The Fun Scale

I first heard about the Fun Scale from my friend Peter Haeussler back in 2001, as we bushwhacked through thick Alaskan Devil’s Club en route to cold beers on his sailboat. I’d just come out of the Range, where Scotty D and I had a terrific climbing trip, sometimes terrifying but we loved it later – we’d put up two new routes on Thunder Mountain and made the probable first one-day ascent of Mt. Huntington. Anyway, while bushwhacking and salivating over the beers, avoiding the bears, and dealing with the Devil, it dawned on me that when engaged in Type II and Type III fun, I find myself dreaming about Type I fun. But the transient fix of Type I fun rarely lasts, at least without something deeper, something committing. And so I think … ahhh, nevermind – I could go on and on.

Here’s the Fun Scale:

Heading toward the upper parts of Mt. Huntington.  Scott DeCapio photo.

Leaving the good stuff and heading toward the final slopes on Mt. Huntington. Scott DeCapio photo.

Type I Fun – true fun, enjoyable while it’s happening. Good food, good sex, 5.8 hand cracks, sport climbing, powder skiing. Margaritas.

Type II Fun – fun only in retrospect, hateful while it’s happening. Things like working out ‘till you puke, and usually ice and alpine climbing. After climbing the West Face Couloir on Huntington, Scotty and I both swore that we hated alpine climbing. The final 1,000′ was horrific – swimming up sugar snow that collapsed beneath us, roped together without protection – and took nearly as long as the initial 3,000′ from camp. On the summit, Scotty turned to me and said, in complete seriousness, “I want my mom so bad right now.” By the time we reached Talkeetna our talk of Huntington turned to, “Ya know, that wasn’t so bad. What should we try next time?”

Scotty (L) and me back in base camp after Huntington.

Scotty (L) and me back in base camp after Huntington.

Type III Fun – not fun at all, not even in retrospect. As in, “What the hell was I thinking? If I ever even consider doing that again, somebody slap some sense into me.” The final 1,000′ of Huntington, when I stop and think about it…but, then again, a friend climbed it the next year and had perfect conditions.

I guess you never really know what sort of fun you’re getting yourself into once you leave the couch, which is fine, because it doesn’t always have to be “fun” to be fun.

Maybe the whole goal, the path of the enlightened, is to turn Type III situations into Type I fun. Right. Anybody had any luck with that?