Can We Defend the Risks We Take in the Mountains? | Adventure Journal Article: “In Defense of Taking Risks”

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Niel Provo on Moonwalk.  photo: niel provo/
Niel Provo risking it all on Moonwalk?  photo: niel provo/

Earlier this week, we posted an article by the New York Times titled “Is Living the Dream Worth The Risk?”  The article was spurred by the 2012 avalanche death of Alaska helicopter ski guide Rob Liberman in Haines, AK while on the job.  The article highlights the risk some people take and the hardships felt by their families when the risks prove too much.

Rob Liberman
Rob Liberman

Steve Casimiro has written an article for Adventure Journal in direct response to the New York Times article.  Steve defends the side of the adventurer, explorer, and risk taker:

The New York Times has just published a story entitled “Extreme Grief,” which purports to examine the hazards of adventurous sports like skiing, snowboarding, and backcountry skiing in particular. In fact, it is reporting at its worst, a random collection of anecdotes in support of a spurious assumption, with seemingly no real understanding of the true issues at hand. – Steve Casimiro/Adventure Journal

Squaw rider, Ryland Bell in Haines, AK.  photo:  TWSnowboard
Risk management.  Squaw rider, Ryland Bell in Haines, AK. photo:

“That’s the risk, and dammit, it’s worth it. A life filled with adventure tastes sweeter than one viewed from the couch. And as science tells us, sitting on the couch isn’t exactly the safest place to be, either.” – Steve Casimiro/Adventure Journal

Alaska nightmare...or dream.  photo:  scott serfas
Alaska risk nightmare…or risk dream come true? photo: scott serfas

The big questions are still out there and they aren’t going away: “Is it worth the risk?” “Should we be thinking about our families or our own hopes and dreams?” “Are we selfish to ‘Live the Dream?’”

Tex Spines, AK.  photo:
Risk in motion.  Tex Spines, AK. photo:

For those of us who are trying to live the dream, we know the risks, we know the potential hurt our injuries and deaths would cause our families.  The reason we keep pushing it is because we truly don’t think it could happen to us.  So maybe there’s an even bigger question in all this:  “Could I Die Doing This?”  And if the answer is clearly “Yes”, what should we do?

Xavier de le Rue.  photo: tero repo
Xavier de le Rue. photo: tero repo

Read the entire article by Steve Casimiro here:  “In Defense of Taking Risks”

Read the entire New York Times article here:  “Is Living the Dream Worth the Risk?”

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5 thoughts on “Can We Defend the Risks We Take in the Mountains? | Adventure Journal Article: “In Defense of Taking Risks”

  1. My life seems to be way more enjoyable in the winters when im skiing and taking risks.. I have a wife and children and don’t plan on checking out anytime soon. I understand the risks and try the best I can to minimize them. I guess you learn to read things in the mountains after being in them for over 40 years. I cant tell you how many times I have backed out of situations because it seemed like the best thing to do. That doesn’t mean that something bad cant happen because it can as in anything we do in life. Hell, I got hit by a car while riding my bicycle last summer and almost got killed. I ended up with a head injury and was in the trauma center doing something that did not seem to risky. 2 weeks later I got hit by another car WTF?

    I understand both sides of the argument here as I, as well as many others from the Tahoe area have been to way to many funerals in the last five years. I guess we pay our nickle and take our chances like everyone else and just try to make the smartest decisions we can. I still think its better to live life to the fullest!

  2. it’s a delicate game of balancing risk versus reward.
    we must live our lives.
    i’ll take the adrenaline.

  3. It a tough call. You gotta live, but you don’t want to brutalize the people you love. I think you should check yourself.

  4. I like this Steve guy. Yeah, it is worth the risk ‘cause it’s damn fun and it’s living life the way I wanna live it. If that’s not an option, they what are we living for? That’s the question this article left out.

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