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fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 1 ORIGINAL RESEARCH published: 28 February 2018 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00225 Aging Adventure Athletes Assess Achievements and Alter Aspirations to Maintain Self-Esteem Ralf C. Buckley* International Chair in Ecotourism Research, Grifﬁth University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia Achievements and capabilities inﬂuence the self-esteem of skilled adventure athletes. Self-esteem affects individual mental health. Aging commonly reduces adventure capabilities. To avoid loss in self-esteem, aging adventure athletes are forced to adjust their aspirations. Here, I examine this process using participant observation, ethnographic and autoethnographic approaches. The qualitative data for this analysis are derived from 60 years’ experience in outdoor adventure activities, and 30,000 person-hours of participant observation. I argue that individuals assess their own capabilities against a set of speciﬁc feats. For some activities, successful completion of a speciﬁc feat is known as nailing it. The selection of these feats depends on factors such as activity and geographic location, as well as individual experience and Edited by: Eric Brymer, peer comparisons. I examine the detailed process using a single feat repeated over Leeds Beckett University, a period of decades, the bubble-line kayak run through Lava Falls on the Grand United Kingdom Canyon of the Colorado River. I compare other examples of nail or fail to construct a Reviewed by: Mike Boyes, general framework for self-esteem in aging adventure athletes, with both physical and University of Otago, New Zealand psychological feedback loops. I also identify two key thresholds, as aging adventure Mark Hickman, athletes recognize their declining skills. These may apply to aging more broadly, beyond University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus outdoor adventure. *Correspondence: Keywords: health, extreme, outdoor, nature, rafting, kayaking, participant, observation Ralf C. Buckley firstname.lastname@example.org; r.buckley@grifﬁth.edu.au INTRODUCTION Specialty section: This article was submitted to If your self-esteem relies on your adventure abilities, what happens when you get old? I argue Performance Science, here that aging adventure athletes: measure their skills against past accomplishments; aim to a section of the journal maintain their capabilities as long as they can; are reluctant to acknowledge when they can’t; Frontiers in Psychology and are eventually compelled to adopt a diﬀerent approach to adventure, accepting that they Received: 16 November 2017 now need assistance, but can still contribute experience. Here, I analyze these processes, using an Accepted: 09 February 2018 autoethnographic approach. Published: 28 February 2018 Self-esteem reﬂects self-perceived achievements in relation to self-deﬁned aspirations (James, Citation: 1890/1983; Eromo and Levy, 2017). Diﬀerent individuals focus on achievements in diﬀerent aspects Buckley RC (2018) Aging Adventure of their lives, social as well as physical, and give diﬀerent weights to the opinions of others (Du Athletes Assess Achievements et al., 2017; Stephenson et al., 2017; Strandell, 2017). These diﬀerences may be mediated by gender, and Alter Aspirations to Maintain culture, and worldview (Chen et al., 2016; Ciccolo et al., 2016). The pursuit of self-esteem can incur Self-Esteem. Front. Psychol. 9:225. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00225 costs as well as beneﬁts (Crocker and Park, 2004). Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 1 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 2 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem There is an extensive academic literature on self-esteem and operators is gratefully acknowledged. All of the research reported its role in human health (Hagger et al., 2010, 2016; Chen here, including that drawn from previous publications by the et al., 2017; Johnson and Rasouli, 2017). One major component same author (Buckley, 2010, 2012, 2015a,b, 2016, 2017), as well as of this literature relates to the links between self-esteem and new research conducted speciﬁcally for the current publication, aging (Orth and Robins, 2014; Orth et al., 2015; Steptoe et al., was conducted in strict compliance with the research ethics 2015; Scheidt, 2016; Wooden and Li, 2016; Wheaton, 2017). requirements of Griﬃth University, including adherence to the Another component addresses the links between self-esteem and Griﬃth University Research Ethics Manual and the Australian professional skills (Little et al., 2015; Yu et al., 2015). In general, National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, all professions involve acquired skills. For some professions, the and approvals by the Griﬃth University Human Research Ethics emphasis is on skilled thought, ideas, and knowledge; for some, Committee as required. on skilled action or performance; and for many, both knowledge and skilled action are necessary. Autoethnographic Approach Most professional skills eventually decline, as practitioners age I adopt a qualitative analytical autoethnographic methodology (Brough et al., 2011). The age at which this decline commences, (Anderson, 2006; Tolich, 2010; Anderson and Austin, and the rate of decline, diﬀer between professions and between 2012; Buckley, 2012, 2015a,b, 2016; Chang, 2016; Jones individuals (Erickson et al., 2014; O’Donovan et al., 2017). In et al., 2016; Pace, 2016; Stahlke Wall, 2016; Winkler, 2017). general, physical skills decline at an earlier age than mental Autoethnographic approaches can yield particular accuracy, skills (DiPietro et al., 2017). However, physical exercise can precision and subtlety in the identiﬁcation of emotional maintain mental proﬁciency (Leckie et al., 2012; Gomez-Pinilla responses (Buckley, 2015b, 2016; Gardner et al., 2015; Morin and Hillman, 2013; Erickson et al., 2014; Sun et al., 2016; Harvey et al., 2015). et al., 2017; Lee et al., 2017). With particular relevance for Autoethnographies rely on records and memories of events adventure activities, aging also aﬀects attitudes to risk (Grubb experienced by the analyst. Records may include photographs, et al., 2016). videos, descriptive correspondence, and notes, journals and For many expert practitioners, self-esteem and self-identity diaries. None of these data sources, including memory, is are strongly bound to skill, as assessed by self and peers. This likely to be entirely complete or accurate (Flanagan, 1954; applies both to paid professions (Little et al., 2015; Yu et al., Brown and Kulik, 1977; Talarico and Rubin, 2003; Loftus, 2015), and to voluntary leisure activities (Boyes, 2013; Hickman 2017). In the current study, however, the incidents recalled are et al., 2016, 2017; Wheaton, 2017). Self-esteem can reﬂect current suﬃciently numerous, and extend over a long enough period, 4.5 skills, past achievements (mastery), and future potential (talent). decades, to extract robust general patterns. Memories and records In judging the skill of any individual relative to their peers, one may include observations (Spradley, 1980) and conversations objective criterion is their ability to carry out speciﬁc feats that involving other individuals. In autoethnographies, these are are internationally known and ranked. Recognized feats depend ﬁltered through the perceptions of the analyst. Relevant ethical on profession, may diﬀer between regions, and may evolve over considerations and protocols are summarized by Tolich (2010). time. They may include both (a) the successful completion of Results are reported so that no individuals other than formal professional qualiﬁcations, and (b) a ranked range of feats, the author are identiﬁable by any mechanism, including beyond any formal test. If skills are judged by peers through