Will Gadd lecture at the Mountaineers’ HQs

Will Gadd climbing an iceberg.

Will Gadd gave a hilarious lecture last night at the Mountaineers’ HQs in Seattle.   He covered his life story  in whirlwind 60  minutes.  I knew it was going to be a fun night with a lead-in like “Rated R for profanity, nudity and ’cause anything fun is R rated” and free beer being given out.  The lecture started off when he was just a tyke and got bitten by the outdoor bug (both of his parents were hardcore about playing outside),  his early ice climbing career followed by a stint doing some serious kayaking, then him getting back into ice and mixed climbing and quitting his job to become a professional climber, to competing in paragliding competitions,  to climbing in all sorts of unusual and extreme places – Nepal,  icebergs,  ice inside of underground mines in Sweden, ice that’s sprayed on rock from near by falls.  He even had a stint filming adventure shows.  One thing that can be said about Gadd, he’s one creative climber and has climbed some of the most unusual ice in the world.  He also has a wicked sense of humor.  In addition, to covering the fun stuff – climbing ice that’s floating in the sea, paragliding across the grand canyon, winning climbing comps, climbing ice in Ouray for 24 hours straight for a great cause, he also touched on the darker side of ice climbing or all of these more dangerous sports he part-takes in.  The point where reward and risk meet. The point where the fun meets the fine line where on the other side is death or serious injury.  He’s known quite a list of people who have died in the mountains and gave some of his own survival tips.  He said that he runs away often, 75% of the time he goes to the mountains he gets nowhere.  And he finds tremendous power in negative thinking.  He thinks of everything that could go wrong, tries to plan accordingly, had plans in place for if those things do happen, but also doesn’t let those potential problems stop him.  He forges ahead. His survival parameters are confidence, competence, consequences of risk and consciousness of the dangers.  Gadd touched on what risk and reward means for him and posed us the same question for looking at our own lives and the choices we make.  He then left us with his tips on living a full life  –  survival thinking and mentality (for all the risks one takes), maximizing what’s interesting, minimizing what’s boring and when in doubt do it. His attitude in climbing, and life, is to go until some thing stops him.  It’s inspiring.  How can you not be inspired by someone who climbs the side of an iceberg while it’s creaking and groaning from the huge differential in temperature from the inside to the outside. But it’s not just all his accomplishments, it’s also his attitude.  He doesn’t let the fear of the unknown or doubt stop him, but at the same time as he puts it “runs away often” when the risks are too great.

If you have the chance to hear Will Gadd speak I highly recommend it.  You’ll have a good time and come away with a new perspective on life.  And you might just want to go climb your own iceberg.

To follow Icebella’s adventures on Twitter you can located her under icebella_climbs.

~ by Genevieve Hathaway on December 7, 2010.

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