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Poll: vital character traits for expeditions

On a recent TV interview Sir Ranulph Fiennes continued his outrageous racist discrimination against people from Yorkshire by daring to suggest that they were not good people to take on expeditions.

Clearly he is wrong.

But I would be interested to see what you consider to be the single most vital character trait when choosing an expedition partner.
I appreciate that this is nigh-impossible to narrow down to just one option, but it’s my game and these are my rules!

Feel free to add your disclaimers, caveats and defence of Yorkshiremen in the comments…

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  1. As you say, there are a lot of things to look for in an expedition partner, but I’ve found that having a partner who is okay being alone can be quite important. You don’t want to be with someone who relies on you too much… or who feels like they can’t leave your side. The time with your partner is important, but being able to have some time away from your partner is just as important (if you ask me).

  2. Adaptability – above all else.

  3. Well apart form being from Yorkshire being number one.. I think it is a mixture of all of them. Expeditions are there to test you and like layers of a onion you need to be multi talented – Yorkshiremen have that in their genes though..

  4. Unflappability.

    You want someone who wont panic in a crisis and also someone who wont be overjoyed with victory.

  5. There are lots of crucial aspects to consider when choosing an expedition partner, but they will all count for nothing if their attitude stinks or you can’t get along with them.

    For my most recent trip I decided to take a friend of a friend that I knew from my days at uni. He was fluent in the predominant language spoken in the areas we were travelling as well as a handful of others, and we decided that with this skill added to our group we would be unstoppable.

    However, not long into the trip we discovered that we had made a mistake. His attitude towards the trip was completely wrong and his views completely at odds with my own and the other team member.

    His language skills no doubt helped us out of a number of very tricky situations, but he would throw childish strops if we didn’t do things his way and somewhat over indulged in alcohol, severely jeopardising the whole expedition.

    To conclude, character is the single most important aspect to choosing an expedition partner. You must be like-minded. Second to that is, but probably as important is drive and only then skills.

    (I originally met him in Yorkshire…)

  6. In my opinion ‘Psychological Aptitude’ is the most vital.

  7. All of those things are great traits that are needed. But I think the question depends on your own-personal traits because your expedition partner needs to compliment your traits. With that said, you can never have too much of a good sense of humour!

  8. I know he’s a hero of yours, Alstair, but Fiennes’ continued dedication to the Freedom Association would rule him out as an expedition partner for me.

    I’d need to know the person with me shared the same values – not necessarily the same goals – as me. That way I’d be much more confident of having each others’ backs.

  9. Voted for a good sense of humour.

    In my book it takes at least 6 or maybe 7 of the other traits mentioned above to possess this 🙂
    Cheers, Harry

  10. Al,

    In the 1970s, the FA were fervently anti-union and throughout the 70s and 80s campaigned to reduce the rights of workers in the UK and around the world.

    In the 80s they were amongst the biggest supporters of the apartheid regime in SA and Pinochet in Chile.

    More recently their preoccupations include the EU and, particularly, climate change, being vocal sceptics. Viscount Monckton, for example, rejects the idea of climate change and has publicly declared that Bangladesh is suffering more from tidal flooding because the land is sinking, not because the sea level is rising.

    Within the FA there is an alarmingly high tolerance to xenophobic ideas (according to Unite Against Fascism, anyway).

    It just surprises me that, given the amount Sir Ranulph has seen around the world, he could support an organisation like that.


  11. Aye – but everyone knows that taking someone from Yorkshire is a sure indication that a Scotsman was not available (file under “sense of humour”) …cheers fae Glesga !



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