Rock climbing

The Same Playing Field

What would it be like to be in game seven of the World Series, bases loaded, down by 3, full count, Roger Clemens on the mound……and you’re at bat! Many children (and some of us adults) dream of being up against some of the best players in the world just one time, just to know how they would do, what it would feel like.

I played baseball for about 17 years. One of my fondest memories was running out to center field at the same stadium that Ken Griffey, Jr. played in. It was really the closest I ever came to facing the same perils and experiences that Ken Griffey, Jr. faced–not much different than walking down the same street he walked down. Point being, these experiences are untouchable.

Climbing is different. I was in the climbing gym a few days ago when Renan Ozturk walks in and does a little plastic-pulling workout. For those of you who don’t know Renan, he just did the Tooth Traverse, which is a pretty remarkable alpine objective. His climbing partner, Freddie Wilkinson, whom I brush shoulders with all the time in the New England coffee shops, climbed with Uli Steck this spring so Uli could be ready for his race up Everest. So one might say these guys are some of the best in the world, and yet I find myself in this gym training on the same routes that Renan is training on. Huh, pretty cool!

I know you have all seen the Citi Bank commercial with Alex Honnold and Katie Brown on Ancient Art. It is funny to see public reaction to things like this as it is supposedly dangerous, crazy, and untouchable. Climbers all laugh, because many of you have done this climb; you can relate to the uneasy feeling Katie has as she stands on the top of the Gendarme to get her picture taken. Albeit, your picture was probably take from the belay and not a helicopter.


Climbing is one of those adventures people can go on and have experiences that put them with the folks at the top of the game. You can sit back and dream about getting on the Nose of El Capitan and wonder what Lynn Hill might have felt like as she pulled through the changing corners pitch, or you can take a road trip and experience it for yourself.

So while I am still off dreaming of a way to see that fastball or feel what it is like to hold that follow through with #23 on my jersey, the one thing I don’t have to dream of is going into the mountains. We are all on the same playing field out there…..go live your dream!



For some climbing inspiration, check out the Tooth Traverse.





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