If I imagine a checklist hanging next to my bed that is the first thing I look at when I get up in the morning, what would be the main points on it? Sort of like memos to self?

The list would probably start with something down the lines of: try not to mess up the same things you messed up yesterday. Or: try not to be a dummy… and so on – you get the idea.

Because, let’s face it… when all said and done, we stumble through life attempting to at least appear as though we had the roughest of clues where what we are doing and where we are heading, when in actual fact, some things we do are just plain stupid and irrational.


There is this one thing that I do, that I surprise myself with time and again – and promise to myself not to do again, which is loosening tight knots in lines with my teeth. This is really not a good idea. Teeth are great tools for… masticating on food and the like. But rope? Really does not cut the mustard.

So made me think of this? I was assessing a group of level one climbers today, the candidates had just tied the knots we were testing, after the test we were undoing them again, one of them was cinched up a bit tight… but hey, easy, just let me open that up…


Brings to mind a case that Pit Schubert of the DAV-Sicherheitskreises (the safety body of the German alpine association) describes in his book Sicherheit und Risiko in Fels und Eiswhere some unfortunate soul was rock climbing and as they were pulling slack to clip the next anchor were holding the line with their teeth, when they slipped and… well, put it this way, did considerable structural damage to their jaw (Schubert is a good bit more graphic, but I will spare you the gore).

Eeek! Just really not a good idea.

One time, after just having been to the dentist, I was on a job site using a throw line to set an access. You know how it is, you come away from the dentist feeling elated on the one hand, teeth all sorted out and squeaky clean, on the other hand a bit apprehensive, dreading the bill for the treatment… anyway, I wanted to detach the Dyneema throw line from the throw bag, the knot was a bit seized up, so… guess what? Yup, give it a quick tug with the teeth. I managed to take an edge off the filling the dentist had just put in. Duh.

That, in my books, qualifies as mildly stupid. Specially if you do it more than once.

So please, if you see me doing this kind of thing, do not hesitate to mention to me that I might want to stop being silly.

What is the take away lesson from this insight?

I endeavor to recognize where I am being stupid and change that behaviour. Admittedly the learning curve can at times be rather flat, but bear with me, I usually get there in the end.