How Did You Start Climbing? (ON TOPIC)


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Social climber
Bouncy Tiggerville
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 4, 2010 - 03:49pm PT
I actually did a search for this, and couldn't find anything. Apologies if it is a rehash.

I was 28, burned out on skiing, just finished 2 years as a bicycle courier in Seattle and was cooked on riding too. My courier-girlfriend at the time got me a pair of shoes and a chalk-bag for Christmas and pointed me in the direction of the UW climbing wall. I was hooked. Went there for a year and a half constantly (as much as the weather would allow), before I even roped up. That was 20 years ago.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#162397

What's your story?

the Moon and Antarctica
Jul 4, 2010 - 03:55pm PT
Mom kept the cookie jar on top of the refrigerator.

Trad climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 03:56pm PT
Bridwell and his stuff. . . had to see how it worked!



Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Jul 4, 2010 - 03:57pm PT
I wanted the goodies in the cookie jar that mom kept in the cabinet above the fridge. I wasn't even three yet.

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Jul 4, 2010 - 04:08pm PT
dave goodwin

carson city, nv
Jul 4, 2010 - 04:11pm PT
I started in the early nineties. After working at Sierra Ski Ranch ( as it was called back then) I got a summer job working at Strawberry Lodge which has great access to the leap. I was always curious about climbing but did not know anyone who did it.

so two of the employees there (Mike Strosheim and Colin Hupp spelling?) both were avid climbers and had recently located there from Arizona to ski in the winter. They were new to skiing so being an instructor/coach said I would like to do a trade for lessons.

So Colin tells me to be at the lodge early and he would take me out for my first climb. I showed up and off we went to the East Wall. We did East Crack and I have been hooked ever since. I remember the harness was old and rainbow colored (Strwberry Mountain equip?) and the shoes were size eleven (I wear 8.5) but he had big wool socks to make up for the size. The experiece was awesome and it sure was better than laying on Zephyr cove beach all day drinking beer which was my main summer activity back then. It changed my life for the better.

Looking forward to hearing about how others got started.

Also does anyone know if Mike or Colin still live in Tahoe?

take care

Jul 4, 2010 - 04:11pm PT
out of bed first, then natural ape progression

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jul 4, 2010 - 05:03pm PT

As an adventurous kid, trying to scale dirt cliffs with closeline. . .
didn't get far, especially when the rope broke. But we weren't using
it for protection. . . .
then on to trees. . .
and finally at a community college course that was supposed to
be for backpacking. . . and changed my life.

In God We Trust
Jul 4, 2010 - 05:25pm PT
Peak bagg'n while backpacking!

Boulder climber
the woods
Jul 4, 2010 - 05:37pm PT
I was always into hiking, backpacking, had read all the books about Himalayan expeditions, but I thought you had to live near some real cliffs to climb. Then I read an artical in Outside about bouldering. Shortly after, I was fishing at Lincoln Woods and saw some chalk on the boulders, and the bulb went on. I bought some shoes and a chalk bag, met some people while I was bumbling around and have been at it ever since. That was 25 years ago. Met most of my best friends through climbing. I don't climb hard, but I have an awful lot of fun, and don't see myself stopping any time soon.

Trad climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 06:25pm PT
It was 1975, and my brother John and I had just gotten done watching "Solo" starring Mike Hoover. We looked at each other and said, "We gotta do that, too!" So we went off to Woodson, and with my cowboy roping rope proceeded to teach ourselves. When we realized we had no idea what we were doing, we bought Robbin's two books, and then we were experts. It was that quick.

Mountain climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 06:27pm PT
Around age 5 I used to love to climb up on top of my dressers and leap off into a pile of pillows.

1974 (age 14) my dad took me up to Horse Flats/Chilao with a group from the youth center. We were taught how to hip belay and rappel with the rope wrapped around our bodies. We went out to some boulders and practiced our new found skills. Then the "guides" pulled out some "special shoes" and soloed!!! up a large boulder face. Wow.

I fell into competitive water skiing at that same time and that won out throughout college. Moved to Dayglo and my new roomie was a total Jtree rat. Having disposable income, I ended up buying every piece of gear that looked cool and became a rat myself. Now I pass the infection on as often as grad school allows.

Trad climber
New York, NY
Jul 4, 2010 - 07:23pm PT
Because of a guy. With a twist.

