Who was that guy

11:54 a.m. on March 24, 2007 (EDT)
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I have been reading this site for a long time but am a first time poster.

I an interested in learning about climbing and do some in the future.
At this point I have only hiked long overnights and some small climbs.
Before I was sidelined by an accident I had competed in a few Ironman triathlons and countless ultra runs and marathons. I always understood the "don't stop no matter what" but some of the stories on TV I have seen take it to another level.

While I ended up in the medical tent on occasion I never thought there was a chance I could actually die.
I was also very shocked by Jon Krakauer's book as well.
This all leads to a question about another story though.
I saw a story a while back on either National Geographic or the Discovery.

It was about a guy who loved to climb and take risks.
He was a bit crazy though. He would exercise when he was up at altitude, doing push ups and sit ups.
He also would bring his espresso Machine so he could OD on caffeine.

The part of the story that I found conflicting was he had a family at home. His wife claimed it was who he was but it was clear he was not going to stop until he died up there. Eventually he did fall and die.
I remember thinking how unfair it was for his wife and kids. If you want kids why spend more than half of you like away.
I can see doing it once or twice to succeed but it sure seem crazy to me.

I just did not understand I guess and that is why I'm interested in learning more about him rather than just criticize him
As I said it was a story on TV, but I wonder if there is a book.
If anyone has any info on the show or story I would appreciate it.


Thanks and Take Care

Chulio

2:36 p.m. on March 24, 2007 (EDT)
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Chulio -
I am not sure who "that guy" was, since Discovery especially, but also History and National Geographic, along with a number of other TV channels have gone to running "Extreme!!!" shows. Look down this forum a bit and you will see the long thread about the "Everest: Beyond the Limit" 6-part series.

Basically, it comes down to personal choice of life style, responsibility to others (not only family, but fellow climbers/hikers/skiers, search and rescue professionals and volunteers, and so on). You said that you had suffered injuries in your activities, but continue to do them. What if you had become seriously disabled, not just an injury you recovered from? I don't know your occupation, but in Iron Man, triathalon, and other events that fall into the "Extreme!!!" category (well, that's the TV characterization anyway), people can and do suffer permanently disabling injuries, and some die. These can be from tripping during a run and breaking a leg so badly they can't walk again (yes, it has happened), drowning (also has happened), attacked by a dangerous animal (on several "eco-challenges"), severe dehydration (there have been deaths from this on several famous marathons, though the well-run events have minimized this). And, of course, as most people are aware, you can die or be permanently disabled just driving to and from work.

There are lots of risks in life that will affect one's family, leaving the little children fatherless, motherless, or even parentless. It isn't a question of whether you will die - remember the major cause of death is being born. Everyone who has been born has died or will die. The question is when, and by what means. You can choose a "risk-free" lifestyle of sitting on the couch (eating chips and pizza, thus clogging your arteries), or riding your bike daily (and risking crazy or inattentive drivers who run into you), or a public service occupation like fire, law enforcement, or paramedic (which have high risk of serious injury or death, yet we all need these someone to take on these jobs). If your recreation is hiking, you run risks of getting caught out in bad weather or getting attacked by dangerous animals. If you go kayaking, you risk drowning in a dangerous rapid, or if sea kayaking, getting attacked by a great white who mistook your kayak for a seal. And yes, a climber or backcountry skier could get caught in an avalanche or a fatal fall. Even recreational skiers run the risk of hitting a tree, or getting hit by a snowboarder (happened to me, and she dislocated my elbow, and there are tree collision deaths every year).

My take on it is each individual has to decide his/her own philosophy and approach to responsibility for others, whether they are family or professional rescuers. Since anyone could die at anytime from natural disasters, car accidents, or accidents in the recreational activities they participate in, you have to decide what if any provisions you are going to make for spouse, children, aged parents, and others who might be dependent. It is no more irresponsible for the full-time climber who scrapes out a meager living through climbing to take those risks than it is for the person who commutes by car and is up to his/her ears in credit card debt and whose single-income family will immediately be bankrupt and lose their house.

10:08 a.m. on March 26, 2007 (EDT)
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A book is in the works. His wife is purported to be writing it.

(must have seen the NF Shishapangma movie)

-Brian in SLC

December 26, 2014
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