WoM has never climbed Old Rag, but has done quite a bit of hiking — including a NOLs trip to the Yukon of which I am extremely jealous. Heights and precipices, however, do not rank high on her list of favorite things. I really want to make sure she will enjoy the trip, so I sent her a number of links, especially ones with photos, to gauge how comfortable she is with the exposure. We also talked about what to expect during the hike.
The most important thing we discussed was the idea of turning around. Climbing to the top will be fun, but what will be more fun is if we both have a good time. Dragging your partner (wife/husband, significant other, friend, child, stranger you met at the outdoor shop) along when you know they are miserable, is a recipe for bad times. I think this is especially true when you are doing something that triggers fear in the other person. Turn around. Change the goal. Adjust.
Now, I am not saying to just bail at the first rock jutting out from the ground or the first raindrop. It is good to push your limits, and it is good to push your partner’s limits. But you don’t want to cross the line with them. Where is that line? Well, that is something you need to figure out over time and in the moment. As WoM and I continue to head into the outdoors together, it something we will continue to work at.