Why do you climb?

Why do we climb?M28A8205



“Because it is there.” This is the obligatory first line and the historical answer to this question that George Mallory so kindly provided us with in 1943. While this reason could be reason enough for most involved in the sport, I think many of us that have been climbing for over a decade and logged thousands of miles on stone, ice and snow, it is a much more in depth question.M28A8272DSC08293


I was just in a private conversation on Facebook with a few climbers talking about ethics (never a good subject), and it dawned on me that even these dedicated, weekend warriors might have trouble seeing why other people climb due to the activity itself being such a personal and selfish endeavor. A few of the comments made were:


“Trad climbing should be dangerous, isn’t that the allure?”

“Guides motivations are different than everyone else’s, money.”


This got me thinking about a time I had an epiphany that not everyone climbs for the same reasons. I had a friend that came up to me and asked if he could borrow a couple old ice screws. I obliged but asked who he was climbing with and he answered, “no one.”  I said ok thinking he was top roping and handed him a couple of screws. He asked for a couple more so that he could protect the pitch better. I immediately said “Wait, your leading? You have never even climbed ice! That is crazy!” He replied, “I know, I like being in that situation, you know; where you just have to figure it out.”DSC07730DSC06919M28A8032


I also just spent some time in the desert with good friends that come from many different cultures and motivations to climb. One of them stated that he was really burnt out on climbing, but the people he was with had motivated him to be where he was and that he really just enjoyed the atmosphere. This was evident in the way he would walk to the crag and every so often turn around, stop and stare and the magnificent canyon views.


So, why do I climb?


I climb because the coffee tastes better the further from Starbucks I get. My friends inspire me to go harder with the psyche they bring. The stories are longer, deeper, and told in tight places where you could not leave in the boring parts if you tried. The cultures that I get invited into and the new friends I meet in these far off places. Life therapy. Exercise, fear, relaxation, adventure. To be alive.


I do guide because it pays the bills and perpetuates the obvious, to continue to guide. The real reason though, I get to introduce folks to the outdoors, and share all of the reasons I climb, as well as watch my students go on self supported adventures of there own and feel what it is like to be alive!DSC07542IMG_1841

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