[00:00:00] There’s interesting, right, so there’s when you go the idea of going into freezing cold water in the middle of winter with no clothes on, basically getting naked and going into the freezing river in the middle of the winter when it’s anywhere from zero, whatever it’s on average 10 degrees out, is, for most people, just doesn’t make any sense, right? Does not compute. Right. It’s not. The benefits just don’t outweigh the the pain, right? Most people think cold. That’s going to be cold. That’s going to be painful.
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Jesse: [00:01:20] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today is the founder of Grand Dynamics. It’s been around since 1998 as I understand it, and we’re going to get into a little bit about what that is and how that came to be. He would consider himself a mountain athlete, I was told before we got going. He doesn’t at least yet consider himself a racer, so we’ll see if we get him there. Maybe by the end of the conversation we’ll be a little bit more inspired to think of himself that way with his upcoming adventures. He’s a coach, inspirational speaker, author of numerous kinds of books. Welcome to the show, Tim Walther.
Tim: [00:01:56] Hi, how’s it going, Jesse, thanks for having me.
Jesse: [00:01:59] It’s an absolute pleasure if if you’re just listening, you’re missing out on Tim’s background. The Teton, which are near and dear to his heart, I think nearby he’s from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so he has, unlike me, some very epic views in his backyard as compared to my like nothingness for miles and miles.
Tim: [00:02:25] Well, what do they say about it? It’s so flat that you get to see the sunset twice. You get that benefit, right?
Jesse: [00:02:32] I’ve never I’ve never heard that before. I wish that were the case.
Tim: [00:02:37] Yeah, we got the Teton backdrop here. And I’m yeah, I’m zooming in from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where I’ve lived for the last twenty five years. I actually grew up in New Hampshire, so from there on the East Coast, but Jackson’s been my home for quite a while. So excited to talk about some of the adventures and get some of your perspectives too on how to be a smart athlete. Shares my ideas.
Jesse: [00:03:02] Well, I think I think you’ve already got a little bit of the gist. I mean, most of it’s just being an athlete and then also being kind of high achieving in some other aspect of your life. And it seems to be kind of the gist of what you’re after and helping to help people do with grand dynamics. Before before we get there, I do want to ask because it begs the question, how do you end up in Jackson Hole if you’re not even from that part of the country? Is it just like, Oh, when were you traveling through? Like, How do you end up there?
Tim: [00:03:34] Well, I think Yellowstone actually has a huge magnet underground that just tends to pull people from around the country to its vortex. And you can’t really can’t do anything about it. You just find your body just getting pulled towards this area. No, just kidding. My brother, who’s four years older, he came out here. He was chasing a girl and took a job out in Yellowstone and Jackson first summer. And then I. He ended up staying, so I ended up coming to visit him. I was going to school at Ithaca College, studying applied business psychology and came out to visit him for the summertime break. Got introduced to a different type of lifestyle than I’d ever been exposed to before here in Jackson, Wyoming, the mountain lifestyle, and so I made it a couple summer visits.
[00:04:29] And then I was chasing my own girlfriend and wound up in Flagstaff, Arizona, and then back back full circle, where, you know, most people don’t want to end up after college, which was living back at home with my parents. And so I had to sort through that. I was that was back back in New Hampshire because my girlfriend at the time was going to uni, so eventually made my way back out, not too long thereafter, back out to Jackson and had my first winter skiing and. On and on from there, so the story continues, but that was originally just because my my big brother who introduced me to the lifestyle.
Jesse: [00:05:10] Yeah, it’s sometimes I think about how if you don’t travel? You know, there’s all these like pithy sayings and all these quotes about “travel will change your life” and all these things you see plastered around the internet in various means. But obviously, I think there’s some truth to that, especially in the sense that. We are in some ways kind of siloed in our everyday lives into just a certain way of this is the pace of life here, right? Whereas like if you go there, the pace of life and the things that you do are going to be different than, say, somebody who lives in like the heart of New York City or even like on Miami Beach.
[00:05:55] Like, there’s going to be unique differences, even though we’re all probably going to get up, eat food, take a shower or go to the bathroom. We’re all to do these human things each day, but like the intricacies of what we do day to day change. And without that travel, I feel like we lose the ability to see outside of our own paradigm.
Tim: [00:06:18] Hmm. I would absolutely agree to that one. One thing I found so amazing about the culture here in Jackson is is just that it’s the the seeking of other places, you know, the international travel, I mean, people from Jackson, it’s just part of what you do and if if you’re not traveling in the off season or going somewhere else and using this as a base camp to go and explore, then you know, you’re missing out and you know, certainly part of the conversations that everyone’s having when they come back from traveling. And so, yeah, that was it was interesting. It certainly quickly became a priority to figure out how to go somewhere else to go rock climbing or to just explore the world.
