Becoming Our Best


During the summer some friends of mine were attempting to reach the summit of Mt. Conness (12,590 ft. elevation). During the approach they had to go up a steep canyon to a ridge, then gradually head up the last 1000 vertical feet to the peak. But an unexpected difficulty appeared when they encountered a snowfield covering the approach canyon. Through a lot of effort (and not looking down at the steep slope behind them) they made it to the top of the snowfield. Then they looked at each other and said, “We can’t go back the same way!”

So they went down the other side of Mt Conness via a longer route and ran out of daylight when they were over 10 miles from their car. By necessity, they spent the night bivouacked in the clothes they wore, without sleeping bag, tent or even a fleece jacket to help keep warm. But they survived that very long, cold night and returned to their car the next day. What might all of us learn from this unusual experience?

• Remember: an evolution that looks simple and safe can easily turn into one that is complex and dangerous.

• Try to think of all the eventualities and prepare well.

• Notify others of where you are going and what you are doing so they might be able to help if something goes wrong.

• When problems arise, don’t panic. And keep your sense of humor.

Those friends had 28 years of difficult treks safely behind them. And they had never gotten caught in a situation where they unexpectedly had to bivouac overnight before. They needed just a few more items in their day packs to make “their longest night” more comfortable.

When you are confronted with a new experience that seems similar to the old ones you know so well, take a few minutes and look at the list above. Then decide how to reasonably prepare for the eventualities. At a minimum you will feel better prepared; and at the maximum, your life may be preserved for the next adventure.

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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