The Fork In The Road


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Social climber
Dec 1, 2012 - 11:24pm PT
hey there say, werner... i like what you said...
not sure if i see the full salad of what you meant, but to be, as to the
ol fork in the road:

when you first take the fork-side that you choose, well, in a sense, you have also chosen the other side, too: you've chosen to 'save it' ...

we can't possibly be everywhere in the world at once, or do everything ALL at once...

if we choose the side of our fork, right--the rest falls into place:
the other side of the fork 'turns around' and either partake of some
of it... use some of it for our 'meal of life', or decide to reject
what it offers completely, as:

we don't NEED that 'adventure portion' --we are 'learned' as to who we
are and happy as for going with our 'gut feeling'...

can't say for sure:
but if one does have regrets as to certain folks in the road, perhaps one
has not fully learned all of who oneself is yet?
and needs to explore a bit more and find the missing pieces...
*not meaning to ditch what is built as to family and home (self and a tent/lone room) --just study a bit as to what happened, at the fork,
and then TAKE it from there...

good luck base104--perhaps after a bit more study, and your sail,
things will fork-over a satisfied new portion to this meal of life,
for you...


nice post for all to reflect on, thanks for sharing...

Ice climber
the ghost
Dec 1, 2012 - 11:30pm PT
Whether you climb(ed) full time or part time, you are much better off than those who have never climbed.

I suspect that most climbers:
-define themselves by their skills & attitudes, not by their possessions
-realize that life is much more fun if you have a reasonable degree of physical fitness
-are no strangers to adversity, and thus handle it better

Mountain climber
honeoye falls,ny.greeneck alleghenys
Dec 1, 2012 - 11:37pm PT
base,well written,i cant add to that much, but to say, go for story is almost inverse,i poured my life into hockey the first 20 years,all the way to college.had 6 shoulder injuries.moved to cali,surfed,bouldered,built back up.since then i have been a carpenter/contractor,always lookin to get away.4 years ago,everything changed,at 54 i have learned to live on nothing.its time to live at the crags,the bc ski spots and the rivers.just a different fork is all.

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Dec 1, 2012 - 11:39pm PT
Like a real fork? and it popped your tire? Well don't that beat all! good thing it wasn't a land mine eh?

Yes, a real fork. A dinner fork. And it did make my tire go flat. I couldn't even be grumpy about it since it was so absurd!

I too am happy it was not a land mine. :)

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 1, 2012 - 11:39pm PT

Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:15am PT
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. (Attributed to some folk philosopher.)

Aren't we lucky to have all the choices that we have, and to be able to live as we do? 99.99% of all humans who've ever lived, and 90% of all those currently living, might envy our fortune.

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:33am PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#276519

Social climber
joshua tree
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:54am PT
Good job Base!

Nice Up! jogill

I miss Walt too...

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:55am PT
Good words for thought from a lot of people on here....
I graduate in May and have some major forks to workout...

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 2, 2012 - 01:52am PT
We all like to think we make our fork choices
willingly but do we really? Would that I
could count all the forks I've careened down.
I could stock a restaurant.

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:01am PT
I would ride my bike from Round Valley to the Buttermilks every winter day and have them all to myself.



Went to work for REI early on, thinking it would sustain me in my climber lifestyle, but I quickly found out it wouldn't satisfy me intellectually. My brain hurt with questions: life, existence, determinism, and how to climb more.

Some school lead to summers off and climbing all over California, which lead to more school closer to Yosemite. Couple years of being able to go to the Valley regularly really let me feel a kinship for the area, and be baptized in climbing. The Prow some pitches on Half Dome, some cragging of the best kind, even a bolt or two on an potential FA.

But all the while I was schooling and maximizing my time. Summers, weekends, holidays, we were about climbing. Though not living the dirt bag lifestyle, it was modest. Rents helped as best they could, part time jobs here and there, and some good friends kept me climbing.

Student loans allowed for more school, and more climbing. All in all, quite a bit of balance between the 'climbing life' and the 'normal life'.

Do I wish that sometimes I would have done more hard cracks, more FAs, more Walls? Sure, in that vague amorphous sense that more climbing is better than less climbing. But now, having done enough things (onsights in the 11 range, climbing on 12s, high sierra routes, new routing, climbing on choss, El Cap, ice, bouldering, and even a renewed appreciate for offwidth!!! ones climbs should inspire, be fun and with friends, and not just be numbers or done because they are "classic." And also, the schooling has allowed me to do cool things I would never have been able to be exposed to before; to honestly say "I made a difference" in my own way.

The fork is what you make it. Any climbing is a blessing and a gift. Anything more is a fortune! Ride the wild pony indeed, wherever her meadow may be!


Trad climber
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:12am PT
You did it right. Whatever fork you take it's you on that road.
You were a good climber because you were happy to be there, and you really went for that and other edges with a running start. You lived, man. And you've got some left, too.
It is impossible to achieve the perfect mix of freedom and responsibility, and at either end of the scale lies a form of hell.

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:16am PT
I knew a guy who mixed his cement with a pitch fork...The guy was a real mortar forker...RJ
Todd Eastman

Bellingham, WA
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:23am PT
You don't have to dirtbag it to stay engaged and creative with your interests.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Dec 2, 2012 - 02:28am PT
regrets are a waste of time

to quote Pogo:

'We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities!'


Dec 2, 2012 - 07:52am PT
Interesting post,many admire Fred Beckey's life but would not sacrifice to do so, I'm sure Fred's nomad life would not work for all, but something tells me that if Fred had to do it all over again he wouldn't change a thing.The fork with the college degree, job and family are the sure thing the other not so sure, who knows what lies around the next bend but of that came the mountain men, restless spirits who roamed the west in search of the next great adventure. In the end I'm sure many died lonely death's with few to mourn their loss but it is the life they chose and I doubt many of them had regrets.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Dec 2, 2012 - 11:05am PT
Climbing is magnificent and all-consuming, and if you do it at a high level, it’s gratifying to get the admiration of your peers and your name in the odd guide book… But regardless of whether we have chosen the dirtbag lifestyle or a more conventional one, we can all agree that climbing is not worth getting killed for. Something that has not been mentioned so far is that for too many who took the road less traveled, it ended in a youthful fatality in the mountains and a lifetime of grieving for their families: literally a dead end.

I have known quite a few who pursued the game of constantly upping the ante in climbing accomplishment and risk. I played that game to a small degree, myself. One fork that I look back on is the summer of 1978. I was in the middle of my first year of law school, when Tobin Sorenson invited me to go with him to the Garwhal Himalaya, all expenses paid by sponsors, to attempt some beautiful, but objectively dangerous, unclimbed peaks. That trip got canceled, but had we gone, we might have accomplished some very daring and memorable first ascents (which would have led to further sponsored trips)…or it is quite possible that we would have died trying.

That summer,instead of embarking on a dangerous adventure with Tobin, I worked construction in Idylewild and it so happened that I fell in love with a beautiful girl, now my wife of 32 years. There is no doubt in my mind that I stumbled onto the right path, despite the inevitable stress and drudgery that comes with a career and responsibility for a family.

Dec 2, 2012 - 11:27am PT
Wow, you had a road?! What I wouldn't have given for a road.

And many many thanks to Crimpergirl for her fork in the road story.

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:37pm PT
I'm always intrigued-amazed by the medical professionals that work 16 hour shifts , have kids and family life , and still manage to get out and accomplish impressive athletic feats...

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Dec 2, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
"Two roads diverged in a wood...and I...I took the one less traveled....and that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost
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