[00:07:03] And in doing that, it absolutely opens up a whole new perspective on what’s possible of how people live, the life of what’s important of problem solving, of honing your ability to figure things out, embrace uncertainty. All these these principles that we know are important for navigating life are really learned through international travel or just, you know, any kind of travel really, but certainly travel to a foreign country to speak another language. And all that sort of stuff gets added complexity. So, yeah, it’s big, big proponent of exploring and traveling as a way of personal development.
Jesse: [00:07:50] So I have to run the assumption here. So you’re saying that in college, you’re studying applied psychology for business and then you travel to Jackson Hole. Is it the combination of that initial interest in college and then the exposure to the mountain lifestyle? Is that what spawns Grand Dynamics?
Tim: [00:08:15] Yes, it’s a combination I also went back to graduate school in Minnesota, so I went to Mankato, was originally was called Mankato State at the time. Now it’s called Minnesota State University, but it’s in Mankato, Minnesota, and they had the longest running experiential education master’s degree offerings. And so I chose to attend that university. And studied corporate leadership training as a primary focus, and so it was experiential training how to use active engaging training development methodologies to improve workplace performance was the primary objective in the methodology for that is experiential training, so engaging training experiences to promote more effective leadership and teamwork in the workplace.
[00:09:10] And that was the that was the impetus. For my thesis was the business plan for Grand Dynamics. We’d actually worked for a nonprofit where we were running a week long adventure camps for people with various forms of different disabilities and through part of the contracting process with them. For us to run and start that business, we got them to pay for our graduate degree, both my brother and I. And so we hit our numbers. They paid for our degree. It was a big win win situation. And soon after I started my business Grand Dynamics and it was very exciting. It was great. I was young like twenty seven. I was like, Take on the world. I can do anything. Let’s go. Let’s get started. You know, it was there’s a lot of challenges and working with corporate people that are a lot older and a lot more experienced than you.
[00:10:01] And here’s this young guy tell telling other people how to be a more effective leader. But the thing about experiential training is, you know, and one of the I find it a lot of the, you know, there’s there’s a lot of things that limit us in life, right? And some of them are relief systems. And the belief system was one of them was, well, you’re you don’t have all the right answers to my business as to how they know how to tell me how to be more effective in my belief system was, I don’t have to have the right answers. I just need to have the right questions.
[00:10:32] And so I need to be skilled at the ability to answer or ask the right questions. Some and I did just a lot, a lot of studying, I mean, just just every book, video, seminar, self study that I could go through to educate myself to be the best I could be was what I did for those first few years. And of course, like any new startup business, at the end of three years, I found myself 50 thousand in debt with every credit card that I had to the max didn’t have a penny to my name anymore. I’m wondering whether I was in there made some wrong decisions, you know, and it was it was interesting.
[00:11:12] I had — I was really committed to the concept of it and it’s funny. My my parents in support of me, they bought me a ticket to unleash the power within one of Tony Robbins seminars. So I went to that one the spring on the three year anniversary, and they knew his dad was in debt and everything, but they weren’t about to pay it off or anything. But they said, Hey, you know, maybe this will give Tim some extra motivation. And sure enough, about a month later, after that seminar, I closed my first, you know, kind of significant corporate deal and and you know, I made like, I don’t know, $35000 in a day or something.
[00:11:54] And at the time it was a it was a enough to shift my belief to say, you know what this is, this is possible. So I continued on and eventually grew the business and obviously made it out of debt and stuff like that. So I made it through the hump, the three year hump of business. So I’m often a little bit of a tangent there. But yeah, it’s it’s. It’s been exciting, it’s been exciting last twenty three years. I’m still still in business, still doing the things I love and still have a great work life balance and be able to deliver a lot of amazing experiences for people.
Jesse: [00:12:34] I was like, you know, just like doing a quick math, I was like, Well, we’re coming up, you know, approaching twenty five years here. So clearly, you know, you made it past the initial rough spot there. I don’t think, well, maybe some people do, but I think it would be rare that you do something unsuccessful for twenty five years unless you’re just like, damn determined and stubborn. Yeah.
Tim: [00:13:01] Well, people run races and never win for like, twenty five years, don’t they? I mean,
Jesse: [00:13:06] That’s me doing it for 20 years. I’ve won once.
Tim: [00:13:14] Yeah. Hold on to that.
Jesse: [00:13:15] Maybe that once, once for sure, I can remember when that was significant. They only came in the last few years and it was a small race, but significant anyway. Not not terribly important for this conversation. So you’re talking about not needing all the answers for any given business. You need to ask the right questions. Sometimes, you know, any listener knows I like to probe about how do we go about being motivated?
How do we go about trying to become better people or higher achievers or whatever it is, whatever direction you’re trying to move in? How do we get moving out of the state that we’re currently living in? Is it a case of people already have the answers, but just the frame of mind that they’re in doesn’t allow them to see it. Or does asking the right question open up a realm of thinking that brings in to the answer they don’t yet have?
