S2.E13: Knowing When to go for it with Mike Adolph

Knowing When to go for it with Mike Adolph

How can we ever know when we should turn back or keep going? On paper, the safest decision to make is often to turn around or choose the route that takes on less risk. However, in reality, delivering adventure isn’t always about picking the safest choice. At the core of every adventure is an element of risk taking. Being able to decide when to go for it, and when not to, is a defining trait of professional adventure guides and instructors.

Helping us to identify when it’s okay to keep going is Mike Adolph. Mike is an ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guide and the current technical director of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. There are a number of factors that can hold us back from continuing onwards towards an objective including self doubt, fear, and uncertainty.

We discuss some key strategies with Mike that we can use that can help us to determine if we should abort a plan or whether we are well positioned to keep going.

Key Takeaways:

How can we know when we should push forward and keep going with a plan when we may feel like doing the opposite? A few of the strategies that can help to guide our decision making include:

Set goals around experiences: Instead of hard destinations or milestones, make it about the experience. When it comes to delivering adventure, we can box ourselves in by setting our expectations around achieving certain objectives.

Identifying data points that support the decision to continue: This includes the amount of time taken to accomplish a task, competency level of skills, the interest level of group, the weather, the conditions, the amount of risk and the amount risk tolerance within the group.

Remove pressure from the leader: Talk to the group for their feedback to ensure you are not the one driving the group or holding them back.

If uncertainty is rising, ask yourself why: This uncertainty could include self doubt, the ability level of yourself or the group to handle the situation, the interest level of everyone involved, the conditions, and the actual route or path you want to take.

Don’t make a decision until you have to: This allows us the opportunity to collect as much information as possible before making a commitment.

 Guest Bio

Mike Adolph is an ACMG / IFMGA Mountain Guide and the current technical director of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. In addition to guiding custom outdoor adventures for small groups, Mike also works as a guide trainer and examiner for the ACMG’s Training and Assessment Program.

Mike started in the outdoor industry in 1994 after his family, in a joint venture, opened the Sheiling Mountain Lodge and the Center for Outdoor Education in Nordegg, Alberta. He completed his final ACMG exam and received his IFMGA International Federation of Mountain Guides Association Mountain Guide designation in 2009. He always admired his instructors and examiners, even if they were a bit harsh at times, which lead to him getting involved with the instructor/examiner team in 2012. When the job posting for the interim ACMG technical director came up in 2018, he thought, why not? 

The mountains have taught him to be open to all possibilities, have several options and go with the flow. I feel lucky to have this as a career and am extremely grateful to my loving and understanding wife Jennifer and our two boys Lucas and Tyler.

Guest Links

ACMG Technical Manuals: https://www.acmg.ca/03public/resources/publications.aspx

Association of Mountain Guides: www.acmg.ca

David Thomson Via Ferratas: www.viaferratacanada.com

Mike Adolph Email: msadolph@gmail.com

Mike Adolph Instagram: @ mikeatcoe
Avalanche Hour with Mike Adolph: https://soundcloud.com/user-23585762/avalanche-hour-podcast-mike-adolph-acmg-10

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