a name, role, image, geotag or other digital identiﬁer, or set of feats achieved, then these feats typically increase to a peak place/time coordinates. This follows the autoethnographic at an age which depends on the profession, and then decrease protocols proposed by Tolich (2010). Results are also reported so subsequently. that no individual incident is identiﬁable to a speciﬁc enterprise The overall psychological perceptions of athletes engaged in or sponsor. All views expressed here are those of the author, have high-risk adventure activities, also known as extreme sports, have not been discussed with any sponsors, and do not necessarily been examined in detail (Monasterio et al., 2016; Arijs et al., reﬂect the opinions of sponsor organizations or their staﬀ. 2017; Brymer and Mackenzie, 2017; Brymer and Schweitzer, 2017a,b; Holmborn et al., 2017; Immonen et al., 2017). There are Data Abstraction, Generalization, and few recent qualitative studies, however, that examine individual adventure athletes’ perceptions of aging. There are interview- Model Building based studies of: 7 New Zealand hikers and bikers aged 63–80 Constructing a general model for the psychological aspects of (Boyes, 2013); 8 Scottish rock-climbers and 7 sea-kayakers aged aging in adventure athletes involves multiple steps of successive 65C (Hickman et al., 2016); 10 climbers aged 65–75 (Hickman abstraction. The raw data are the moment-by-moment physical et al., 2017); and 11 British surfers aged 45–70 (Wheaton, 2017). and psychological details of individual adventure practice, for particular activities, at speciﬁc sites and circumstances. In particular, they include individual memories of critical incidents, MATERIALS AND METHODS speciﬁc past events that shaped individual perceptions. These memories form the lowest-tier primary data. To gain direct access Ethics Statement to these primary data, a researcher must have been present in Some of the data presented here were obtained during person at the critical incidents concerned, as protagonist or active commercial adventure tours. Assistance and sponsorship of tour participant. Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 2 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 3 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem From these moment-by-moment memories, the ﬁrst level and reverse paddle stroke needed to stand a particular model of generalization is across the events, incidents and places of kayak on its stern end in an eddy; and an indeﬁnite number experienced by an individual adventure practitioner, using their of similar considerations. In such discussions, they can identify memories and perceptions. That is, we can consider or enquire technical details, where relevant, at scales down to millimeters how individuals perceive their own psychological changes, and milliseconds. including aging, skills, and self-esteem. These are higher-tier In constructing and presenting a general model from a large data than individual memories of speciﬁc critical incidents. volume of qualitative raw data, authors have a responsibility These higher-tier data are potentially accessible through a range to convey to readers some sense of the type and extent of the of diﬀerent social science methodologies. Here, I adopt an raw data, and the steps in data compression. Various options autoethnographic approach, to provide particular depth and are available to convey detailed qualitative data to a reader. The detail (Buckley, 2015b, 2016). most commonly adopted approach is to include direct quotations These higher-tier data are based on individual memories from interviewees, but that is feasible only for interview data. of those incidents, but they also incorporate extensive mental Another approach, less common, is to construct ﬁrst-person processing. This processing may also include other factors descriptive vignettes (Buckley, 2012). The approach used here is perceivable by the individual, such as their own physical health, basic autobiographical description, without quotes or vignettes. and social interactions with respected peers. They may be Similarly, there are standard techniques for compression of analyzed internally by the individuals concerned, through “self- qualitative data. The most commonly used involve coding, i.e., talk” or “inner speech” (Hurlburt et al., 2016; Dickens et al., 2017). the classiﬁcation of an indeﬁnite volume of raw data into a ﬁnite, Perceptions and memories may themselves be inﬂuenced by iteratively deﬁned set of low-level concepts; and simultaneously, aging, and this applies in tourism and mobility research (Huber iterative assembly of these concepts into a knowledge tree, a et al., 2017; Tilley et al., 2017) as well as more generally (Bradburn hierarchical structure of successively high-tier constructs. These et al., 1987; Knäuper et al., 2016). approaches, however, require data compiled in, or convertible to, The second level of generalization is across the many diﬀerent a text-based format, and are hence not readily applicable to the individual practitioners of any one adventure activity. This participant autoethnographic approach used here. second level takes into account the diﬀerences in individual Here, therefore, I present data and analysis at two scales. personalities, capabilities, expertise, experiences, age, and life First, I present a single subset of data, a narrow-scale perspective history, the “leisure lifepsychle” (Buckley, 2017). The third level from a single route through a single rapid in a single whitewater of generalization is across the many diﬀerent adventure activities, kayaking river. Second, I present a broad-scale perspective, searching for common themes and patterns as well as distinctions general patterns as I perceive them through an autoethnographic and diﬀerences. This third level of generalization can adopt lens. These are derived from 60 years of outdoor adventure ethnographic or autoethnographic approaches, or it could be activities and aging, from my earliest memories to the present conducted through comparisons based on published studies. day. These broad scale patterns seem to me to apply widely across Here, I adopt the former approach, since as outlined above, there activities and individuals. The limitations of these approaches, are as yet too few published studies for the latter. however, suggest that they should perhaps best be seen as hypotheses, testable by other adventure practitioners using a Data Presentation and Compression range of relevant methodologies. In building a general model through successive abstractions from The narrow-scale analysis uses a single route through a rapid raw data, information is lost at each step. This occurs through in a well-known multi-day white-water raft and kayak run, the two processes. The ﬁrst is through the selection of speciﬁc critical Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. The rapid is Lava Falls, and incidents from a lifetime of experience for any one individual. the route is known as the bubble line. Data for this analysis are The second is through the loss of detail during the attempt to derived from multiple runs, by the author and other members of identify patterns, the sacriﬁce of depth in the pursuit of breadth. raft and kayak groups, over a period of several decades (Buckley, There is thus a very high degree of data compression. In building 2010). This case study aims to convey the degree of physical and a psychological model of adventure practitioners that is general psychological detail available in the raw and processed memories enough to be connected to psychological theory, e.g., relating to of adventure practitioners. aging or self-esteem, we thus discard the practical details that are The broad-scale framework is derived from over half a century of greatest interest to the adventure practitioners themselves. of outdoor adventure activities, both private and