Why I climb.
Lately in my life I’ve been on the side of a lot of vertical rock walls for a decently large proportion of my time. You don’t have to spend very long climbing to start asking yourself this question but for me, this recent climbing trip has really forced me to think about this question quite a bit and answer it. I thought I’d share what I found.
To be in and move through these amazingly beautiful places that so few ever get the chance to see in real life let alone from the top of peaks. It’s a true gift just to be able to be in these places. Seeing them for a microscopic moment on the geologic scale. I like to remind myself, while these places can seem so still and set, they are constantly changing and will all one day be gone. Here’s just a few examples.
My partners on that rope and friends I’ve made rock climbing are some of the most amazing people I’ve met on this planet. The intimacy and trust that goes into tying onto that rope with someone and climbing is something very special to me. You are truly putting your life into their hands, and their’s in yours. Oh, and did I mention being cool pooping so close to them that they can hear every sound, smell every odor, and could reach out and touch you while that is occurring if they were so inclined? Yes, that happens. Special bonds. Every trip is a real experience with that person that you’ll have until your time is up.
It’s hard and it’s empowering. There is always something to challenge you. Another climb, another style, another grade. The challenge is always there no matter how good you get. It continues to surprise me by what my partners and I are able to climb and the places we are able to go, accomplishing things we never thought was possible for us. That is really empowering. Those moments when you look at something and think to yourself “Wait wait… what? We’re going to climb that?” And then being able to look back at your accomplishment after you do climb it and everything that went into it is just pretty spectacular.
I’ve experienced this type of focus a few different ways in my life and I know a lot of people, probably most people, know exactly what I mean by this. When I am climbing, nothing else in the world exists. Nothing. There is no work, no world outside my direct vision, there are no oceans, no space, and Donald Trump is not the president of my country, it’s a nice place to be. Climbing brings about that laser focus for me which has the ability to even alter the perception of time.
Post climb get downs.
“Those beers are going to be so cold when we get back.” Getting home safe is always the top priority and the post climb get down is my celebration of that. Grab a beer, put on the music, and get weird if you want, but don’t take yourself too seriously and get down.