considerably.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 2:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Since you asked what I would do, my answer is I would not go....but I am not a world-class mountaineer.  We all have things that we need to do to be true to ourselves.  Some people think I'm nuts for venturing out into the wilderness all by myself.  Sometimes, if you can do something and don't, you regret it for the rest of your life and it can really mess you up.

In the end, each person must make their own decisions and live (or die) with the consequences of those decisions.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 3:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mountaineering is essentially a selfish pursuit and one that should be done without family ties.

While your Everest mortality figure may be correct, the lifetime mortality rate for Alpine Climbing is right at 50%

It's something I would NEVER drag children into.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 3:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

30 years ago, I was a dedicated Yosemite wall rat...bullet-proof and confident that nothing could do me harm. Sure there were incidents...A good buddy un-zipped on Washington's Column while on belay...always that threat of disaster loomed but...I was un-married.
The birth of my first son prompted my wife to give the ultimatum.
My full rack still hangs intact on the garage wall...never to be used again.
Priorities.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 3:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(markskor @ Dec. 07 2013, 12:18 pm)
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My full rack still hangs intact on the garage wall...never to be used again.

Or until your son is old enough to share the experience... or when he is fully grown...   :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 3:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just a quick add:   it's not just family with children... but aged parents as well -- if they are dependent on you.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 3:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think each person has to weigh that for themselves. If you have the skills, it really isn't that much more dangerous than driving down the road. There is a certain level of danger in walking on a dirt path that most aren't even aware of and "feel" like they are completely safe, but in reality are putting themselves in more danger than a skilled climber climbing up Everest.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 4:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Taking it out of the realm of serious mountaineering and into the area of what we all do. . . a bit of scrambling, whatever: my tolerance for my own risk went WAY down when I had kids.  My husband's tolerance did not drop as far.  Or maybe it's a matter of perceived risk.  He always insists that going off scrambling alone isn't that big a risk, but I remain unconvinced and often a bit angry at him for taking chances.  At least as the boys have gotten older we've been able to mostly all go scrambling around together :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 4:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I belong to the "Parents Should Try Not to Get Killed Doing Stupid Stuff" club. There is a time and season for self-centered risk taking. When you have kids depending on you isn't it, IMO.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 5:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Dec. 07 2013, 1:50 pm)
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I think each person has to weigh that for themselves. If you have the skills, it really isn't that much more dangerous than driving down the road. There is a certain level of danger in walking on a dirt path that most aren't even aware of and "feel" like they are completely safe, but in reality are putting themselves in more danger than a skilled climber climbing up Everest.


COMPLETE BS.

We're talking mountaineering here, not frikin' rock climbing.

"Driving down the road"? You obviously haven't been there.

Mountains and weather kill with no regard to expertise.

Unreal...


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 5:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I tend to agree with those who come down on those who take unnecessary risks when they have loved ones who depend on them.  When I was young, single and I suppose, kind of dumb, then the risk factor didn't bother me that much.  However, once I had a family, I started to see things a bit differently.  I guess you call it being responsible.  That doesn't mean I stayed home, but I was a lot more careful and thoughtful about what I did.  I remember when a friend was killed while racing cars, along with his wife's normal reaction of sorrow and despair was one of tremendous anger that he would do that to his family.  I understand that.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 5:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Climb Mt. Everest when you are the most important person in your life.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 5:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Dec. 07 2013, 12:50 pm)
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I think each person has to weigh that for themselves. If you have the skills, it really isn't that much more dangerous than driving down the road. There is a certain level of danger in walking on a dirt path that most aren't even aware of and "feel" like they are completely safe, but in reality are putting themselves in more danger than a skilled climber climbing up Everest.

Thinking out loud about the risks we take and the different consequences...

What about the dozen or so firefighters who perished earlier this year in the line of duty?  Many of them had dependents.  Could have all gotten desk jobs instead.  But then, there is something noble  about dying so others could live...

As for people on personal quests to summit Everest or somesuch -- to me anyway -- there is something rather hollow reading stuff like "they died doing what they loved" -- when their deaths left nothing positive for the widows and children left behind!  Can't think of a greater waste than wasted deaths...


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 6:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Dec. 07 2013, 1:50 pm)
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There is a certain level of danger in walking on a dirt path that most aren't even aware of and "feel" like they are completely safe, but in reality are putting themselves in more danger than a skilled climber climbing up Everest.

Half of us probably won't die in the course of our backpacking "careers."  Half of serious mountaineers probably will at some point.  Not even close to the same kind of risk.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 6:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Too bad for his family, I'm sorry for their loss.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 6:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Was his wife for or against this endeavor? Maybe she's the one who encouraged him to go.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 6:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I hope he had good insurance.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 6:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montanalonewolf @ Dec. 07 2013, 6:19 pm)
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Was his wife for or against this endeavor? Maybe she's the one who encouraged him to go.