Tim: [00:14:23] Well, I think there’s depending on the context of the whole combination of different things. People will often be. Thinking in one direction, and if someone asks a question that that causes one to see things from another perspective, that’s one thing when you’re when you’re working in the team, in business context with my business, mostly it’s it’s it’s in a team or organizational context, it’s really about getting people to have a degree of safety in having the dialog around some of the important questions that they’re often avoiding.
[00:15:01] So having structure to allowing people to sequence questions in the right way so that there’s a foundation for the team to function properly and then to get at the issues that are most important is is a big is a big part of it. The science behind facilitation and organizational developments, particularly with team performance, is understanding where a team as where a team is in their stage of development, where they need to be led to how you engage those people and how you facilitate the dialog so that they can most effectively enhance their performance together. So there’s a lot of those different variables. I don’t know if that answers your question, but those are a few ideas.
Jesse: [00:15:51] Yeah, no, that’s all right. So I want to ask about, you know, I’ve seen this, I think I’ve seen this on your Instagram is a practice. You do the polar plunge. It seems like that maybe that’s part of some some of the stuff that you do. I mean, what I’m getting in icy water, what what am I learning? Am I just just getting cold? I mean, I’ve had a number of ice baths over the years. They’re always unpleasant, at least at the time that we did find them to be an enjoyable ritual, at least in college. But do you have a goal in mind when you’re like, I need you to get in this frigid water? Or are you just like, get it? And then we’ll see what happens? And there’s like an epiphany that happens to people.
Tim: [00:16:40] Yes, yes, there’s a goal in mind. Yes, there’s lots of different benefits. And for me, it’s there’s there’s a lot of different levels to it. This is a great conversation and happy to dive a little bit deeper into it.
Jesse: [00:16:56] Sure.
Tim: [00:16:59] So. My experience with it, I became hypersensitive to the concept of becoming hypothermic, hypersensitive to hypothermia, hypothermia when I was swimming, one of my endurance men swimming across all the lakes in Grand Teton National Park and a hole in my wetsuit, and I slowly became hypothermic about every two and a half three hours of swimming. As I was swimming the 20 miles across the lakes, in the park, in the cold.
And after that, I just decided to make an intention to figure out kind of my connection to cold and how I could understand a little bit more. So I went to the the natural source. We went to the Wim Hof and decided to. Find out what his, you know, approach was, and I’m sure you’re familiar with Wim Hof, right? The world record holder, he’s got all these different amazing world records for cold exposure.
[00:17:59] And the thing that fascinating was his ability to to shift the autonomic nervous system so that you could actually stay warm in cold environments, right? Which is your your your body’s automatic responses to things. So I launched off to Iceland, I went to Iceland and I studied. I went to a multi-day, an almost 10 day retreat with with this guy, Daniel Kalugin, who was a the lead trainer for the Wim Hof method, and he has his own retreat.
[00:18:33] It was kind of like the Wim Hof Plus, like all the things that he thought should be taught in the Wim Hof method and then some additional neuropsychology and neuro linguistics and some other things that are elements to it. So that experience in Iceland gave me the initial shift in my perception with a lot of things. I mean, just going into the freezing water, freezing lake water ice filled in the middle of winter in December in Iceland.
You know, daily, sometimes multiple times daily, you know, for a week and learning what can happen, what your body is capable of and how your body shifts and how it changes was part of it. But the cold immersion was one thing we did outdoor sitting meditations you have do outdoor hiking stuff like that, all these different things along with the breathing exercises.
[00:19:27] And I came back to Jackson after that experience and started practicing it on my own here in the grove on River three or four times a week, the last. It just became my practice throughout the winter. So there’s interesting, right?
So there’s when you go the idea of going to freezing cold water in the middle of winter with no clothes on, basically getting naked and going into the freezing river in the middle of the winter when it’s anywhere from zero, whatever it’s on average 10 degrees out is for most people just doesn’t make any sense, right? Does not compute. Right. It’s not. The benefits just don’t outweigh the the pain, right? Most people think cold. That’s going to be cold. That’s can be painful.
[00:20:13] So a big part of it is the mindset, right? And so we can talk a little bit about my adventure method is ways to think about and experience before, during and after. And the mindset part of it begins with What is your perception of the experience before you even have the experience? And how do you set yourself up for success before you have it? And I imagine it’s similar with racing and a lot of athletic performance. I know, like all the different adventures, rock climbing, mountaineering, all these different things, multi-sport adventures. There’s this distinct process where the preparation aspect of getting ready for an adventure experience in this case, being a cold immersion is a huge part of whether you’re going to be successful or not.
[00:21:02] So, for example, in my adventure method, I have seven different steps that I consider when I’m going through and preparing for this. This experience, the Y that you spoke about, like why would someone want to do it? Well, number one, if you can have a sharper mindset, if you can have more emotional control, if you can have more capacity to manage your emotional responses, if you can just have a more confident belief system, your capacity to do something difficult, all those things are stack up emotional wise to give you more confidence and all these different things that I just mentioned reasons in and of itself to be beneficial.
