“Where are you going climbing this weekend?” My co-workers ask me this almost every Friday. Some of them are genuinely interested, and some of them ask with a certain tone that would pair well with an eye-roll.
Some people get it. Some people don’t.
Since I’ve started climbing, most people I care about think it’s great that I get out almost every weekend to climb, but there’s a fair share that think I’m obsessed (in a bad way).
“You know, there’s more to life than climbing.”
I’ve heard that one. A LOT. But what those people don’t understand is that there’s more to climbing than just climbing. And that goes for other outdoor sports too: mountain biking, backpacking, hang gliding, base jumping, the list goes on and on. On the surface, it’s about climbing. Getting to the top. Not falling. Making a new high-point on your project. But (to me) climbing is so much more than that.
A lot of discussion centers around the lessons we learn from climbing, or climbing’s ability to put one fully in the moment and erase the mind of anything but the next move or sequence. It’s an outlet for personal growth, and sometimes it feels like a form of therapy when other things in life are less than perfect. This is certainly an aspect of climbing that I love, and I can’t imagine climbing would have kept my attention this long without it. But once I moved to Utah, I really began to appreciate the natural wonders of this world, and started exploring new (to me) areas.
Climbing takes me to amazing, beautiful, remote places that I get to share with my friends. I don’t have to wait in line in my car, pay a fee, and walk in a single file line with a bunch of strangers to get to an extraordinary view or landmark. Instead, I can drive down a dirt or gravel road late Friday night, sleep in my truck, and wake up in a place that is wild and free. And once I get to the crag, every climber I’ve never seen before feels like kin rather than a stranger. I feel like I fully belong.
There’s this unquantifiable magic and wonder you feel when you are out in the wilderness. Couple that with something as natural and satisfying as climbing a rock or boulder, sitting in the dirt and eating a snack, watching your dogs in their once natural habitat, and heckling your friends?
That sounds like paradise to me.