Each day we see videos or read stories splattered across the inter web of people pushing the envelope. We sometimes find ourselves shaking our heads at people, not knowing what could have compelled them to pursue such an unimaginable risky act. Other times we feel a ting of jealously, wishing that we too, could go and perform such ambitious feats of adventure.
Yet it is statistically inevitable that we will meet the darker face to pushing our limits. Stories of backcountry skiers that find the highest peaks in avalanche terrain only to wind up obliterated by a landside. Or those who paddle down a river in high water who overshot their take-out, relentlessly dragged by the unforgiving force up over a waterfall into their untimely demise.
The foundation of adventure is lined in risk. The pure definition touches on the element of uncertain outcome, and the potential for physical danger or loss. For sometime now there has been a debate over the reasons why people seek adventure when the consequence can be final. Adventure educator, Karl Rohnke says, “By purposely risking either physically or emotionally you are pushing your personal envelope to improve. Without risk expect little or no success.” Simply, without risk there is no potential for gain.
That being said, many adventure operators capitalize on the element of risk in their marketing package to attract those who are looking to push boundaries and proclaim their adventurous accomplishments. For the more conservative and risk-sensitive individuals, these events can evoke an undesired response to participate in any outdoor activity.
It is important to understand that many reputable organizations have undergone the process to defining their own personal risk tolerance. Without a risk tolerance system clearly defined a company can also experience negative repercussions, both on the financial and legal spectrum.
Companies capitalize on perceived risk but in fact operate on actual risk. They have evaluated and balanced between, Too Risky? To Safe? No challenge? Too challenging?
They understand that there’s risk associated with an environment but human presence create risk. Risk hinges upon decisions that you make in any given environment. Essentially companies and guides chose the level of risk that people are subjected to. Although a client may feel like they are in a dangerous situation the guide is aware of the real state of danger.
This can be a reference point to discovering your own risk tolerance. To clearly define what is a perceived risk and what is the actual risk It is important to find balance in-between where you can push your own envelope to success.