What Is Adventure? Cold & Skateistan Give Some Answers

What is adventure?

Why is it important?

What do we stand to gain from it?

And, why would we put ourselves through the hardship and risk to experience it?

In my 25+ years of climbing, these are questions I've asked myself nearly every day. They've nagged in my head, poking at my psyche from the gentle slopes of the White Mountains to the jagged summits of the Himalaya. And, I still haven't even come close to an answer.

Judging the films at the 5Point Film Festival two weeks ago got me a bit closer.

As my fellow jurors – Kent Harvey, Cici Kinney, and Lauren Cerre – and I wrangled about which most captured the spirit of adventure, I had ample time to think about what it all means to me.

My answer to what adventure is? Well, it's relative. To some, adventure might mean free-basing the North Face of the Eiger, as shown in Fly Or Die. For others, like Ueli Steck in The Swiss Machine, adventure might be setting a speed record on the same historic face. Others, like Cory Richards and his teammates Simone Moro and Denis Urubko in Cold, find adventure in going to one of the highest peaks in the world at the coldest time of year…and asking the tough, probing, uncomfortable questions such a trip raises.

And, for others, adventure might best be found in what many would consider mundane: a young girl in a headscarf rolling down a street in war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan, on a skateboard, as shown in Skateistan.

So, adventure is relative to the person involved in it. Adventure for some may be reckless abandon to others, and the quaint and mundane for some represents the ultimate for others.

But, at its core, I think it's safe to say this: Adventure is the willing, deliberate acceptance of risk, not to taunt death, but to embrace life. To ensure, as Henry David Thoreau once said, that we don't come to the time of our deaths and find that we never fully lived. Adventure is to accept risk so we can discover the fullness of life, and our place in it.

So, what did we decide at 5Point? It was a tough one, with much debate, but we finally decided that Cold best captured the Spirit of Adventure of all the films at this year's 5Point Festival.

Watch the trailer of Cold below, and also be sure to check our the very-close runner up, Skateistan.

And, feel free to comment below: What do you think adventure is? I'd love to hear!

SKATEISTAN: TO LIVE AND SKATE KABUL from Diesel New Voices on Vimeo.

COLD – TRAILER from Anson Fogel on Vimeo.

Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

  1. DSD
    DSDMay 21,11

    I couldn’t have said it any better! There is such a relativeness to our adventures and yet at the same time much that is the same for each of us… Risk & Reward; Living knowing what we have and will each then have to let go of; Such connections in those moments; The awe of it all; sensing that which is bigger or greater than; Then sahring & giving something of it all back… All a process we call adventure…

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