[00:21:44] Forget about the physiological experience or any of it, just the psychological idea that you’re going to do something that most people would agree. That would be a very difficult, challenging thing to do makes it worthwhile. You had an interesting concept that one of your podcasts I was listening to you and you talked about the bag of was it a bag of? Bag of Whys? One reason isn’t going to do it right, right? You’re like, Oh, because it’s going to be a cool outdoor experience, probably not going to be dropping your clothes off in the middle of the freezing, right?
[00:22:23] So what I call one of the whys, which is one of the seven steps I call it stacking the whys so you can take all your bags and you can put them together, or you can put them in one big bag. So once you have a huge bag, you’re we’re more than likely to follow through when you actually go through to do the particular thing. You know, when you’re staying at the edge of the river looking in and it’s and it’s freezing well, you want to have a pretty good reason to get in right.
[00:22:52] And so that concept of why you want to do it, there’s a psychology, there’s the mindset aspect, there’s the physiology, and there’s a whole number of different things that are going on with your body when you actually get into the water, that that makes makes it worthwhile physiologically and essentially the the water from your extremities, the water, the blood from your extremities goes to your central vital organs as a protective mechanism, which is why your hands and your feet get cold the fastest.
[00:23:24] And it essentially goes through this process where you are. Your heart is working harder, so it’s not recommended for people that have heart issues and specifically go out and do something like this. You have to be aware of that, but your cardiovascular strength is improved just by this process of the blood coming into your your heart and then pumping and working harder to send that blood back out to your extremities. Just just through that, just through that simple, simple process.
[00:23:57] There’s a lymphatic system. The idea is your lymphatic system is flushed. Which you know, ultimately, your lymphatic system is responsible for moving waste in your body, right, so by by going through this process of the goal of merging your body responds in such a way where it’s generating white blood cells, which increases immunity, which also, you know, flushes your your your lymphatic system.
[00:24:25] There’s there’s brown, active brown fat activation. You know that that ultimately increases your thermogenesis. Thermogenesis, your capacity to generate heat. And it’s like it makes logical sense, right? What’s the thing you’re afraid of? Well, if you’re afraid of being cold. Well, what’s the logical thing to do? Go towards the cold. Embrace it, figure out what the deal is, and the more you can actually expose yourself to the cold, the less you’re going to actually be cold later because your body starts to react in a way that it’s able to generate heat.
[00:24:59] So the more you practice cold immersion, the less cold you get later. And so people that are like, Oh, I’m cold, I get cold easy. Well, guess what? That’s probably the number one reason you should practice cold immersion. It’s like, it’s like counterintuitive, right? For a lot of people. And and that’s another thing. The psychology, that’s the fear that holds people back. People are afraid of something. Guess what, if you’re afraid of it, maybe that’s your signal that you should step toward it. And obviously you want to learn some skills and strategies, which is there’s a there’s a very distinct process that I have before going into the water, before taking off my clothes, doing all that sort of stuff, right? There’s a method to it. That’s why it’s called a method, right? So if you follow the strategy, then you will execute on the task.
[00:25:50] And then and then the thing will the thing will unfold in a way that’s safe and effective. If you don’t follow a strategy, then it’s not going to work right or you’ll you’ll experience a lot more pain than you might ordinarily experience or or you might have a reinforcing belief that that was a bad idea because it didn’t really work the way you planned or or whatever, right? Well, that’s because you didn’t plan it properly or you didn’t follow someone that has more experience in doing this thing right.
[00:26:20] So it would be a very different experience if you you know, the reason I went to Iceland and studied all this stuff was because I couldn’t do it myself. You know, I’m like, I’m like, This is terrifying. I have no idea how you can go into freezing cold water in the middle of winter. It just makes no sense. So I’m like, I got to figure it out. So I went to where people did it and had expertize in it. Just like anything, right? You’re I’m sure you talk. This is like one of the themes, I’m sure with your podcast, all these experts that come on, it’s like, what are some of the strategies that people can follow to, you know, to lead to to greater success in whatever it is that they’re doing?
Jesse: [00:26:57] So that’s one of the nice things about talking to so many different people is that, you know, I get to share the expertise of all these people that it’s outside of my realm and they’ll learn myself right because, you know, I have my own opinions and, you know, ways of thinking. As I mentioned the bag of lies, I mentioned that from time to time. But again, much like travel, it’s like kind of a shortcut of travel with the Zoom here, meeting new people and then getting exposed to a new way of thinking, a new paradigm shift, or maybe even a parallel way of thinking. It’s similar to yours, but there are different nuances, and sometimes those nuances lead us down rabbit holes and thought or conversation. You know, the interesting thing when I think about fear? You know, you talked about like walking towards the fear or moving towards the fear.
