When everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts

The full quotation is

“The word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts” -Yvon Chouinard

Chouinard is the founder of Patagonia, and a pioneer in modern rock climbing. In 1968, he and Doug Tompkins (who went on to found The North Face) threw their surfboards and climbing ropes in the back of an old Dodge van and headed south in the direction of Patagonia on the dirt road that became the Pan-American Highway, looking for unclimbed peaks and empty surf breaks.

We get to hear this bit of philosophy from Chouinard in a wonderful little film called 180 Degrees South, by Jeff Johnson. Johnson – also a climber and surfer, came across the old 8mm footage Chouinard and Tompkins had taken of their journey, and decided that he wanted to recreate that journey – authentically. He has, in Chouinard’s terms, an adventure. Stuff goes wrong – spectacularly. Eventually he does make it down to Patagonia, where he meets Chouinard and Tompkins, and with them makes an attempt on climbing Cerro Corcovado, which has only once every been climbed (guess by whom). The adventures continue.

You can watch the film on NetFlix if you’re intrigued – it’s got beautiful cinematography, and more than just one good message to share.

Anyhow, that quotation by Chouinard was foremost on my mind as I composed this, stranded in the parking lot of a darkened Latter Day Saints church where I’d managed to coax and push my little MG last night. Some battery problems. Only a teeny tiny adventure – one involving discovering we’d failed to renew our auto club membership, finding a nearby outdoor power outlet, walking the mile to a hardware store to buy a 100′ extension cord (why the hell didn’t I have one in my trunk?), only to discover that the outlet didn’t have power. Abandoned the car there and pulled the “ripcord” – called Devon and asked if she could come bail me out. Going back this morning to see if I can debug it and/or tow it home behind our Volvo. Only a teeny tiny adventure.

One response to “When everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts

  1. I enjoyed your excellent post, Pablo. My daughter is a hard core rock climber and is always up for an adventure, no matter what kind it is. I look forward to watching the film 180 Degrees South and sharing it with my daughter. Thanks again and I look forward to reading your previous (and future) posts!


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