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Head game


Kevin L · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 5

Side note: while you were off route did you happen to find a brass nut and a green sling? 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 195
John Badila wrote: You're right.  The plural of anecdote is not data.  It doesn't need to be because an anecdote is, by definition, a datum.  A number of anecdotes, taken together, are data.  It is not quantitative data, but it is data.  Here is a link to the 315,952 articles and books held by one major university library with the term "qualitative data" in the title (see the list).  Qualitative data are subjective by definition.  NO level of "objectivity" is implied by the term "data."  Ever.  That is simply not true.  There are many types of data, some of which are subjective (qualitative data), and some of which are numerical (quantitative data).  SOME quantitative data are objective.  Some are simply counts of qualitative/subjective reports, such as the numbers that come from many surveys.  "Objective" and "quantitative" do not mean the same thing.  Neither do "objective" and "data."  

Perhaps more importantly, the reason a more "objective" study of this kind of incident is not undertaken is the same reason that this British Medical Journal article notes that there are no randomized controlled trials of parachute effectiveness (parachute study), and the same reason it is difficult at best to study a condition like cardiac arrest with a control group: it is unethical and dangerous.  And so, as in so many cases, we fall back upon qualitative data--often referred to as descriptions of subjective experience.  Aka, anecdote--among other types of qualitative data.  Also, many of the best quantitative studies start with qualitative findings.  Once we've seen a lot of anecdotes, maybe some more systematic questions will occur to us, and a survey might make sense, but what would the right questions be?  We might not know that yet, but we can still share information in the form of stories (yes, anecdotes), which is a natural human activity and the beginning of all systematic knowledge-making.  

Also, and MOST importantly--what does this "anecdote vs data" argument even have to do with a post on an internet forum asking people to share their experiences?  No one is trying to prove anything scientifically.  One of the main points of such a forum is to share anecdotes.  Why in the world would it be, or should it be, anything else?

Never implied (or meant to imply) that qualitative data were not useful.  I disagree that anecdotes are the same thing as qualitative data; again, one is collected in an intentional manner (controlled experiment) whereas the other is observational and collected after the fact.

Treating observational studies the same as double-blind controlled experiments is why media reporting of research is so messed up.  It’s funny; I’ve heard those exact references used to defend observational studies; do you listen to the Joe Rogan podcast?
To your final question: several posters began debating the relative safety of climbing vs driving and began sharing personal anecdotes as evidence, and thus began the classical MP thread drift...
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

I will admit that I have not read the book but I do know of at least one person who took a clinic and then promptly broke her knee takeing practice falls.....    Montana where the speed limit is 80 and you don't have to wear a motorcycle helmet..... 

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

our 2 month trip in 2016 we saw 2 different fatal accidents.   Motorcycle  just outside telluride and tractor trailer vs car in galatan Canyon...

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 195
Mason Stone wrote: Personal anecdotes are reference points of observational data, (like this one) John is right, Ted you are confusing ways to describe distinct forms of data. All are useful but application is where people err. If you say, my Sterling rope broke. Doesn't mean all Sterling ropes will break just the one you encountered broke hence you may want to inspect your rope periodically. If a person says all ______________ are evil, we ask, on what are you basing your observation? Reply: I came across a badger that tried to bite me. This information will help others avoid badgers or at least be cautious around them. You could further conduct regional studies of populations of badgers to see if its true, they all try to bite. Like MP posts, information shared by others is useful, its up to me, the consumer, to verify. Same with any study, if we simply use the study as evidence we neglect due diligence. Politicians are fond of this, because they know the general public doesn't verify they run with what they are told as gospel.

Also, it takes a while to recover because we have an experience that contradicts what we have told ourselves was perfectly safe.

Huh?

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476
Ted Pinson wrote:

...do you listen to the Joe Rogan podcast?

This is like saying "Did you get that from your 35-year-old stoner brother that lives in Mom's basement?"

SeƱor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

So, in summary, you're grappling with the potential fatal aspects of climbing? I'm honestly surprised it took so long to have that encounter with mortality.

Sounds like you did everything okay after your initial mistake (which we won't discuss!). How I deal with risk is actually thinking about comparative risk/reward. Everything comes with some risk and some reward. Truly understanding the risks is the key. Sounds like you got off route and were forced to climb unprotected at a level you weren't comfortable with but WERE capable of doing. I actually doubt you'll make that same mistake again but you're right that you'll make other mistakes.

If trad climbing is deeply rewarding to you then you'll get back on it and manage your risks more prudently with experience. If it's not rewarding then by definition it's not worth the risk.

I surf. I know a GREAT surf break that is right by a seal rookery where the white sharks like to snack on fat seal pups like candy. I don't surf there because a great wave isn't worth even the thought that whitey is going to nail me from below. But I'll surf a couple miles away without a 2nd thought and feel comfortable. Likewise, I don't trad lead anywhere near my sport limit. And I don't free solo. But I get it why other people do. 

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 318
John Badila wrote:Also, and MOST importantly--what does this "anecdote vs data" argument even have to do with a post on an internet forum asking people to share their experiences?  No one is trying to prove anything scientifically.  One of the main points of such a forum is to share anecdotes.  Why in the world would it be, or should it be, anything else?