That doesn't answer for the kids.  Besides, duty isn't something that can be waived.  If my wife told me to go on a 6 month hunting trip, that doesn't make it OK.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 6:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A person is solely responsible for their own happiness.  After that, then others can make demands on our time and attention.  I truly believe that if my happiness is tied to an activity, I should find a way to participate.  I am only myself when I am happy.  

So, I would not find fault in this guy for attempting a climb of Everest.  That he left behind any loved ones with more responsibilities is not relevant to me.  

100% of us die.  We do not know when it will come.  Try to live like today is your last.  Love like you will live forever.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 7:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ponderosa @ Dec. 07 2013, 1:32 pm)
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I belong to the "Parents Should Try Not to Get Killed Doing Stupid Stuff" club. There is a time and season for self-centered risk taking. When you have kids depending on you isn't it, IMO.

I know for my husband and I the risks we were willing to take in everything dropped a lot while the kids were younger. Now that they are young adults the aging parents do give us pause before some choices. I traveled more before kids, went caving and picked up hitch-hikers a lot. I didn't think about a lot of risks and then suddenly we had two babies and I thought about every risk. It was even enough to make me nervous anytime both my husband and I were in a car or plane together without the kids. It seemed a worse risk if they could be orphaned than if only one parent could be lost. And I did some things with the kids even though they felt risky. Jumping off high rocks into the river, taking the boys when they were 8 & 9 to Guatemala without my husband even though we got in some places where there were bonfires of tires blocking the streets during riots. I told myself I would rather have them die young on a good day than die old and afraid to venture out

Yet I have wandered far from the op which means if I just answer the question I think No, once you have committed to bringing a new life into the world you no longer should take risks with your own life that are that big until the child is no longer dependent on you. Becoming a parent means someone else takes first place in all important decisions


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 7:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mountaineering especially on peaks like Everest is not rockclimbing or backpacking. Not even solo backpacking. Mountaineering is dangerous and ppl. die. I've climbed and backpacked alone. I would hike up a 10,000' foot peak in snow on a trail but I wouldn't do serious mountaineering.
Was Delaney wrong is not for me to say. Condolences to his family and friends.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 7:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I found this study.

And this.

Scroll down the latter for death rates while climbing about 6,000 meters in the Himalyas.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 7:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Death / mishap rates are critical, but there is also the degree of devastation -- should a mishap impact you.  Just because the chance of occurrence is slim doesn't automatically mean that the risk is manageable.  Depends.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 8:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We all take risks in our lives, some of us take more than others.  None of us are the same when it comes to the varying degrees of risks we're willing accept.  

Personally, as a father and a husband, I wouldn't be willing to take on the inherent risks of high altitude mountaineering.  But I don't expect everyone else to make the same decisions I do.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 8:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

After giving up the big walls -
After having someone depending on my being there for the next 21 years...
Some compromises had to be made in order to still be immersed in my High Sierra.
For a while long distance hiking worked...(Muir half a dozen times and then 2/3 of the PCT.) Alas, at the Oregon boarder discovered being a slave to any trail really made no sense.
Now fishing is the main goal/reason to get out high and deep. While the realization that off-trail treks, solo is also inherently dangerous...yes, you could die here too, but the wife accepts my follies as the risks are somewhat less.
She doesn't want to go; the kids are in college (and paid for). While I cannot do the long miles per day as 30 years prior, last year produced 97 backpacking nights.

To paraphrase someone famous...The mountains are calling, and I still must go.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 8:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(BradMT @ Dec. 07 2013, 3:04 pm)
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Mountaineering is essentially a selfish pursuit and one that should be done without family ties.

While your Everest mortality figure may be correct, the lifetime mortality rate for Alpine Climbing is right at 50%

It's something I would NEVER drag children into.

Lifetime mortality? Perhaps a high proportion of old alpinists choose to see their end in the alpine.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 8:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Reminiscence @ Dec. 07 2013, 6:23 pm)
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(BradMT @ Dec. 07 2013, 3:04 pm)
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Mountaineering is essentially a selfish pursuit and one that should be done without family ties.

While your Everest mortality figure may be correct, the lifetime mortality rate for Alpine Climbing is right at 50%

It's something I would NEVER drag children into.

Lifetime mortality? Perhaps a high proportion of old alpinists choose to see their end in the alpine.

Hard to grasp obviously, but the "point" is about dragging a family with you... unbelievable.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 9:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(BradMT @ Dec. 07 2013, 8:28 pm)
QUOTE

(Reminiscence @ Dec. 07 2013, 6:23 pm)
QUOTE

(BradMT @ Dec. 07 2013, 3:04 pm)
QUOTE
Mountaineering is essentially a selfish pursuit and one that should be done without family ties.

While your Everest mortality figure may be correct, the lifetime mortality rate for Alpine Climbing is right at 50%

It's something I would NEVER drag children into.

Lifetime mortality? Perhaps a high proportion of old alpinists choose to see their end in the alpine.

Hard to grasp obviously, but the "point" is about dragging a family with you... unbelievable.

My point is that your uncited "lifetime mortality statistic" means essentially nothing.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 9:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's none of  my business, so I don't care one way or the other.  Everyone makes their own choices in life.

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