It will come as no surprise that exploring can be dangerous, there are risks in almost every location we visit. Some are fairly insignificant from potential cuts to bruises, but others can be fatal. Be that falling from height, drowning, getting hit by moving objects, you name it. But we protect ourselves from these risks with common sense, we know the limits of our abilities and what we can and can’t do safely. Trust the feeling in your gut, if it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. You will only end up getting hurt if you do.
Of course there are times when we push the limits of what we can achieve, it would be a dull undertaking if we didn’t, but even then we are not straying too far from what we know is attainable. But what about our companions, those who creep into the night along side us? Its fair to say our abilities and limits aren’t always the same, some are better than others in certain areas. So what do you do when they undertake something which, in your mind, seems obscene and dangerous?
A few years ago I found myself in Toronto, climbing some of the cities skyscrapers with a local nicknamed “ElExplorador”. Unlike myself, he didn’t appear to have any fear of heights, it didn’t matter if something was 6ft, or 600ft, if it looked climbable, he would. Sure enough, at the peak of one of the towers, he wanted more, the vertical jib of the crane offering an outlet.
While the majority of a crane is designed for a person to access safely, the jib is not. There is no safety rail, no ladder, and the beams supporting the structure are at an unnatural distance from each other. Even on the ground, this would be an awkward climb, but suspended over 55 floors in the air? I wouldn’t even attempt it.
Here is where the problems started. Every part of my body was screaming at me, telling me what he was doing was insane, to stop him. My mind was looking at the situation, comparing it with what I felt was safe, what I felt was achievable, and yelling no! I was nervous, my palms were sweaty and I genuinely feared for his safety. It was a split sensation of being amazed and sick at the same time. Just one slip, one loss of grip and it would be all over.
Needless to say he return to the base unharmed, I wanted to slap him, and shake his hand at the same time. In my mind what he achieved was incredible, stupid, but incredible nonetheless. I asked why he didn’t go all the way to the top, and he replied that it wouldn’t have been safe due to the grease. I had to laugh at that, in my mind the entire climb was unsafe, but even he had his limits, they just took him higher than mine.
In the end, there comes a certain level of trust you have to give one another while exploring. Although at the time it may be hard to deal with, and go against your better judgement, you have to let those you are with do what they have to do, and trust that they know what that are doing.