True North Blog

The Little Things Matter

The Little Things Matter

You have all heard the maxim, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  But is it true?

While I agree with it conceptually, I have never been able to completely embrace it in practice.  Especially when it comes to outdoor activities.  In my view, it is the small stuff which is most important.

It is the small details on which everything else (that is, the big stuff) is based, and if that base is bad, everything else could quickly fall apart.  During my courses, I regularly remind students that they need to pay attention to detail because, otherwise, those oversights have the potential to combine to create a very serious situation for themselves, and others.  After all, a catastrophe does not result simply as the result of one single, isolated incident, but rather as a chain of seemingly unrelated incidents that reach a critical mass.  By sweating the small stuff, one can vey often help break the links in that chain.

Just ask acclaimed American rock climber, John Long.  His long career and many climbing feats include the first one-day ascent of El Capitan at Yosemite National Park, and he helped to popularize the sport of “free soloing” (that is, climbing without rope).  So one would not normally expect someone like Long to make even a small mistake while climbing that could potentially kill him … particularly in a place as seemingly mundane as an indoor climbing facility.

Expect that Long did make such a small mistake.  Long was hospitalized in 2012 for injuries that he sustained while at a climbing facility.  owing to a knot that he tied badly when he became distracted.

Long recently provided the details of the incident in Rock and Ice magazine.  Here is a link for your convenience.

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook.

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