I did online dating and answered an ad from a guy who, among other interesting things, wrote he had "climbed 6 CO 14'ers." I thought - IF I hit it off with this guy, I'll get to go mountain climbing!" and so I answered the post.

We did meet, and he was quite interesting, but not much came of it. And I found myself feeling depressed. Finally, I asked myself "Self - why are you depressed over some guy you barely knew?"

And self replied, in a sad little whimper: "Because I wanted to go climbinggggg...."

So, Self said to Self "Having no one around to do something for you has ever stopped you before, so go get it yourself."

I started to read online about climbing, to see how I could start. In the interim, I answered another ad from another guy and when we spoke on the phone he asked what sort of activities I like to do.

"Uh Ohhhh"....I thought. "All my activities are solo ones, like reading, working on art projects and such." And, to the rescue, Self jumped in with "Well - I've been thinking about trying rock climbing!"

It wasn't a lie, and it nicely kept in check what a lonesome spinster-to-be I might have appeared as by listing the things I DO like to do!

This guy said "Hey! I know how to climb! We'll go to Chelsea Piers for our first meeting!"

And so, we did.

The guy was icky, and kept trying to touch me affectionately, but I wasn't feeling affectionate for him and thought I was pretty clear on that. He kept getting worse, though, and finally he got mad at me I guess, because he was lowering me off a route and "jokingly" dropped me the last few feet. Not a "real" drop, but enough that I couldn't get my feet set as I touched down.

He laughed. I dropped jaw. And said "Well. Thanks for taking me climbing. I love it! But I think we're done now."

Meanwhile, the moment I had all 4 points on the holds and had to decide what next, it was as if I had found the absolute most wonderful thing ever. And I was hooked. I saw climbing as if the wall was a gigantic one of those CrackerJack games where you rolled the little silver ball into the holes and I was the sliver ball. Only vertical.

Then I went to a climbing gym on my own, and then I took an outside workshop because nobody was offering to take me to the cliffs.

And I have been out about 100 days a year since.

Spider Savage

Mountain climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 08:54pm PT
Fritz opened his store in Moscow, Idaho in the early 1970's. We bought a copy of RR's Basic Rockcraft, a goldline, some nuts, biners & webbing. It was winter so the choss was frozen enough to climb

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jul 4, 2010 - 09:12pm PT
I was madly in love with a climber, and hence became his climbing partner and girlfriend, starting on the sketchy rock at the Pinnacles

and now we climb the Nose in Octoberish/Novemberish!

Social climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 09:24pm PT
yeah.. it's been a while since I told this one..

I lived in Santa Clara, Ca.

Behind my back fence was a creek. Many summers as kids were spent walking the distance of this creek as far as it would go. The sense of excitement would rise at every turn the farther we would travel. Eventually though, we would meet the "as far as we can go" finish line and start our journey back.

On some of these trips back we would sometimes make a half-hearted attempts to scale a dirt slap to reach the top, or use tree roots that were sticking out the top of a small case that was dug by the rain waters that flowed down the creek.

Eventually, this climbing activity became fun enough to walk the length of the creek in search of more vertical walls which to climb.

The thing was, once you reach a certain angle on dirt, it becomes much more difficult to climb using natural features (there were no natural features... it was compacted dirt). So we decided to get a few items to pick out hand and foot holds which could be delicately stood on to eventually ascend the cliff.

Progressing in a what I now know is a ice-climbing ethic, we made our ways to the tops of the cliffs, some 15-20 feet above the creek bottom.

These are the earliest memories of climbing.


Trad climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 09:34pm PT
When I was eleven, I met two 14-year-old girls at summer camp who went backpacking and played crazy romantic mountaineering songs on the guitar. When I asked my parents for a backpack and to go on a trip, I was informed in no uncertain terms that I was too fragile a little girl to carry a pack like that, and that I wasn't going anywhere.

Fast-forward many years, at orientation week in college I signed up for the Mountaineering Club, which turned out to be a rock climbing club, and here I am still.

Social climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 09:39pm PT
In a gym in high school.

: /

I know.

Trad climber
Jul 4, 2010 - 10:35pm PT
1972 read an account of the Italians on K-2 in the 50's. Knew climbing was something I wanted to do. It took until 76 and my then girlfriend( my wife now)and I took a class in Idyllwild(sp?). Off and running after that.
photo not found
Missing photo ID#162415

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 4, 2010 - 10:41pm PT
Couldn't help it, all the kids in Chicago in '63 were into it, almost like banstand....
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