commercial, In conversation between individual adventure practitioners, it in several dozen diﬀerent countries. The activities include: sea- is the ﬁnest detail of events and places that is of greatest interest. kayaking and white-water kayaking; surﬁng, sailboarding and They will discuss, for example: the eﬀect of a marginally diﬀerent kiteboarding; skiing and snowboarding; and single and multi- ﬁn size or placement, on the performance of a kiteboard in wave day hiking (Buckley, 2012, 2016). Hundreds of persons and jumping and wave riding, respectively; the eﬀect of tiny changes days, and tens of thousands of person-hours of ethnographic in length, plan shape, and ﬂexibility on the eﬀort required to steer observations were involved. Information was obtained through: a snowboard, at speed, on steep soft powder snow, through dense active participant observation; informal and formal face- trees; the changes in shape of surfable waves between incoming to-face conversations either individually or in groups; and and outgoing tides; the eﬀect of aspect and past snowfalls on follow-up conversation using spoken, written, and electronic avalanche risk on a particular morning; the exact hull angle communications. As outlined above, analysis of this information Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 3 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 4 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem involves successive levels of abstraction: from events, to system, on a more ﬁnely divided 10-point scale, but that is not individuals, to feats, to activities, to an overall framework. comparable with other rivers. Flow rates in the Grand Canyon are much higher than many steep creeks well known to kayakers, but far smaller than high-volume rivers such as the White Nile or the RESULTS Congo, or monsoon ﬂows in Himalayan rivers such as the Karnali and Sun Khosi in Nepal, or the Nu (Salween), Li (Mekong), and Nailing the Line Yangtze rivers in China. Expert-level practice in many skilled outdoor adventure activities Demand for river trips on the Grand Canyon far exceeds involves the ability to identify, and follow, a highly speciﬁc route supply. Supply is restricted physically by the availability of that allows the practitioner to pass safely and successfully through overnight camping sites, and legally by a lottery-based permit a series of obstacles. Higher levels of diﬃculty involve: more system operated and enforced by the US National Parks severe obstacles; more ﬁnely deﬁned routes; and more rapid and Service. Certain commercial raft companies have been granted precise sensory perceptions, mental analyses, and performative grandfathered rights to run trips throughout the year, but private physical responses. groups must apply repeatedly year after year, and hope for In some adventure activities, including white-water kayaking, a chance to gain a permit and run a trip. Commercial raft these routes are known as lines. Sometimes there may be multiple companies are permitted to take kayakers, but generally prefer lines, either of similar or diﬀerent degrees of diﬃculty. Sometimes not to do so, because it reduces their client-to-guide ratio, and there is only one survivable line, with dire consequences for hence proﬁtability. Except for commercial raft guides, therefore, any failure, delay or deviation. Identifying a line may involve any individual white-water kayaker will typically experience few advance inspection, known as scouting. Following a line in opportunities, over the course of their life, to paddle the Grand practice requires very rapid responses to short-term sensory Canyon. and proprioceptive perceptions, with skilled actions aimed at The highest-graded rapid in the Grand Canyon is called Lava matching the actual route to one’s memory of the scouted line. Falls, or just Lava. It is commonplace, in many white-water rivers, If scouting is not feasible, the line must be run “blind,” which that individual rapids have names. For most kayakers, Lava is the may be substantially more diﬃcult and dangerous. A person who crux, the most diﬃcult rapid on this particular river. Depending successfully ﬁnds and follows a line is said to have nailed it. on individual experience, the same kayakers may have paddled far One component in acquiring skills is to attempt a series of more diﬃcult rapids on other rivers, or they may not. Even expert successively more diﬃcult lines, either at the same or diﬀerent river runners will generally scout Lava before running it, since sites, aiming to nail each one before progressing to harder lines. it can change over time as the riverbed shifts, and water levels As individual practitioners become more skilled, they progress increase or decrease. from locally known training sites, to nationally or internationally There are three main lines in Lava, established by the known sites and lines, and then to pioneering new lines. In particular conformation of the rapid, and these lines also have this process they meet peers with whom they can compare names. Since this is a Class III rapid, expert Class V kayakers are capabilities. There are multiple steps in such comparisons. For not restricted to the named lines. For intermediate kayakers such some adventure activities, including white-water kayaking, there as the author, however, the three standard lines are known as left, are internationally recognized degree-of-diﬃculty gradings. V-wave, and bubble-line. Each line has its own entry point into In white-water kayaking, individual rapids are graded on the rapid, and the kayaker must ﬁnd that entry point accurately. a ﬁve-point scale, Class I to Class V. Class V is sometimes They must then complete a speciﬁc series of boat maneuvers and subdivided, or extended to a sixth level. Individual kayakers can associated paddle strokes, known as “moves,” to nail the line, i.e., be graded by their ability to paddle rapids of diﬀerent grades. to follow the relevant line and exit the rapid safely. If they fail, A Class V paddler is one who is conﬁdent to tackle Class V they will get “worked” or worse. As a Class III rapid, the risk of rapids. Class V, however, especially if extended to Class VI, fatality is low. To kayak Lava Falls is a skilled adventure activity, covers a wide range: from diﬃcult for a Class IV paddler, to but not an extreme one in the sense of Brymer and Schweitzer extremely diﬃcult and dangerous even for a world-class paddler. (2017a,b), i.e., that any mistake is likely to prove fatal. Even where gradings exist, therefore, practitioners still compare To explain these lines, some more detailed description and speciﬁc feats and achievements. Initially, they do this by listing terminology is required. The main obstacle in Lava Falls is a sites they have visited: mountains, rivers or surf breaks. At the large “ledge hole” in the center of the river, near the beginning next stage, they list speciﬁc obstacles or runs: named descents, of the rapid. A ledge hole is a hydraulic feature where water rapids, or waves. Finally, they consider speciﬁc named lines. pours over a shallow underwater rock ledge. This gives the water downward vertical momentum, which punches the ﬂow through The Lava Falls Bubble Line the water surface downstream of the rock ledge, forming a seam. