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August 2017 Issue
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The right decision

The colossal rockfall beneath Blockade Peak. Photo: Shaun Barnett/Black Robin Photography

When you’ve dreamt of achieving something for most of your life, how would you react if, just moments from accomplishing your long-held dream, you had to make a decision about whether or not to continue?

In recent months I’ve discussed the importance of decision-making in the outdoors, and we’ve run several articles where this is a central theme.

The general premise of the message is that knowing where and when to make decisions can save you a lot of pain. For instance, deciding not to carry on along the track that goes above the bushline after a recent snow event, or deciding to walk an hour upriver to a bridge rather than crossing at the most convenient place but where the water looks murky and is flowing quickly.

But this advice has always been in the form of a ‘what if’ scenario, which is kind of abstract. We can imagine it, but can we apply it? We’ve not really given any examples of decision-making in practice. Until now.

Anyone undertaking a journey to the Olivine Ice Plateau needs to be fit and experienced. It’s a hard trip, but one of the most rewarding on offer in this country. It’s been a destination our roving editor Shaun Barnett has always wanted to reach. It’s been a lifetime ambition and he writes about his journey in the story Into the Forgotten.

Which brings us back to my opening question. You’re at the crux, just a few hours from your destination when you think things look iffy: do you push on regardless or hold back, denying yourself the chance of accomplishing your long-held dream?

Barnett found himself in this position. I won’t reveal the exact circumstances of his conundrum – it would ruin the suspense – but it’s a great example of the process of decision-making in the wild. I encourage you to read it.

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