Friday, July 29, 2011

Now That's Trust

Imagine this scenario...
You are blind. And I mean lights out blind. Not visually impaired. Not, "I can see some shades of light, maybe a few shapes". are dark as night blind.

You are told that it's time to jump off a cliff into some water below. Initially you are unclear as to how far the jump is. Maybe it's 10 ft...perhaps 20 at the most. No big deal. Kind of like a high dive at the pool. You've done that before. You can do this.

Then your buddy tells you to follow him to the edge of said cliff. You can hear the raging water below. It sounds like it's REALLY far down there. Like REALLY far down. You can feel space all around you...below you. Your buddy scoots up to the edge of the rock to take a peek down and spurts out a "Well alrighty's like a 40 footer...but it's cool, its cool."
"It's no problem dude. You will do this. You will do this. Chances are good you're gonna live through this."

Any rational person would say "you are absolutely out of your mind". I mean come on... I can't see where I'm going to land. I might flip over and land on my back or head. 40 ft is a LOOONG way down. A lot can go wrong in 40 ft. No way man.

Well I suppose Erik IS a bit irrational. He's also got balls of steel and trusts his bro unconditionally.

I have been guiding Erik on mountains and rock faces all over the world for close to 20 years. Together, we have navigated what many folks would consider some of the most challenging and deadly terrain on the planet...much of it requiring VERY precise communication, a profound level of trust and a willingness to execute with everything we've got.

You scootch over to the edge. Stand up. Hold your buddy's hand and count it down...3. 2. 1. Launch!
Commercial break.

This was a great episode of Expedition Impossible...lots of drama, excitement and fun challenges. The production staff did a great job putting this all together (shout out to you Shooter). You can imagine the complexity of putting together such a huge operation. Quite impressive.

After the jump we moved on to a very cool zip line and straight into a very sneaky challenge where attention to detail was mandatory. Ike took this challenge on and as he headed off to retrieve the key I hollered out to him a specific detail about our symbol. Turns was a critical piece of the puzzle. Ike nailed it and we were off to the 4th class rapids.

Going in to the rapids was the only time during the entire adventure that I was actually a bit nervous. The water safety guys had come to me prior to the put in and stressed very clearly that there were MANY opportunities for folks to get hurt on the upcoming stretch of water...and more specifically, Erik could get in big trouble here. I would need to be razor sharp. I wasn't worried about me being able to navigate the water....however I was genuinely concerned whether I would be able to get Erik through it cleanly. Well...our descent wasn't particularly pretty...Erik did take a few swims...but we made it down. And we passed a few teams along the way and came in 3rd for the stage. Not bad for such a challenging stretch of racing.

As we came across the finish line, Erik's voice was still trembling with adrenaline. I had lost my voice from hollering out commands on the river for hours. Dave says that Erik is a real life action hero...and right on cue I put out a "yep...he's Superblind". Straight up.

Previews for next week show someone sustaining a significant ankle injury...speculation that it's broken. Ladies and my man Ike. He's a stud and you are about to get to know him. It's getting real now.