[00:27:54] I haven’t really focused on it lately, but for the longest time, I felt like I, you know, I need to find something. If not every day, maybe every week or something, something I’m afraid of and try to do that thing. It’s not like. Trying to tackle the most fearsome thing I can think of every single week, you know, like I’m not doing like a hurtburt adventure show where I’m doing crazy things like it’s not, you know, I’m not on Travel Channel or doing things that are just like, otherworldly every week. But just like baby, it’s simple things like I know as silly as this sounds like for the long time, long time growing up, and this probably show a generational gap here. Just like there’s like a small fear about like talking on the phone with people.
[00:28:40] And I think that’s something very common in younger people who are used to texting. Don’t use the phone. It’s it’s such a simple thing, and it really shouldn’t be a fear, right? But it’s like. Well, you’re missing out on the ability to just connect with people and get on, just get on the phone and call somebody, you get so much done quicker if you just do that. But if you’re afraid of it, then like you’ve held yourself back both from connection and from progress and whatever you’re trying to do and you’ve made it more difficult for yourself.
[00:29:10] So it would be stuff like that. But. I also think about on top of the idea of embracing fear. That, you know, the counterargument is, well, fear has a place like we didn’t develop fear for no reason, right? Like it’s supposed to keep us safe. And the counterargument that, obviously is that in modern society, we are relatively safe. It’s just kind of like over wired to things like being afraid of the telephone, like, what’s the what’s going to happen if I call somebody on the telephone?
They’re mean to me. I can hang up. You know, so it’s interesting, like how our brain works and and that concept of fear, whether because of, you know, because I think of that reason for development, it makes us feel like if we allow the fear to be there, then it keeps us safe when in reality it is, in many cases, not all. Sometimes there’s real reason to be afraid. But in many cases, like in my, you know, phone call example, it’s holding me back rather than. You know, actually keeping them safe.
Tim: [00:30:18] Yeah, holding you back, right, that’s that’s one of the. The fine lines that needs to be differentiated with the emotional interpretation of of what it is that, you know, each person deems a fearful experience, right, so. Absolutely. Warning signals, information coming to you pay attention to those things, I think there’s various different elements that go into it. One of them being a lack of preparation is one, right? Ok, well, I’m really afraid to give this speech about whatever the topic is and. Well, why are you feeling that fear?
[00:31:01] Well, I’ve done zero preparation about it now. You know, if it’s about a specific topic or whatever, whatever the thing is, but. There’s preparation there’s there’s just there’s there’s interpretation that can be, you know, that could go a variety of different variety of different ways. When you have when you have those warning signals that come in right. And so. People tend, I think, to. Allow the fear to be limiting. In. Their capacity to take action, right, so you got to break those things down and you got to look at the look at the authenticity of the message and and treat more like a more like a friend and more more more more aligning with the messaging so that you can use it in a useful way, right?
[00:32:07] And kind of breaking it down into into various different elements. Because, you know, like I think of, I liken it to like being a. You know, being in an adventure situation, let’s say, to take rock climbing, for example, your rock climbing up on an alpine route and you’re running out on your gear and you’re up above your last big piece of production, you start to feel an emotional response that someone could label as fear right and for a good reason if you fall the consequences is going to be X as you interpret the situation and you’re constantly making decisions, you’re taking in data, right? And that decision that you’re making, whether to continue on on that pitch to get to another piece of protection.
[00:33:01] In my experience is a sum of a whole bunch of different small parts, right? It’s a calculation of things like what’s my physical capacity in this given moment? What’s my capacity to to to overcome that challenge that I perceive above me on this rock climbing pitch? What are the environmental conditions that provide threats? Is there a huge loose boulder up there where I if I look at it and I think, OK, if I pull on that the wrong way, it’s going to come, it’s going to come off and it’s going to either kill me or my ballet partner down below, right? And so all these there’s lots of different variables that start coming into one equation that says, OK, I think I need a down climber. I need to stop or no, I just need to send it in. I need to keep going, right?
[00:33:51] So it’s not as easy as one might think, but I think the more we can become experienced in evaluating these different elements and these these components to the decision. The better we’re going to be able to make a good decision, really, which ultimately in any adventure, particularly in the adventure sport realm, is the most important thing, in my opinion, is making a good decision. And so taking in the signals of fear is one of those. Big parts of it. So it’s the risk evaluation that makes the biggest difference think.
Jesse: [00:34:32] I think it’s as of recording this, I don’t believe it’s out yet, your upcoming book, you talk about a number of adventures you’ve gone on and kind of the the lessons therein. It makes you wonder because you’ve done so many different types of, I’ll say, adventuring as an umbrella. How do you? How do you make accurate assessments when you’re doing something new, right? Because there’s that ability that went? It’s the Dunning Kruger effect, right? How do you avoid that where, you know, just enough to feel like, you know, a lot, but in reality, you’re not actually experienced enough to know all the dangers and pitfalls? So, so how do you make that assessment in a new environment?