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona, A kayak or swimmer falling into this seam will be sucked under United States is classed internationally as “big-water Class III.” water. The surface water downstream of the seam ﬂows back This means that the hydraulic features are powerful, because the upstream until it is sucked down again at the seam, forming an river is of moderately high-volume ﬂow; but that the individual endlessly recirculating zone from which escape is diﬃcult. That rapids are only of moderate technical diﬃculty, III on a scale is, the underwater ﬂow downstream of the ledge is shaped like I-V. The Grand Canyon also has its own internal rapid-grading a barrel with its axis across the river, its diameter reaching from Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 4 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 5 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem surface to riverbed, rotating so the water ﬂow is downstream on requires nerve. Some rivers and rapids, such as the North Fork of the riverbed and upstream at the surface. Similar features, also the Payette River, require an endless series of powerful turns on known as pourovers, occur wherever a river runs over shallow marginally slower-moving water. For the Lava Falls bubble line, underwater rocks. The intensity of the seam, and the plan-shape there is only one, but it has little margin for error. of the recirculating zone, depend on river dynamics and rock For a kayaker entering the rapid, none of the features outlined shape. Some are escapable at the ends of the seam, whereas some above are visible. They are all hidden below the horizon line, are endless traps. The Lava Falls ledge hole is long and straight, where the rapid falls oﬀ from the smooth ﬂowing water upstream. making it diﬃcult to escape. Therefore, all lines through Lava aim To reach the sweet spot, the kayaker must follow small cues ﬁrst to avoid the ledge hole. visible in that upstream water ﬂow. In this case, the cue is that The left line, generally considered safest, takes a kayak or in the smooth tongue of water entering the main ﬂow right of the raft easily past the left hand end of ledge hole (left to a person ledge hole, small boils form intermittently as water is pushed to looking downstream). Depending on river ﬂow, the left line then the surface. These boils look like a line of widely spaced bubbles, delivers the boat into a confused maze of subsidiary waves, with each growing to about 50 cm in width and then vanishing. They no clear course. Mishaps, however, are unlikely to have severe are not entirely consistent in position, but generally they mark consequences, as any swimmers will wash through the rapid the place a kayak must be if it is to pass through the sweet spot. well away from the main danger zones. The lines running right Hence, of course, the name bubble line. The term boil line already of the ledge hole are more stable in shape, but require greater has a more general meaning in describing white-water hydraulics, precision and power. The water ﬂow is compressed between the so bubble line is the preferred name for this particular run. ledge hole and the right-hand river bank. This forms a series of The bubble line requires particular boldness, because to a standing breaking waves, oriented diagonally to river ﬂow. These kayaker entering the rapid, it appears that it leads straight into the diagonal waves, known as laterals, meet in pairs to form V-waves. ledge hole. If the water ﬂowed directly downstream, it would. But The V-waves form a wave train. The ﬁrst V-wave is particularly it does not. The tongue of water marked by the bubble line diverts powerful. A boat taking the V-wave line aims to hit that largest sideways around the edge of the ledge hole. The bubble line marks V wave with speed and momentum, so as to punch through or the extreme left hand position at which a kayaker will be carried over it. past the corner of the ledge hole. Any further left, and the kayak A kayaker will aim to hit the right lateral wave slightly to the will be dropped into the hole, with carnage in consequence. The right of the point of the V, with their boat angled slightly to the water ﬂow accelerates as it runs toward and around the corner of left. This is so that the wave will push the boat diagonally toward the ledge hole, and the kayaker can look down into the pit of the the left, away from the river-bank, as it exits the ﬁrst V-wave. ledge hole as she or he passes it. Even more nerve-wracking, at This is important, since below the train of V-waves is the Black some water ﬂows there are several small smooth waves and one Rock, which protrudes from the shoreline into the downstream small “rooster tail” wave which one must paddle through before tail of the rapid. The Black Rock is potentially dangerous for one can see one’s position relative to the corner of the ledge hole. three reasons. First, it is sharp: it is also called the Cheese Grater. If a kayaker holds course exactly, and does not lose nerve, Second, at some river levels the water ﬂows through a narrow the water ﬂow pushes the boat sideways past the ledge hole, and slot between the Black Rock and the main river bank, and a immediately below the rooster tail is the sweet spot where the kayaker or swimmer who was washed into that slot could become powerful turn must be made. That sweet spot is less than a meter stuck under water, and drown. Third, immediately downstream across, in the midst of a rapid over 100 m wide and hundreds of the Black Rock is a powerful whirlpool, which can suck a of meters long. It is sometimes covered in spray, and it is right kayaker far enough under water (as the author once discovered by next to the roaring sound of the ledge hole. It is invisible until experiment) that no light reaches one from the surface. The right one is in it, yet one must be ready to react the instant one hits it. V-wave line thus requires strong commitment and no hesitation, If a kayaker loses nerve even slightly, paddling even 50–100 cm and the readiness to roll one’s kayak upright quickly if the V-wave right of the bubble line so as to be sure of missing the ledge hurls it upside down. It does not, however, require any very hole, they will miss the sweet spot, and instead be swept into the precise moves. This line is the one that most kayakers aim for. V-wave. Worse still, instead of hitting the V-wave head-on, with The third line, the bubble line, is a more precise line than either speed, and momentum away from the Black Rock, they will hit of the other two. It relies on a very small section of more slowly it sideways, more slowly, with momentum toward the Rock. The ﬂowing water, a sweet spot, at the extreme right hand end of the Lava Falls bubble line is thus one of the premier tests of nerve ledge hole. If a kayaker can reach that small zone upright and in the entire Grand Canyon. A kayaker who nails the bubble line pointing downstream, there is a brief opportunity to avoid all the seems to slide cleanly through the rapid in an eﬀortless dance; but major obstacles: the ledge hole, the V-wave, the Black Rock, and only if they nail it. If they fail, the consequences may be messy. some additional large waves in the center of the river downstream The Lava Falls bubble line thus provides a good tool to examine of the ledge hole. To follow this line, the kayaker must swing the psychology of aging in white-water kayakers. left in the sweet spot at the corner of the ledge hole, and paddle Autoethnographic Data hard into the center of the river, bracing for impacts as the boat washes diagonally into these lower waves. That move requires I have made ﬁve descents of the Grand Canyon, over a period of timing, power and precision. Importantly, it also requires that decades. The ﬁrst was in a raft, as a volunteer in a research study the kayaker reach the sweet spot accurately, and that in turn of native ﬁsh species endangered by the Glen Canyon Dam. The Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 5 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 6 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem other four were in a kayak. My ﬁrst kayak descent was as a client slow. Then it picked up speed. As the ledge hole came into view, in a guided commercial trip. It took place during the late 1980’s, it seemed that I would surely fall into it. I could see right into its when I was in my early thirties. The trip was principally a raft maw. But I slid past, exactly at the point to take a giant paddle trip, but there were three or four kayakers, and