“Mountains Speak, Wise Men Listen,”
When Jeremy Jones speaks you better listen up. His accomplishments and video segments speak for themselves but the mental preparation that goes into these achievements goes largely unnoticed. He recently published an article on Jone’s Snowboards about the stages of metal preparedness he goes through before major descents. We all need to slow down, read it, and employ his advice while we are out in the mountains.
For the real serious lines I like to disconnect from the world and camp in front of the mountain for long periods of time to feel the mood of the line and observe the weather cycles.
Humility vs Ego:
The battle between ego and humility is one of the greatest mental challenges of daily life. Am I over confident? Do I, anyone in the group, or the group as a whole have a big ego today? Is our confidence over-boosted by recent success? Observing and avoiding over amping ego in other people is easy but it is much harder to see in yourself. Lack of humility is one of my most common mistakes at times when I have screwed up in the mountains.
The mountains do not care that your only day off is Saturday, it is the last day of your trip, or that the shadow is creeping up your line. For the real serious lines the calendar and your agenda needs to be thrown out the window. The more critical a line is the rarer it is in form. A serious line with consequences should be looked at as unrideable. It is only in rare occurrences that they become ridable. That window can be minutes long. As quick as it opens it can also close.
Ride For Tomorrow:
When I get the opportunity to be around longtime backountry riders or mountaineers I always try and soak up their knowledge. I often ask, “any advice for being able to do this into my whole life?” 72 year old Norwegian snowboard legend Tommen summed it up best. “Tomorrow is good too. Ride for Tomorrow.” The season is a marathon not a sprint. Do not force the issue. “What happens if this slope slides or I make a mistake?” I ask this over and over moving through the mountains. Don’t hide from the answer. Try and avoid the “I die if it slides” answer at all costs.
Just Say No:
This is another mantra I say over and over going into the mountains. The mountains are guilty until proven innocent. I do not like to say, I am going to ride xxx, rather, I am going to look at xxx. I do not become mentally attached to a line until I am dropping into it. Look for reasons to back down and anticipate that the turn around point may be at the top of a line you just spent hours hiking to the top of. I get antsy if I have not backed off a line in awhile. Celebrate when you do turn around. Nothing shows your head is in the right place more then backing off a line.
Please take Jeremy’s humble words of advice to heart and ride safe out there. Also please go to jonessnowboards.com and shop around. These products aren’t bullshit. He uses them himself and in many cases that means trusting his own life to the product. If you love to support companies that directly support riders then there is no better place than Jones Snowboards. Thanks Jeremy for all you contribute to our world and thanks for the tips for staying safe out there.