Tim: [00:35:22] Hmm. You know, that’s a great question. So when you’re thinking about. The decision that you’re needing to make. If you have a method that breaks down that decision into its components, then that will allow you to make a good decision, right? So, for example, if you’re not that familiar with, let’s say, your backcountry skiing and you’re on a pitch that you’re about to ski down and you haven’t skied that terrain before. Um, you might ask yourself, do I know what the avalanche conditions are right now for this particular pitch? Now if you if you’re so new to backcountry skiing that you have no idea what the avalanche conditions might be on a particular pitch? Well, you probably shouldn’t be backcountry skiing in that area to begin with and a different law of cause and effect will probably come in to come into place.
[00:36:32] So part of part of what I think is important is the education of people in whatever realm that they’re going out into. So whatever sport that they’re going into, whether it’s whatever rock climbing, skiing, open water swimming, free diving, these all these different things, they have elements of risk that you can actually proactively evaluate right conditions like you’re going to go and do a cold plunge and don’t just randomly go out there without thinking about the conditions, right? I know exactly what the outdoor temperature is. I know I know what the the water temperature is. I know what my previous experience that will allow me to stay for X amount of time and recover comfortably is right.
[00:37:28] All these different variables go into me being capable of making a good decision in those conditions, right? So, understanding risk certainly has to do with understanding the environment that you’re in, the conditions that are current and whatever the sport that you’re you’re doing and then you have all these other different elements that also come into play. So if you’re doing this as an individual, that’s one thing you have to pay attention to your own signals, your own interpretation of the messaging, et cetera.
But when you add in other people, then there’s another element of risk, right? What are they going to do? Are they going to kick a rock off? That’s above there? Are they going to set the avalanche off? That’s that’s that’s above you? Are they skilled enough to lead that pitch to self rescue, to ski down the thing that you’re about the cooler that you’re about to ski, whatever those things are, right? So the WHO element is the skill sets that’s that gives you the capability.
[00:38:32] So it’s a little bit of a long winded answer, but hopefully that gives you a few insight of some of the different ways that you can begin to think about some of the decisions that will allow us to safely, you know, to to better evaluate risk, right? And the big thing is the probability that the classic model of the probability and the consequence, right? How how probable is it that something is going to go? Not according to plan or going to something that’s going to happen. I’m going to slip on this particular pathway, for example. And if I do slip, what’s the consequence is am I going to fall down two thousand feet to my death? Or am I going to fall down, you know, five feet off the off the curb or two feet off the curve or whatever it is?
[00:39:19] So I’m a big fan of the model, the models and methods, right, and you start calculating these different things, but that’s the basic risk risk assessment, which still holds true probability and consequence. And I add on all these other levels, environments, conditions, people, things like that that add into essentially a series of data points that allows you to make a good decision. And that’s partly the the method that’s in my book.
Jesse: [00:39:46] Which I was getting ready to ask was like, is that in fact, you know, before before we get going, you’re talking about the there’s a framework for the all entry method, which is, you know, in the upcoming book. Is it just a matter of risk assessment? Like, what? What is it? What’s the method doing and why is it important?
Tim: [00:40:05] I’ll give you that. I’ll give you that. I’ll give you the high level of the method. So there’s seven steps, right? The seven steps are what, why, how, who, environment, risk decisions. So if you’re listening along, we can all chant or we can say it together, what, why, how, who, environment, risk, decisions, right? And so these seven steps, if you simply have this conversation with yourself and whoever you’re sharing this experience, it’s adventure with, it’s you do this beforehand. You do it in the middle of and you do it afterwards as a reflection and debrief process.
[00:40:44] And so if you if you use this method by going through these seven steps and there’s various degrees of complexity with each of them, but they range from simple to to complex. You start with the simple version version, right? Then it’s going to allow you to create a a beautiful adventure experience that is efficient, its effect, it allows you to reach your goals, you know, purposefully and done so in a way that reduces the risk and allows you to make good decisions. So, and you know, people might say, Oh, well, yeah. What? Why, How? Who? I’ve, you know, I know that already. Well, maybe you do. Maybe you haven’t thought about it in this particular context. These other three, the environment risk and decisions are three that I added on. But the the framework, if you if you think about it, the What is really the objective.
[00:41:40] So whatever the thing that you’re going to be doing, describing that and it must is much detail the route, the starting time, you know, the elevation gain, the the difficulty, perceived difficulty. And if you can communicate simply with someone about that objective, then that’s going to get you on the same page, right? So you start with that known variable, Hey, we want to go climb the Grand Teton. We want to climb the upper XOM ridge on the Grand Teton. We want to start at 6:00 in the morning. We want to blah blah blah blah blah, whatever it is, right? And so you get as much detail. You talk about what the objective is, right? That initially gets everyone on the same page around difficulty level and the clarity of the objective, the timing, and that’s can start a dialog around that.