the company also stroke hard left, and successfully through the rest of the rapid. As sent a kayak guide, as required by USNPS regulations. By the time my heart rate slowed slightly, the guide paddled over, asking how we reached Lava Falls, which is in the lower section of the Grand I had ended up so much further left than the others. I explained. Canyon, I had already “swum” twice. That is, I had accidentally He said nothing, but shook his head slowly. tipped my kayak upside down, been unable to roll it back upright, My second Grand Canyon trip was two decades later in 2008, and been forced to bail out and swim to the surface for air. These when I was about 54. It was just after the USNPS changed the swims had occurred whilst I was trying hard to surf particular permit system for private trips, from a queue to a lottery. The waves in my kayak, and had become exhausted through multiple queue had reached >20 years. In the changeover, they had to attempts. They were not in dangerous places, but they had caused be sure not to disadvantage people already in the queue, since concern for the kayak guide. I had no swims in the other three arguably those people had legal rights. They adopted a system trips, but others did, some requiring rescues. where they gave people extra places in the lottery, depending Commercial raft trips on the Grand Canyon build up client how many years they had been in the queue. In addition, they expectations and trepidation during the night’s camp above Lava oﬀered that if individual trip leaders cared to combine to a Falls, through a series of games and anecdotes. These are designed single group, they could combine their lottery points. Using this to frighten the clients, so as to increase the intensity of the approach, I found myself in a mixed private group, led by a very experience, and incidentally their respect and gratitude to their experienced Grand Canyon river runner. The group included guides for navigating them safely though the rapid. It is part of the young wounded US war veterans, learning to kayak under a standard emotional choreography for this product. None of the rehabilitation program known as Wounded Warriors. They were kayaking clients had run the Grand Canyon before, and we asked injured and inexperienced, but fearless. They had their own kayak the kayak guide for a detailed description of Lava Falls. Using wet guides, so I was a supernumerary, left to paddle at my own pace, sand at the river’s edge, he constructed a static three-dimensional and occasionally lend a hand at a rescue. At Lava Falls I ran the representation of the ledge hole and V-wave, and told us to aim bubble line, and once again, it went smoothly. Nobody else chose for the center of the V-wave, point directly downstream, and that line, and I did not suggest it. paddle hard. These instructions were good, because they were My third Grand Canyon trip was in 2012 at age 58, on my simple. It is hard to recall complicated instructions when fearful. own permit. That is, I was the one who won a place in the lottery, The next morning, we reached Lava Falls and landed on the became the trip leader in the eyes of USNPS, and had the right to right hand bank to walk downstream and scout the rapid. The invite other participants, but the responsibility of organizing the ledge hole looked very unpleasant. But I knew that people had logistics. Fortunately, I was able to invite several very experienced swum through it and survived. The raft guides discussed amongst rafters and kayakers, who took over as leaders as soon as we were themselves whether to run right or left. Most commercial trips, on the river. It all went well. I borrowed a kayak with plenty of where guides have nothing to prove, will run left, unless either the leg room, and in the ﬂat water sections, I drifted with my legs on water level makes the right line safer, or their clients speciﬁcally the front deck. This was to ease the pressure on my aging spine, ask to run the V-wave. The kayakers looked carefully at the rapid, injured in accidents long previously. Water ﬂow was relatively mentally matching it to the model made by the kayak guide. The low, and Lava Falls looked less intimidating. I went ﬁrst, whilst instructions were simple. Stay in the middle of the main right- everyone else was still standing on the river bank, taking photos side tongue, and hit the V-wave straight and hard. I could do that. and videos. I ran the bubble line, but my nerve was weaker than But as I watched the tongue, I saw the boils forming the bubble previous trips. Instead of sticking exactly to the bubble line, I was line. I watched for a while, and saw that each one slid around about 50 cm to the right of the sweet spot. I passed the ledge the extreme end of the ledge hole. Why could I not do that too? hole safely, but got sucked backward and sideways into a plunging At the time, I did not know that this was a recognized line, the wave downstream, and pushed toward the Black Rock. I was able bubble line. Our guide, quite rightly, was not oﬀering us a choice. to escape with a brace, a paddle stroke that prevents a roll, but in His job was just to get us safely through the rapid, despite our a video of my run, one can hear comments that I was lucky. inexperience. My fourth trip was in 2016, a last-minute invitation from a I was the weakest of the kayakers, so I was left to run last. That generous friend of a friend. He needed a single person to replace a way, the other kayakers would be waiting at the end of the rapid, drop-out in a long-organized trip, to avoid the need to recalculate in case I might need rescuing. We all launched from the muddy the entire budget. I was 62, by far the weakest and oldest kayaker. bank at the same time, and waited in our kayaks, hearts beating My skills were reasonably intact, but my stamina was gone. Past fast. The guide told us to follow each other a few minutes apart. injuries, unrelated to adventure activities, had taken their toll, and Should I crash the V-wave, or try to follow the boils? I had a few a couple of days before we reached Lava Falls, I found myself minutes to decide. They went fast. Either way, I should start by unable to sit in the kayak all day. So, reminding myself that I paddling back upstream a little, to get safely on to the tongue of was old enough to take some liberties, I hauled my kayak onto water. I did so, still undecided. Then a boil broke to the surface a raft and rested, whilst the younger and stronger participants a little to my left. I can’t remember what I thought, only what I did the hard work rowing. I got back into my kayak just to run did. I paddled to the boil, and waited. At ﬁrst the ﬂow seemed the larger rapids, such as Lava Falls. Water levels were high, and Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 6 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 7 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem the water was a rich muddy red-brown, colored by inﬂow from side streams. The V-wave was a chaotic liquid sculpture, tossing and churning, and the other kayakers were raring to go. They did not care about the bubble line. The boils were harder to see in the muddy water, and they thought I was making it up. They all decided to hit the V-wave. I was tempted to do likewise. But would that be a cop-out? Was I afraid to run the bubble line? For sure, nobody else cared. But I did. It was a measure of my own self-esteem. The bubble line needs least strength, but most nerve. I was inﬂuenced by a chance encounter a few days earlier. We had met a group of scientists working on threatened native ﬁsh species. They had big motor-powered rafts, but also a speedboat. In my very ﬁrst raft trip as a research volunteer, we had used an outboard-powered inﬂatable to get up and down the river further upstream, but we deﬂated it and packed it away before we ran Lava Falls. That would not be possible with a metal speedboat. I