Hello again People!
So firstly, I’d like to say sorry for not keeping my page up to date, I’m entirely useless and extremely forgetful!
As I haven’t written anything recently I thought I’d give you some food for thought. As the winter season has started to properly kick in I thought I would start with this.
Winter climbers, why is it that we all share the common attribute of being forgetful? Now this may sound stupid but I say this because what other excuse can we possible have for continuing to return to dark and frozen lay-by’s, at unearthly hours of the morning, just to kit up for another torturous walk-in, that only a few days before, we swore we would never put our bodies through again!? Now either this is the proof that we are all entirely forgetful, or we are all just bloody mad! either way, this ability for us to just forgive and forget everything we put ourselves through at that very second we reach the summit of that chosen route, has always astonished me and has got me thinking about the weird ways in which our sport affects all of us climbers.
When you start to look into the odd relationship us climbers have with our sport its funny what you see. From winter climbers being able to forget the perils they go through to get to climbs, to the trad climber that pleads with fear for respite. It seems like it’s possible that we actually create some sort of ‘bond’ with our routes. One minute its the climb that you hate as you struggle up the moves. The next minute you are blessing the same route, that very same climb, all just for revealing that placement for that ‘bomber’ piece. We begin to create ‘attitudes’ towards climbs and these change depending on how the route affects us.
Our sport can cause us to be happy, scared, relaxed, tired, nervous and in some cases even obsessed. Climbers travel thousand of miles, put their body through hell and back, push themselves close to a mental breakdown and all whilst putting themselves in life risking situations all for the chance to complete a certain climb. Now when you take a step back and break it down as simply as it can be put, the definition of a ‘climb’ is just a specific path up some specific rock. It seems crazy how something as simple as that can take a hold of us so easily and have such a power over us.
Ultimately this all ties in (see what I did there!) and leads (there too!) to the question that I don’t think any one of us will ever be able to give the specific answer to.
“Why do we climb?”.
Now some people dislike that we have no pinpointed explanation for this, some people I know just don’t care. On the other hand, I personally love that we can’t explain our obsession, it leaves a sense of the unknown within us. Why do we risk everything for that chance of success? Are we climbing to see what we can achieve? Or is it as basic as we climb because we can? You might be the indoor enthusiast who questions why you’ve been training on the fingerboard for the last 3 weeks just to gain that extra strength you need for that route you just can’t quite do at the centre. The bouldering fanatic who wonders why you stayed and shredded the remaining skin from your tips when you should have left an hour ago with everyone else, just for the chance to get the top out of that long-term project. The Trad climber who questions why you risks it all as the crux approaches, 40 meters up, one RP placed forever ago, and sever ground fall potential, all for the success of your hardest tick to date. Finally The mountaineer. Who questions why you put yourself in one of the most hostile environments on the planet, risk horrific conditions, consistent pain, cold and danger, all to stand upon that faraway summit.
No matter what type of climber you are, or the answer to why you climb, it’s a question that will continue to arise in every climbers head at some point, and one that can drive you mad looking for answers to. If you’ve managed to work it out, you’re a smarter man (or woman) than me, and if this is the case, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re like me and stand clueless then try not to fret about why we do it, just be happy to be part of a sport that pushes us in so many more ways than just physically and forces us to break the boundaries of our limits, even if it is in the name of madness!
*I take no responsibility for any mental breakdown cause from over thinking this question,