The Mountain Don’t Love You…

Mountain Tactical posted this a while back:

You May Love the Mountain, But the Mountain Doesn’t Love You.

We lost a skier this year at Meadows, on Mt Hood. It is sobering, because such activities, skiiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing – at Meadows of all places! – are full of fun and excitement and you don’t ever really think of any of it being anything in the way of danger. It’s deceptive that way…

I’ve only done a mountain sport for a few years now, other than some odd runs and snowshoeing years back, and you learn a lot about what could happen in the little disasters averted; car getting stuck (what if that had been during a blizzard and no one was driving by?), navigating blizzards, blowing a knee (what if that had been on a remote run, after dark, and all alone?), or your wrist (that’s for M.H. – just one more run, heh heh), going too fast and overrunning your headlights, or being mindful of the other guy outrunning his and not being able to adjust.

Trees and rocks and ledges and dropoffs, fixed objects, are ever-present hazards.

It’s really analogous to the tactical world: you have to be mindful of all those things around you and yet still operate, even exhilarate, in the moment to be functioning at top performance. This is where real world experience comes in handy, just so long as we listen to that voice of experience inside of us. Laurence Gonzalez has written of the topic of seasoned veterans not listening to that voice, and overriding it to take a risk. Sometimes with fatal results.

It’s really in finding the balance between the two – the voice, and the calculated risk.

Finding this in other venues, other “worlds,” especially one with consequences, only hones our edge.




  1. Chris, thanks for sharing that. I thought I had read all the relevant articles on that site but, nope, I had missed that one.

    As for “finding this in other venues:” back in my iaido days I figured that rock climbing and alpinism would be a way to develop the type of mind I wanted for swordsmanship. Some years later I ran into my iai teacher at the rock gym and found out that he used to be a big wall climber. I wonder if he had come to similar conclusions?


    • I did Suio-ryu for a bit, and several members were surgeons or involved in other activities in which risk, or danger, or injury or even life was in the balance and they felt that iai helped them – it really is all about what you do in that moment, and in that position, that the adversary – or the obstacle – places you in…

      For perhaps a more direct correlation, consider the range: you fire on your target, you follow through, you follow the threat down (this can be done with the eyes and the gun), and assess for additional threat from the target or others……hmmmm.


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