[00:42:27] The Why is what is. Well, it’s it’s about as obvious you can get. It’s the purpose for why you’re doing the particular thing. Now, someone running a race, for example, might have a very different reason than someone else for running that same exact race. You’re doing it together. Yeah, I’m going to go and I’m going to try to run this as fast as possible. The other person might be thinking, Hey, I just want to enjoy myself and have a great flow experience and be outside in nature.
[00:42:54] The to show up, to start the race together. And they have a very different experience and expectation, and soon they’re going to stay together or not or end up arguing about it, right? However, if they had taken five minutes to have a conference, say, Hey, why? Why do you want to do this anyway? Oh, actually, I want to share an experience with you together and have some fun so we can have this. And oh oh, well, how fast do you want to go? Like, like, what’s your what’s what are we? What are we shooting for and how are we going to anticipate when one of us starts to feel bad? Or how can we help each other out? You start a dialog and this this.
[00:43:29] All these seven steps are really about creating a method for having a dialog with the people. You’re sharing these things right? So you have the purpose, the how the how is are the skills and the resources and processes for for doing the particular thing. So going back to the climate in the Grand Teton, for example, what are the skills required for climbing the Grand Teton? Well, have you led multipage rock climbing pitches before, right? Do you have? If so, what’s your experience been? Do you have the right gear? Let’s go through the checklist of the type of climbing gear that we need to climb that particular route.
[00:44:10] Let’s talk about the length of the rope that’s needed for the repel. Let’s talk about the food we’re going to bring. Let’s talk about the type of shoes we’re going to wear all that sort of stuff. Is it your checklist, right? So every sport, every race, every adventure has checklists, right? So the How is and again, this is the simple to more detail. Yeah, you want to take that adventure and you want to create your checklist, right? Here’s my gear checklist, and you start dialing in the details of who’s going to be leading those first pitches. Oh, I’m going to be taking this pitch, that pitch. And so you start to iron out some of the details of the methodology for the approach to the particular thing.
[00:44:52] So those four elements are the foundation, right? The what, the why, the how, the who, the who. The who comes in as the last of the big four, which is the roles of the particular people in the in the in the experience, right? So the climbing of the grand, it’s like the expectation of yourself and others who’s going to be doing the leading, who’s going to be carrying the pack, who’s going to be who’s going to be doing what right? And so, you know, is there a pace setter that’s running in that race that you’re running is is is, you know, who’s paddling on what side of the of the of the Puma raft when you’re going down your whitewater rafting experience, what just the role clarity, right?
[00:45:36] You have role clarity around who’s doing what and who’s responsible for what and what are the skill sets that people have going back to that checklist of how do you have the capacity for self rescue if we’re way out? And you can extend it to not just people in the in the experience, but who are support who are your support networks in case something goes wrong, who are you going to call? Who knows where we’re going to back all that sort of stuff.
[00:46:04] So it’s just all the people involved in whatever the experience is and what their roles are, the environment. Those are all the external factors and how they impact your experience. So again, air temperature, water temperature, potential for storms, potential for rain in the backcountry skiing situation, it’s it’s avalanche conditions, it’s wind conditions. It’s all the potential things that can have an environmental and environmental impact on your experience and how you’re going to make those decisions. And then you have the last two, you have the risk. And we talked a little bit about that before, but the risk is what could possibly go wrong.
[00:46:52] Asking that question and just having a dialog about it, well, here’s all the things that could possibly go wrong and really being authentic about it and what are the consequences if this thing goes wrong? What happens if and you just play out these different scenarios and you know, we could talk, you know, more and more and more. But ultimately, all these different things are geared towards the last thing, which is how to make a good decision.
[00:47:20] And as an individual, you’re going to make your own decisions. As a team, you’re going to make decisions. How are you going to do that? And a process? At what points are you going to be making decisions along the way? Is there a turnaround point for a summit bid? Is there is there a certain water level that you have deemed too risky to run a whitewater stretch? Is there a certain environmental condition in a mountaineering objective where you say, you know what, that’s that’s too much rock fall? I don’t think we should go up that that route. Ok, that’s that’s that’s a decision we’re making. You know, so lots of different things like that and. By talking too much, but just get off on a roll a little bit there, so –.
Jesse: [00:48:05] No, you’re right. I mean, it’s I’m sure it’s it’s just like a tiny little glimpse into the the intricacies of what you know, what you lay out in the new book. We are starting to roll in on time a little bit. So I know you’ve watched a couple of my other episodes. You know, I ask a singular question for an entire year to all my guests. So I ask you just as I have the rest of guests this year. My question this year is how do you celebrate your wins?
Tim: [00:48:36] And you celebrate your wins. Hmm. You know, that’s that’s that’s a great question. That’s a great question. I think the first thing that comes to mind is to celebrate the win, like actually to to celebrate it, which means I think. People don’t often enough take the time to actually be super excited about accomplishing something great and big and acknowledging all the stuff that went into it, so there’s a reflection element to the win that is important. You know, I’m a big fan of looking at if you really consider it a win and most things can be considered a win, depending how you look at it.
