Welcome to the first episode of 2015!

We have a lot of exciting things coming your way this year; new climbing projects, new films, old(er) films that will be released for the first time and of course more discussion and engagement of LIFE with diabetes from an empowering standpoint.

 I have been planning for a move that will take place soon and of course I have been busy at my new job (which I am loving!) at Glu (www.myglu.org) so all of these factors have obviously meant that I have less time to devote to podcasting–but not to worry! I have a lot of climbing and traveling planned this year too, which will take place alongside my job–so there won’t be a shortage of things to see and discuss–and hopefully new opportunities to connect and get active outside where diabetes falls into an appropriate perspective.

 This episode is about how we interact with risk in our diabetes and in climbing. Recently we have seen climbing make an appearance in the mainstream media and it’s always amazing to me how little the general public seems to know about it. This of course gives rise to many, many highly uninformed comments which range from silly to downright dangerous and offensive.Sound familiar? It’s a lot like type 1 diabetes, when it makes an appearance in the media. Often, with both climbing and diabetes there is little interest from the outside unless some mishap or catastrophe occurs. LivingVertical was founded to create a dialogue that specifically shifts the focus from those negative shades towards something more positive.This of course gives me pause in terms of what considerations we need to take in regard to our risk management. The last thing I’d ever want would be for the ignorant views of people who need education about diabetes to be branded onto LivingVertical due to some sort of oversight on my point leading to a mishap. All of this coincided with a question on a facebook group called MAD (Mountains for Active Diabetics) where one of the members there is asking for input on how they manage risk and if it’s appropriate to hire additional porters in order to successfully ascend mount Kilimanjaro.
Episode 8 looks at how risk is important–because it gives us feedback on what we are suited to and where we should push harder and further–and when we should accept retreat. Every person with diabetes has to make their own decisions about how much extra supplies to carry. Every climber has to determine how many ropes they are taking up a route or extra layers. We all have to know ourselves and our own needs–but we should be aware that the means we use to manage or reduce risk can send messages to the “outside” world about climbing and us as people with diabetes. This was somewhat challenging–recording this episode. I have pretty strong feelings about risk management as a T1D, climber and climbing guide–having led clients through technical terrain in a variety of environments.I don’t think that a model which emphasizes the summit at all costs is good for developing the best, safest climbers–diabetes or no. An appropriate margin of error should be prioritized. I bring my diabetes into the mountains because I am searching for the great equalizer. A challenge that has no regard for diabetes or any other issues specific to me. That means that I should be able to carry the items that are essential to my survival on the mountain and be prepared to use them appropriately if needed. If I can’t do that individually, sure, I could get someone else to assist me but should I? Is it fair to go into a climb with a presupposition that one or more persons will just be a weak link in the chain?
If you’re going into the mountains, be prepared to take what they dish out. Be prepared to take your diabetes there and manage it independently. If that’s something that sounds elitist–it’s not. My goal is seeing climbing done safely. If that means taking more time and approaching objectives more selectively–that’s better than shaving down the challenge to accommodate a thinner margin of error.
I hope you enjoy this episode. If you agree, sound off. If you think I’m a pompous elitist, have at it! This is the internet and you can say anything you want!
Music provided by: Ken Hamm and Newton Balloon