If you have the stomach for introspection about making mistakes and growing your skills (and don’t mind a bit of occasionally painful, life-threatening non-fiction), check out The Sharp End Podcast.

Every few weeks, creator Ashley Saupe, talks to climbers et al. about their misadventures. The day that things went wrong. She lets them tell their story, in their words, which is often powerful narrative. Afterwards, she recaps what they did well and asks them what they could have done better. I’m always impressed at the candor and willingness of the participants to show their vulnerability and talk openly about their mistakes.

climbing podcast ashley saupe

Ashley Saupe, Creator of The Sharp End

For example, a few days after I read about Marcus Mazzaferri’s unfortunate Pacific Coast Trail accident, Saupe’s compelling interview with him was ready:

By late April, Marcus Mazzaferri had already hiked nearly 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. He was just about to stop for the day near Tuolumne Meadows, high in Yosemite National Park, when he came across a swollen creek. He decided to cross it before setting up camp. What happened next left Marcus all alone, with no gear, 15 miles from the nearest road. His story will make you wonder: What would I have done?

While I’m not a climber, I do enjoy snowboarding and the outdoors. Listening to their stories reminds me to be prepared and innovative when necessary.

Here’s an excerpt Saupe’s bio from her website:

Ashley Saupe, creator and host of the Sharp End podcast, grew up in Alaska and now she’s a nomad climber, snowboarder, and surfer, moving with the seasons. In the spring she dispatches for a heli-ski company, living in a bus heated by a woodstove, 35 miles outside of Haines, Alaska. During the summer, she’s an instructor, proctor, course director, and staff trainer for the Outward Bound School in Colorado and Alaska, “changing lives through challenge and discovery.” The rest of the year it’s all travel, climbing, snowboarding, and surfing, living mostly out of her van White Fang.

Unrelated: If you’d like video climbing stories, I encourage you to check out Sender Films.

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest.

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