[00:49:34] And if it wasn’t a win, you could say. What was it about this that was a win, right? And so the reflection element of looking at what went into creating the win, was it the the mindset was that the strategy? Was it pushing through difficult moments, those types of things and then looking at what of those elements could be beneficial to bring forward? Into your future adventures or or whatever the things that you’re doing, you know, can be useful, I mean. I would say typically, you know, for years, it’s OK, well, there’s a I always kept, you know, cold beers in a watering hole at the bottom of the base of the climb of the Grand Teton. And I would come off the grand. And you know, when we got about a mile away from the trailhead, we would have very cold PBRs in a in a very cold river and we would get to those PBRs we yoakum.
[00:50:36] We’d celebrate and we’d say, Yeah, this was that was that was the wind. And so we would toast to that initially. And it was kind of like a, you know, it’s a tradition of of just camaraderie and sharing in in the success of something, you know, not overdoing it with going out and partying too hard after you’re done with a particular thing is probably a good idea. And I think as we’re older, we realize the benefits of having a little more constraint, that sort of thing. But you know, confidence begets, but it begets confidence. And even if you have a failure experience, you can reframe that and you can learn from those, those, those particular those particular moments.
[00:51:19] And you know, my book, the all in adventure stories is really there’s 17 different stories in each of them is a story about this particular adventure experience is a large majority of have something that went wrong or some some significant challenge. And at least in some part of the story, there’s some difficulty that was overcome, but each of them has their their celebrations. That was you know that in their own way, there’s lots of different examples of of the celebration.
[00:51:55] I’ll give you one one little story of a celebration, which I think it’s kind of a funny story Abalone Diving. I think it’s the third chapter. There’s an abalone diving I used to abalone diving globally, diving on the California coast. And this particular story is is about a near-death experience. I had abalone diving, very tumultuous conditions, and a whole series of different things came into this abalone diving to the point where, you know, I barely survived. And so afterwards, we’re like, OK, well, we’ve got to try to make the most of this experience and try to reflect on what what is the win? What’s what’s the celebration of this perceiving? You know, conceivably this this failure. But the win was we were still alive.
[00:52:50] And so we went from our camp ground to the coast, picked up a six pack of beer, picked up a six pack, a humpback whale. Appropriately went to the coast, we’re down looking at the coast, and sure enough, we crack this beer. We’re looking at it. We’re celebrating being alive and right down the coast. First time I’d ever seen it is a giant humpback whale and it’s swimming down the coast. And my buddy, Paul and I were just like, dumbfounded. We’re like sitting there celebrating. And he turned to me and he’s like, You know what? We should have bought the St Paul’s girls.
Jesse: [00:53:31] I’m sure plenty more plenty more anecdotes like that in the book, right? Tim, I appreciate you hanging out with me today. If people want to get in touch with you, when’s the book coming out? Where can they get that? Give us all the details.
Tim: [00:53:52] Well, the the working title of the book is All in Adventure stories, the Bold Pursuit of your Potential. Now the titles changed about 12 times in the last three years, so my target’s for early summer, probably in June, I’m hoping to have the book out so you can go to Grand Dynamics. The safe bet is to go to granddynamics(dot)com. That’s where all the corporate team and business stuff and we’ll have announcements up up there as well. We have the All In Adventure Stories website, which is also directing towards the book page and when it’s out, it will be available on Amazon and all that.
[00:54:33] It’s it’s we have a publishing team, but it’ll be mostly easily available on Amazon and that is the intention. And yes, 17 adventure stories. Everything from free diving, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, the abalone diving story, just a whole skiing, the Grand Teton, lots of different cool adventure stories and lessons behind them. And again, they’re all an adventure method is is really the synopsis of a methodology that I it took me twenty five years to learn from all these different things and in a way that hopefully will be helpful to people as they look at the mindset, the method, the motivation for going out and creating their own adventures, which is my big thing.
You know, you don’t have to have an organized race to have an amazing experience. I want people to go outside, explore nature, create your own adventures, explore your own limits and do it in a safe way. You can learn a lot about yourself and others as you do so. So that’s that’s my wishes for for everyone tuning in.
Jesse: [00:55:48] So it sounds like the book’s going to be going to be a good time. And I think you’re right. You know, we all have the opportunity to get outside and do something, whether it’s scheduled or not. I live my life around racing, so spent many, many years, whereas there was a particular date in the calendar. But I think we can make our own dates. And yeah, look, look forward to see the book hopefully come out this summer. Everything keeps keep going. I know how publishing timelines go sometimes. So yeah, I wish you the best of luck there and thanks for hanging out with me today.
Tim: [00:56:21] Yeah, Jesse, thank you very much for having me and look forward to learning, learning more from your other guests and keep the conversation going.