It might sound silly to someone who spends most of their time on well-beaten paths, but for some of us, coming across the right adventure partner can be as difficult as finding the right life partner. There are a lot of things to take into account in order to create the right chemistry and make sure that everybody comes home safe and sound. (Keep in mind that the factors mentioned below only stem from personal experiences and opinions, and are in no way intended to undermine or invalidate other criteria or experiences.)
- Above all criteria, someone you can count on is fundamental to a safe and enjoyable trip. Doing your homework on the kind of trip you are about to take on can save you quite a few headaches. Showing up on time, packing the right necessities, being able to take care of oneself are some of the few things that make someone reliable to take on an adventure.
- Knowing that no matter what happens, each partner’s decision is in the best interest of the party.
- This is a big one and probably a quality that is often a deal breaker when not met. Comparing your level of fitness, skills and knowledge to the detriment of a team effort can create serious tensions and can result in dangerous situations down the road (needless to say, a very bitter overall experience as well). Another word that comes up for me about this is “respect”. It is important to respect each individual’s abilities, to know when it is time to talk and when it is time to listen.
- This one is not a must, but it will surely help you go beyond what you can achieve on your own. In this case, I am talking about knowledge that can potentially take years to acquire (avalanche terrain navigation, glacier travel, survival skills) and get you places you probably never thought of on your own. Your team can be as strong as the sum of its diverse skills.
- All the above criteria would be meaningless if there wasn’t a deeper connection that makes everything easier to deal with and allow for people to make mistakes and learn from them. Without it, fun and partnership longevity are not on the menu of your adventures.