Originally what I wanted to suggest was that if the OP took these anecdotes and used them like data to inform a decision, that would be fine. Decided the thread was devolving into sophistry though and dropped it. But in the interest of completion that was the original intent on my part.


Regarding the driving examples some don't seem to have an obvious point (dead people on side of road?) but my own original comment on winter driving and other driving comments which preceded it I think were made in good faith and provided as additional datums for the OP to consider because like climbing people have close calls while driving, and like climbing those close calls can leave emotional scars that the driver needs to work through to continue driving. After combat and sexual assault I think car accidents rank pretty high up there in terms of events which lead to PTSD. Most of us haven't experienced combat, and sexual assault is a bit personal, but close calls on the road seem like a perfectly fine place to look for guidance on how to deal with traumatic (for lack of a better term) experiences given the nature of this thread and forum.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 195
Bogdan P wrote:

Originally what I wanted to suggest was that if the OP took these anecdotes and used them like data to inform a decision, that would be fine. Decided the thread was devolving into sophistry though and dropped it. But in the interest of completion that was the original intent on my part.


Regarding the driving examples some don't seem to have an obvious point (dead people on side of road?) but my own original comment on winter driving and other driving comments which preceded it I think were made in good faith and provided as additional datums for the OP to consider because like climbing people have close calls while driving, and like climbing those close calls can leave emotional scars that the driver needs to work through to continue driving. After combat and sexual assault I think car accidents rank pretty high up there in terms of events which lead to PTSD. Most of us haven't experienced combat, and sexual assault is a bit personal, but close calls on the road seem like a perfectly fine place to look for guidance on how to deal with traumatic (for lack of a better term) experiences given the nature of this thread and forum.

That’s another issue entirely and completely appropriate use of anecdotes.  What I was objecting to was the notion of “I saw a bunch of car accidents this summer but was totally safe while climbing, therefore climbing must be safer than driving.”

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 318
Ted Pinson wrote:

That’s another issue entirely and completely appropriate use of anecdotes.  What I was objecting to was the notion of “I saw a bunch of car accidents this summer but was totally safe while climbing, therefore climbing must be safer than driving.”

So in the interest of staying relevant the OP should bear in mind that the important thing is not the number of people who found various strategies to work but rather the proportion of people who employed a particular strategy for whom it worked. This requires also knowing the number for whom said strategy failed (some of whom may be dead as a result), a hard bit of of info to come by.

The need to make these kinds of personal judgement calls in the absence of anything more than anecdotal evidence and heuristics is likely a big reason most people do not climb and the reason there's such a precipitous drop off in participation as climbing gets more out there (sport > trad > alpine rock > ice > alpine mixed; each one requires higher consequence decisions based on less data/formal instruction than the last, unless you live in Canmore in which case the order may get shuffled). 

It can be a two way street though. Sometimes you do the kind of climbing where the risk is tolerable. Other times you adjust the risk you'll tolerate to do the routes that inspire you. OP maybe you should consider really dialing it back until you find one of the latter? There's a lot of stuff out there better than the petit.

So I guess I'm also seconding Mr Rice on this one with his point about risk/reward.  
Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,476

Hey, who set this on Head Games?

Serge Smirnov · · Seattle, WA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 262

For me it's very route-dependent.  For routes where I know protection is good (or have a good plan for bailing if it turns out to be bad), I had no problems leading as soon as my ankle felt good enough to take small falls.  But I stay away now from routes that would test my decision making because I know I have some bad tendencies (and serious risk isn't what attracts me to climbing).  I think long approaches are a risk factor for poor decisions, since there is a tendency to not want to have come all this way for nothing.  Committing routes where bailing means leaving half the rack are another.

I.e. "climbing" covers a broad range of risk levels, and you can be selective - it doesn't have to be "all or nothing".

Skye Swoboda-Colberg · · Laradise, Dornans, Bham, Cr… · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 115

I think the tincture of time tends to make you less risk-tolerant, how you decide to push back on that force is up to you. Explore other types of climbing to reignite that passion. Take repeated falls on well-placed gear to cement your confidence in the equipment and your ability to place it. Climb with people who are better than you. Try to figure out exactly what is bothering you about that experience. Remember good judgement comes from experience, but experience comes from poor judgement.

Nathan Z · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 1

Thanks for the encouragement and banter everyone. I jumped on a really easy multipitch yesterday (Junior High - 5.6, at Donner) with a friend who let me lead all three pitches. The first real climbing move is probably the crux and certainly the mental crux of the pitch (there's an easy 5th class traverse before going up a hand crack). I fumbled around for probably 3 minutes at the base of the hand crack, dropped a cam, climbed 4 feet, then downclimbed. Repeated the first four feet and then downclimbed a few more times. Finally I had the thought that if I didn't make the move right then, I would probably never climb again.

I finally made the move past my first piece in the crack and immediately remembered why I love climbing. I didn't think about "what-ifs" for the rest of the day.

I doubt I'll never think about my close call on Petit again, but I think you all were right that I just needed to get out there on something easy. Maybe it's good to have had this type of learning experience relatively early in my trad career. Especially since it was a "what if?" not an "oh shit!" experience.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 195

Way to get back on the horse, man.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Good job, Nathan. Way to confront and overcome your fears.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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