For The Love Of Climbing

This is the Adventure

Why do you climb? Is it experiencing the outdoors, exploring nature and challenging yourself, or are you motivated by conquest. Neither way is really inherently wrong; however,  I tend to get overly caught up in overtraining, number-chasing, ego driven mentality and end up taking my climbing too seriously. I know that we all have seasons for everything, but this year, I am going to change my approach a bit. There is something unique about climbing that many other sports do not allow and I want to tap into that.

Climbing is not a numbers game to see if you can climb better than everyone else, there are only a handful of people in the world who can take that title. Rather, for the recreational climber, it comes down to a few minor principles. Challenging yourself, thinking strategically and enjoying your accomplishments. I don’t know what climbing without goals would be like. I think it would be too simple. climbing is very similar to chess, it is not always about who is the strongest or has the most experience, but who can think analytically and move accordingly. I have been told that one of the traits of a good climber is that they can anticipate moves that are two to three moves ahead. This seems easy; however, it takes knowing your strengths and limitations to really be able to do this on a crag.

Yeah - He is a beast!

I have always grappled with the idea of why I love to climb and the same goes for all the other sports I do. Sometimes I find the most joy in doing something that I had never done before, and pushing myself to progress in the sport – such as moving from leading a 5.9 to a 5.10a. Other times, I love the adventure, puzzle factor and learning my limitations. But there is one other reason that I think trumps these. In a documentary film on Surfing, Laird Hamilton – one of the world most progressive big wave surfers – is asked if he would prefer to surf a small day with a bunch of his buddies or a perfect wave packed with jerks. He responds by saying the small day with all his buddies. I think this idea demonstrates the heart of why I love climbing – it is an adventure that is best experienced with friends.

Enjoy your adventure!


3 Responses to “For The Love Of Climbing”
  1. magic ed says:

    I don’t know if it’s available in print anywhere but Pat Ament once wrote a short vignette describing a climb he did once with Royal Robbins where they played a mental game of chess as they climbed. In the story he correlates the climbing action with what was happening in the chess game.

    You also touched on another interesting subject in your last sentence. One of the main reasons I gave up solo climbing was because I found that climbing is much more meaningful when you share the adventure with a partner.

    • SBClimber says:

      I would love to find that Vignette.

      One of the reasons I stopped climbing about 5 years ago was because I did not find any partners to climb with. Fortunately, this time around, I am loading up on contacts. Thank you for your input.

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