asked the speedboat pilot, a veteran ﬁsh scientist with many runs to his credit, how the logistics worked. He said that he simply ran the boat through every rapid, Lava included. I asked him whether he ran the bubble line, and he looked at me keenly for a few seconds, eventually answering only, “Yes.” That gave me pause FIGURE 1 | Nail or fail the Lava Falls bubble line. for thought. Certainly, it was the only option smooth enough for a speedboat. But it would need nerve. A speedboat is a lot faster and more powerful than a kayak, but it can’t roll, and it would aspirations. Besides, it is not a diﬃcult line, in global kayaking suﬀer much more severe damage if it ended up in the ledge hole. terms. It was a bucket-list item before my ﬁrst trip, but after that, If he could run a speedboat through the bubble line, I thought, it is not a measure of lifetime achievement. It is not even the most surely I could paddle a kayak. So I did. And yes, it went smoothly. diﬃcult line in the Grand Canyon. There are other rapids with But I’m not sure if I would do it again. larger waves, exploding waves, rocks in the center of the river, What can we deduce, by comparing these recollections of runs and powerful seams. Even so, however, it provided me with a by the same person down the same line in the same rapid, over benchmark, something that showed me that despite advancing a period of some three decades? How and why did skill, fear, age and the many things I could no longer do, at least there were thrill, and self-esteem change over that period (Figure 1)? Fear in some that are still within my capabilities. anticipation, pre-event fear in the terminology of Buckley (2016), did not increase. Despite the long intervals between successive Additional Incidents runs, one does gain a certain degree of familiarity, and hence conﬁdence. Fear during the run itself, in-the-moment fear, was There are other autoethnographic incidents that can be highest as I looked down into the ledge hole on the ﬁrst run. compared, to illuminate ﬁndings from the Lava Falls bubble line, Thrill was high in each case, and my recollections are not precise and illustrate the breadth of data available. In a number of raft enough to distinguish conﬁdently which was highest, though I and kayak ﬁrst descents in China many decades ago, when I think probably the ﬁrst. Skill was probably highest in the second, was in my forties, I was the lead or probe kayaker. This is the when I had gained more experience than for the ﬁrst, but had not person responsible for paddling ahead into an unknown river, suﬀered such a noticeable physical decline as during the third and judging the obstacles, and signaling back to the other boats. Some fourth. of these rivers included diﬃcult rapids, which I ran successfully And what about self-esteem? I am glad, and relieved, that I (Van Beek, 1998). These trips took place over an extended period ran the line successfully each time. I think that my self-esteem of years, and I became older. Eventually, in my mid-ﬁfties, I would have suﬀered if I had decided not to attempt it. Is this realized that I need no longer try to run every rapid or take foolish? Probably. Indeed, perhaps the decision to pick the bubble responsibility for decisions, because we had a younger and much line was at least partly due to pride. On the ﬁrst trip, perhaps more competent kayaker in the group. His skills and judgment the bubble line was a way to compensate for my swims, to show were much more reliable than my own, so my best strategy was to that I was not incompetent. On the second, I seem to recall a follow his instructions. It was both a disappointment and a relief, feeling of ownership, that the bubble line was “my” run through but it was a memorable moment, a shift in attitude. I can recall Lava. On the third and fourth, when I was undeniably already the exact place and instant when I reached this realization. old, I was testing myself against my own self-perceptions. But Years later again, in 2017, I took part in a multi-day raft trip on my self-esteem did not suﬀer from electing to ride on the raft an easy, commercially run section of river in the eastern Tibetan during the latter part of the fourth trip. I had recognized by Plateau. I was kayaking, and there was one other kayaker. She was then that I was growing old, and had no choice but to lower my much more competent than I, and paddled with me in a casual Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 7 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 8 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem and friendly way. It took me some time to realize that the trip of detail. To move to a more generalized model, I rely on this leader, much younger but much more competent than myself, much broader bank of memories, as below. had detailed her to keep an eye on me. He had not told me so explicitly, in case I might be disgruntled. It was kindly done, and Ethnography of Aging in Skilled allowed me to keep my self-esteem largely intact, though I could Adventure Athletes see that my skills had declined greatly from past years. In this section, I present my perceptions of general patterns Tests of past skills do not always work out so well. In decades associated with aging and self-esteem in skilled adventure past, I was a heavily addicted sailboarder, and I waited for those athletes. As noted earlier, these perceptions are perhaps best special days when a big southerly storm would sweep in to treated as one person’s hypotheses, available for future testing, a particular river-mouth point break. These conditions, which rather than a deﬁnitive statement. I am conﬁdent that they apply might happen several days in a row or not at all for years on to myself, and also that they apply in general terms to many others end, brought strong south-easterly winds and mast-high or larger with whom I have spent time in adventure activities. I cannot swells. The river mouth provided just enough shelter to get out be conﬁdent, however, that they apply to individuals whom I do through the breaking waves, and once well out to sea, one could not know in person, or those who engage in diﬀerent adventure pick up the green swells far out in the bay, and ride them back activities, or to adventure athletes in general. With those caveats, toward shore. As each swell neared the point, it steepened and here are my ﬁndings. Components are summarized in Figure 2, a broke, and one could turn the sailboard downwind, and ride the generalization from Figure 1. breaking wave like a surfer, eventually pulling over the back of For skilled outdoor adventure athletes, the physical eﬀects and the wave, just before it closed out in a ﬂurry of unrideable foam. psychological recognition of aging includes numerous subsidiary It took skill, strength and balance, and there was little room for components. An individual’s reserve of strength declines with error, but it was extremely addictive. age; their reaction time slows; and their ﬂexibility decreases. Their There is another site not far away, where a larger river runs ability to foresee potential mishaps and plan reactions, however, out between two big rock walls, known as training walls because may improve. they train the outgoing tidal ﬂow into a fast-ﬂowing jet. On the When adventure athletes are young, their skills and aspirations biggest days of all, I would carry my sailboard into the outgoing increase concomitantly. Initially, both are low. Typically, there ﬂow, murky and sharky, and wait to be washed out through the may then be a period of rapid learning, when skills may heads of the training walls, where a big swell would break well out exceed aspirations. As their knowledge of opportunities and peer to sea. Once beyond the reach of the walls, there would be enough achievements increases, their aspirations also increase. As they wind to raise the sail and ride the breaking waves, taking care not get