Fun outdoors – what a novelty! If you ever spent some time outdoors, you know that fun is a scale – from really fun to absolutely terrible and embarrassing. I’m not sure when I heard about the fun scale, but it is one of those common things that everyone talks about. Every second site about the outdoors mentions it and it is a big part of the climbing scene. If you haven’t heard about it, then there it is:
- Type 1 – True fun, no restrictions or buts. Like sitting on top of a mountain with a great sunrise and a brew. Or the prefect burger or seeing your child for the first time– just perfect moments you would forever love to think back at and recreate.
- Type 2 – considered the most common of outdoors’ fun – a not so great time now but it will make the best story ever! You know what they are – being lost in the forest in the midst of a storm and somehow find your way back. Or a bit of kit that came out while falling just after the crux and for the next one to hold. Yes, those – the ones you love to boost about later and may even convince yourself they were fun.
- Type 3 – Those are the really bad ones, the ones you don’t even want to talk about. In the type 3 situation there is a level of pain there that you don’t even want to recall – shattered ankles from a wrong jump, going for a hold the wrong way and breaking a finger or five, that storm in the forest – but not finding your way out, just finding hypothermia instead.
Now that we are all on the same page and you are up to date with the whole “fun types” thing, the real conversation starts.
How to make type 3 fun into type 1?
There is a miss conception, in my opinion, that different activities, or sports, have different types of fun. For example – ice climbing tend to be seen almost always as type 2 or 3 fun, but I’m sure that you will find that Andy Kirkpatrick doesn’t think so (you should read his stuff to understand). Another example is running – everyone hates running, right? So why do so many people run? Is it just type 3 fun kind of masochism?
When I started running, every run was type 3. It was a pain to start, a pain throughout, and I was mostly embarrassed that I fell apart after a couple of miles. Too embarrassed to even admit I was running (to myself or others). By my tenth or so run, running was a type 2 fun – I enjoyed the feeling afterwards, I liked the idea of going on a run and could comfortably boost running 3-4 miles easily – to me and to others. By now (after running for some time now) running is a type 1 fun – pretty much all the time. It is no longer the anticipation to start a run and just get to the end, but to actually be in the run itself. Enjoying the laboured breathing the muscle fatigue, building a pace rhythm and just looking around me – those are all great even while running. So what happened?
To make an activity, especially and outdoor one, to become a type 1 fun we need to be comfortable with it, we need to enjoy doing it and to be able to do it easily. So, to move a type 3 fun to type 1 you need very simple things:
- Skills – usually of the technical kind. Learn how to pack properly, have better foot technique, learn how to distribute eight on your crampons, lean into the curves etc etc. For each activity there is more you can learn, so do so. Get books, join a course, get a trainer and move your ability to be able to face what used to be type 3 with ease.
- Gear – sometimes we are just not using the right kit. Wrong waterproofs, badly fitted boots, an old harness. Find the weak spots in your gear list and start replacing. Gear should be working for you, not against you.
- Fitness – as much as we hate the idea, being fit makes it easier. If climbing that hill is terrible for you because you go hiking once a month, make sure to run in between. By next time that hill will be nothing but a view point.
- Perseverance – power through it. As long as you make sure to avoid injury, push through the pain. Running is always bad at the beginning, but any runner will tell you that it becomes much easier over time.
- Adjust – if you keep on trying to climb 6a and fail or get injured, maybe you are over doing it. Step down a couple of levels and work on being happy with 5a or 5b and then work your way up again. Don’t insist just because others are doing so.
- Mind set – sometimes just a deep breath, a mind rest and deciding to enjoy some thing is all you need. Pouring while you are out? So what? You have you gear, you are well protected, so have fun!
Just make the move
Don’t let that type 3 fun stop you from going outdoors. That is probably the most important thing. Find how you can use the tricks above to keep your experience always positive (type 1 kind of a thing) and just keep at it.
As long you are safe, it can all be type 1.
Article Written by: Gilad Nachmani
CNOC – Outdoor gear and skills center