older, their aspirations remain high, but their skills start to be washed far out to sea, or into a rocky headland. The last time to decline, and their susceptibility to injury increases. Once I did this, however, is many years ago. Over the past decade, since kiteboards became widely available, my sailboard has got little use. When a moderately sizeable southerly swell rolled in during October 2017, however, I recalled past days, rigged it up, and sailed out from the (smaller) river mouth. Unlike the sailboard ﬂeets of yore, only two other sailboarders were out there. But I found myself lacking in strength, ﬁtness, and skill. Instead of sailing and surﬁng back and forth all day, I found myself worn out after only a few runs, none of them spectacular. I made an elementary mistake, and was caught in a zone with breaking waves and no wind, and washed ashore. Because of incoming tides and a sand dredge operating in the river estuary, it took me over an hour to walk back with all my gear, along the road. My aspirations were still based on memories, but my capabilities had deﬁnitely dropped. It was a rude reminder of aging. All the data outlined above are autoethnographic. It took 1750 words to describe the Lava Falls bubble line, and a further 2000 words to describe just four runs through that line by a single kayaker, even at a basic descriptive level. Each run took a couple of minutes at most. To construct a general model, I have relied on hundreds or perhaps thousands of analogous memories, across many days of kayaking, sea-kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, surﬁng, sailboarding, kiteboarding and other adventure activities. Many of these memories include other participants, who watched me as I watched them, and later discussed their past experiences, FIGURE 2 | A generalized nail-or-fail model for aging adventure athletes. skills and conﬁdence, capabilities and feelings, in various degrees Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 8 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 9 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem practitioners start to experience more mishaps and injuries, there own capabilities. They recognize that they are becoming slower is then a lag before they realize that they are past their prime and weaker, more easily tired, and more susceptible to heat and and need to reduce their remaining aspirations. This lag, and the cold. They have more accumulated injuries and illnesses, and associated psychological adjustment, is strongly associated with lower reserves of stamina. They learn to leave a safety margin self-esteem. when deciding how much to do in a day or a session, and they As the eﬀects of aging ﬁrst begin to make themselves felt, learn that they must plan exit and rescue strategies for multi- individual adventure athletes generally maintain high aspirations, day trips. As all these factors reduce their overall capability, in order to maintain self-esteem. During this period, their peers aging adventure athletes should logically reduce their aspirations may assume that their skills remain adequate. The decline in skills accordingly. may be hidden for a while, as practitioners can compensate to They feel concern, however, that lowered aspirations might some degree, by buying better equipment and safety gear. This represent loss of courage, rather than an accurate reﬂection in itself is not an obvious indicator of decline, since the overall of reduced capability. For adventure athletes, courage is an culture of safety is increasing for younger generations. important component of self-esteem. If it becomes diﬃcult to The decline in skills may also be hidden as individual distinguish whether reduced aspirations are realistic or fearful, adventure athletes begin to practice their preferred activities less that introduces additional uncertainty into assessment of self- frequently, because of other priorities and commitments. Even esteem. This introduces a risk that individuals will attempt if they can see clearly that their capabilities are reduced, they unrealistic feats, to prove to themselves and their peers that have may ascribe this to reduced ﬁtness and less practice, which they not lost courage. Peer psychology has an important role to play in may see as reversible. They may take longer to learn new skills, boosting or preventing this. but attribute this to lack of practice. Overall, they expect to be able to perform as previously, but their actual physical capability CONCLUSION has decreased. This increases the probability of misadventure and mishap. It may be these mishaps that ﬁnally force the individual Feedback Mechanisms to overcome this period of denial. How do adventure activities inﬂuence self-esteem? Self-esteem After this period of denial, the individuals concerned, and their peers, recognize that their skills are declining. Initially, depends on an internal comparison between achievements and aspirations (James, 1890/1983). For adventure athletes, both this leads to a fall in their self-esteem. Eventually, however, they recognize that the same decline also applies for their peers, and is achievements and aspirations receive feedback via nails or fails (Figure 3). an unavoidable aspect of aging. With that realization, they accept it and adjust their expectations accordingly. They still wish, however, that they still had their former skills. They still struggle Time Dimension to maintain those skills, and they still continually measure their I suggest that both achievements and aspirations possess a time remaining capabilities, and attempt to minimize the decline. dimension, and that this dimension has two components. The During the period when individual adventure athletes ﬁrst component of the time dimension is simple: both capabilities recognize that their skills have begun to decline, they may also and aspirations change over time, in line with the “leisure experience increasing uncertainty in their own evaluation of their lifepsychle” model put forward by Buckley (2017). FIGURE 3 | Achievements, aspirations, and assessments. Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 9 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 10 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem The second component of the time dimension, apparently not the basis of kayaking; or do they also consider other adventure suggested previously, is more subtle. An individual may compare activities, or other aspects of their personal and professional lives? his or her own achievements and aspirations either in the past, Can a lesser achievement in one ﬁeld, be oﬀset by a broader the present, or the future. The direction of view has a major eﬀect range of ﬁelds? There is no single answer: the basis for self-esteem on the outcome of the comparison; and that eﬀect depends on depends on the individual. age. An older individual with a lifetime of adventure achievement, for example, may recognize that they are on the downward arc Adventure, Aging, and Mental Health of their leisure lifepsychle, but may be content with what they Self-esteem is important to health; self-esteem of adventure have done. They have no further aspirations, so their self-esteem athletes depends on adventure capabilities; and these capabilities is established by their past mastery. This self-esteem cannot be decline with aging. Does this condemn aging adventure athletes taken away, except through loss of memory. to declining self-esteem, and consequently to declining mental An older individual who is still practicing adventure activities, health? In particular, could this mechanism cause faster declines and trying to prevent a decline in capability, may set their current in mental health for aging adventure athletes than for non- aspirations with reference to past achievements. Their self-esteem participants? depends on what they can achieve currently. As they grow older, These are important questions, if we propose to adopt outdoor this is likely to lead to losses in self-esteem, until the aspirations adventure activities as one component of mental healthcare are adjusted to take account of aging. A younger individual whose (Clough et al., 2016; Buckley and Brough, 2017). As yet, there skills and capabilities are still increasing is more likely to look seems to have been no systematic tests. The evidence and forward, with high aspirations for future achievements. Their arguments presented above, however, suggest that adventure has self-esteem is based on their own assessment of what they may a positive overall eﬀect on self-esteem, for two key reasons. The achieve in future, not what they have already achieved in the past, ﬁrst reason is that nailing a line, or its equivalent in various or even what they can currently achieve in the present. outdoor adventure activities, provides a powerful boost to self- The autoethnographic accounts provided here identify two esteem, in a way that is not available to non-participants. As long speciﬁc aging thresholds in self-assessment of achievements and as aging adventure athletes can continue to nail their lines, this aspirations, and these may apply well beyond the particular insulates them against losses in self-esteem. The second reason ﬁeld of outdoor adventure. The ﬁrst threshold occurs when an is the ability to look backward as well as forward, in comparing individual recognizes that there are other individuals, younger achievements against aspirations. An aging adventure athlete than them, who are more competent and have better judgment. who has a lifetime of nails and fails to look back upon may gain During the course of the leisure lifepsychle (Buckley, 2017), self-esteem from the past, even as they know that their future younger individuals initially defer to the expertise of their must be less athletic. elders, but eventually supplant them. The threshold identiﬁed Looking Forward here reﬂects the reverse process, when older individuals begin to defer to the judgment of their younger companions. The Is this ﬁeld of research important? Yes. Chronic disease second threshold occurs when an aging individual recognizes syndrome, various combinations of depression, dementia, that not only are they no longer a leader, but they are in diabetes and obesity, imposes costs on the economies of fact a burden, someone who needs assistance. For self-esteem, developed nations equal to around 10% of their current GDP this is a severe realization, which requires substantial mental (Buckley and Brough, 2017). Outdoor nature, eco and adventure readjustment. Perhaps these thresholds may apply to professional therapies can reduce those costs. Outdoor exercise reduces risks life histories in general. of both physical and psychological ill health, and adventure activities are a key component. This is now a heavily studied Basis for Comparison ﬁeld of public health and psychology, but the focus has been Self-esteem is based on diﬀerent comparisons for diﬀerent on physical exercise (Lee et al., 2017) and passive exposure individuals, depending on what they see as important (Chen to nature (Frumkin et al., 2017), not on outdoor adventure et al., 2016; Du et al., 2017; Stephenson et al., 2017; Strandell, activities as such. That provides research opportunities for 2017). There are three main components of this: who, when those with interests in adventure sports, tourism and recreation. and what. The ﬁrst and second components depend on whether Some of these research opportunities are neurobiological and they compare only against themselves, the “personal best” school physiological (Grubb et al., 2016; Sun et al., 2016; Lee et al., 2017; of thought; or whether they compare themselves against others, O’Donovan et al., 2017). Others, however, are psychological, with the “peer competition” approach. For example, does a kayaker particular reference to self-esteem and mental health (Orth et al., compare their current rapids and runs against their own best runs 2015; Tilley et al., 2017). in the past, or against the runs they hope to make in the future, What research do we need? The framework outlined above or against the abilities of their friends currently, or against the suggests a number of directions. In addition, much of the speciﬁc most diﬃcult rapids ever run and lines ever nailed by anyone research cited here deserves duplication, for other adventure anywhere? The third component is how broad a portfolio of activities and participants. Boyes (2013), Hickman et al. (2016, activities and achievements they include in their comparison. Is 2017), and Wheaton (2017) interviewed hikers, climbers, sea- it focussed on a single ﬁeld or activity, or does it include several kayakers and surfers aged in their sixties and older. We need or many? For example, do kayakers compare themselves only on more such studies. There are corresponding groups in many Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 10 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225 fpsyg-09-00225 February 26, 2018 Time: 17:56 # 11 Buckley Aging, Adventure and Self-Esteem adventure activities. Indeed, there are legendary characters in number of coauthors, each with professional skills in outdoor some activities, some still taking part in their nineties. These adventure, could apply autoethnographic approaches to their individuals deserve our respect, but we can also pick their own experiences in parallel, and compare their results. I would brains and mine their memories. Which of their capabilities did gladly take part in such an approach, if others might be they maintain or lose, and when, and how did it aﬀect their interested. self-esteem? In particular, do the two thresholds of realization identiﬁed above, where aging individuals recognize their loss of capability, apply broadly across all adventure athletes and AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS activities? If so, might they also apply to aging more generally? My focus here has been solely on self-esteem. There are RB conceived, designed and conducted research, and wrote the many other parameters we might consider. Examples include: article. self-identity and associated concepts; mind-body interactions and performance; risk acceptance or aversion; physical skills and mental judgments; and emotional reactions to challenges ACKNOWLEDGMENTS and achievements. How does each of these change with aging, in diﬀerent individuals? Perhaps we could analyze this Particular thanks to Peter Winn of Shangri-La River Expeditions, through a novel research approach, which we might describe Travis Winn of Last Descents, and Patrick O’Keeﬀe of Hokkaido as a massively parallel autoethnography. That is, a large Outdoor Adventures and Whitewater Asia. Chang, H. (2016). Autoethnography as Method. London: Routledge. REFERENCES Chen, L. Y., Zhong, M. T., Cao, X. Y., Jin, X. H., Wang, Y., Ling, Y., et al. (2017). Anderson, L. (2006). Analytic autoethnography. J. Contemp. Ethnogr. 35, 373–395. 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Physiol. Behav. 167, 289–297. doi: 10.1016/j. physbeh.2016.09.025 Copyright © 2018 Buckley. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms Morin, A., Runyan, J. D., and Brinthaupt, T. M. (2015). Editorial: inner experiences: of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or theory. Measurement, frequency, content, and functions. Front. Psychol. 6:1758. reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01758 copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, O’Donovan, G., Lee, I. M., Hamer, M., and Stamatakis, E. (2017). Association of in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction “weekend warrior” and other leisure time physical activity patterns with risks is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 12 February 2018 | Volume 9 | Article 225
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