Rewind: A Life Without Climbing?


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right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 01:37am PT
All on the same business card Larry?
The Larry

Moab, UT
Jan 29, 2013 - 01:43am PT
For realz though. I would probably die without the big stone.

Credit: The Larry

Edit: ...and my babes.

Paul Bunyon and his babes.
Paul Bunyon and his babes.
Credit: The Larry
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Jan 29, 2013 - 01:45am PT
I climb and have religeously for 25 years but I'm NOT a climber! Or so I tell myself.

There are probably a few others here like that! I stayed away from kayaking - I just knew I did not want to drown. But I have done a little scuba and windsurfing and I sail. Then there are the motorcycles now.....the damn motorcycles - the simplest riding is seductive but I get on a bicycle enough to stay strong - I love riding. There's something about water for sure . I always wanted to surf-fish. I still have the gear from when I was 15 or so - practiced casting with the baitcasting type rig and everything. Climbing robbed me of my surf-fishing life! How many here hung out at Malibu Pier fishing for Bonita?! Those were the days. Now I worry about Fukushima radiation in the water. Life is complicated - at least making room for some fun is.

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 01:46am PT
You are "all over" that bad boy Larry!

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 01:57am PT
Once I started climbing, I shunned almost all speed sports for fear of getting hurt and messing with my climbing. I know. What a pussy.

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Jan 29, 2013 - 02:01am PT

Every time that shot pops up on a thread it gives me a laugh. Especially the tiny pink chalk bag!

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Jan 29, 2013 - 02:04am PT
Once I started climbing, I shunned almost all speed sports for fear of getting hurt and messing with my climbing. I know. What a pussy.

Roy, I think mountain biking has a higher risk factor than climbing does

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 02:09am PT
Cripes what doesn't?

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jan 29, 2013 - 02:17am PT
Hard to imagine my life without rock climbing, so...never mind...

I was into downhill ski racing, river running, motorcycles/dirt-bikes, flying, Formula 1/CART/SCCA/FormulaContinental, SCUBA, skydiving,fencing, etc...

All just sideline entertainment relative to my passion for rock climbing.


Don't get me started talking about racing; moto-cross at Little Rock (Mohave),SCCA driver(D and E classes), F1 mechanic (Lotus - Jimmy Clark and Graham Hill), FC mechanic (Ron Pelman), CART AI suspension setup system using Symbolics computers (Bobby Rahal)

There was a girl in my high school in Boise who encountered me years later and told me she was always convinced I had a death wish. Then years later she realized that if I had even the tiniest bit of a death wish, I would never have survived from one year to the next.

Most of my climbing partners, as well as colleagues in other activities, get quite frustrated with my obsession for safety. A lot of my work at NASA involves imagining and proposing handling for everything that can go wrong with a launch vehicle and spacecraft; including ISS, Constellation, RpK, and SpaceX. And that's why I was tasked as lead systems engineer to write the risk management plan for FAA for the next generation air traffic system, NextGen.

1965 TU
1965 TU
Credit: TomCochrane

Diablo 190 over Monterey, 'A round will get you down, but a square wil...
Diablo 190 over Monterey, 'A round will get you down, but a square will get you there'
Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane

Sky dance 14,000 ft above Monterey Bay ... chilly!
Sky dance 14,000 ft above Monterey Bay ... chilly!
Credit: TomCochrane

Getting checked out in a Finnish Airforce Fouga Magister CM-170 Magist...
Getting checked out in a Finnish Airforce Fouga Magister CM-170 Magister, 444 mph
Credit: TomCochrane

Credit: TomCochrane


right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 02:20am PT
Tom: spectating or driving?
You still get out to the track?

right here, right now
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2013 - 02:22am PT
It seems clear quite a few of us, most of us aren't buying this life without climbing gag. Good to see. And a bit predictable.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 29, 2013 - 07:51am PT
I'd probably be more successful in business. I'd certainly have more money. Lacking the Grand Charade, how would I boost my ego? Kinky sex and high end vacations of course!

But then again, maybe I'll just do it all. You don't mind do you?

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 29, 2013 - 08:06am PT
Credit: GI
You coulda been a effin' offender, too, instead of such a sweetheart...

As I read thru these posts earlier--all very serious and intense, as they should be, right Larry?--I was wondering when Tom C. would be posting. So many ways to kill oneself, eh?

And, "Where's Throwpie?"--Katie


from out where the anecdotes roam
Jan 29, 2013 - 08:52am PT
early dirt bike enthusiast here, but modeled myself after the trials and enduro influences which were cross country rather than speed driven. thank goodness nor-cal wasn't proximate to desert racing or more throttle might have been a factor. as it was, steep-rough-muddy sufficed.

practice on tight technical sections, with an emphasis on continuity of motion, and acceptance of adverse conditions transferred to my approach to climbing but above all admiration for the line.

can't discount the effect of general vagaboondury as a theme, but i think it all comes back to laying eyes on the landscape, onsight reading skills and adaptive response in the face of impedimentia driven by desire to measure up to what impresses. epic avoidance being its own reward

edit: avoid epic or epic avoid ... perhaps a little slip there?
Captain...or Skully

Jan 29, 2013 - 09:02am PT
I had a couple dirt bikes. Climbing is quieter. I like that.
I can't imagine my Life without climbing in it.
Your query is a Brain bender, Tarbuster. Whoa.
I reckon I'd still be at Sea.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Jan 29, 2013 - 09:09am PT
Jeez louise!
Do you think it was inevitable you'd find something else sort of risky to sharpen your teeth on?
Were you already doing some parallel physical activity, perhaps similar in terms of passion and risk prior to becoming a climber and would you still be doing it instead?
What would that alternate activity to climbing be in your case?
Has that pursuit evolved to your dis-taste, or diverged from the values which climbing has inculcated within you since you left your earlier path?
Is it likely whatever your path, that it would be essentially an individualistic one such as climbing?
Characterize your transition from your prior passion to climbing.

I'm trying to put all of these questions into a blender and turn out a smoothie, but it's challenging! Inculcated- good word!

I think everything I'd done prior to that first true rock climb led up to that first true rock climb.
From rambling around the Southwest with my parents as a child, familiarizing myself with rock and juniper and sun and snakes, to eschewing soccer for an individual sport like tennis, then something more risky and alternative like skateboarding.
The framework for fringe oriented, risky pursuits was materializing.
Then the first high and the return to the outdoors. Tripping out on lichen and faces in the rock. I wanted to be closer to the rock.
But then came rock and roll, and Deadicated I was. But that got old, parking lots in urban areas.
That's when I moved somewhere that had lots of rock and I dedicated myself solely to climbing.

My upbringing, my mental wiring, and my surroundings dictated thaiit I be a climber.

Later in life I had to see what "life without climbing" was about and I left my rack behind and moved to the beach for the sole intent to follow the childhood dream of surfing.
All that framework sh!t from before- outdoors, mental wiring, passion, solo "sport" was there too and I was good at it.
"Life without climbing" was good! For twelve years it was good...great in fact.

But the call of the desert, my hometown, family, and....climbing, was strong enough to leave my surfing life behind.

And let me tell you,
The return from "A life Without Climbing" was better than the original life of climbing.

Here's the cliff notes: I was always going to be a climber.

Sorry for the babble, Tarbuster, and I'm not sure I even tagged the bases you listed but it was a good morning exercise for me. Hope my smoothie doesn't taste like sh!t.

From the Granite Mountain guidebook, one of my favorite quotes from Lovejoy
"This book is dedicated to the rock. If it weren't for the rock, we'd all be surfers"


Social climber
Jan 29, 2013 - 09:54am PT
I started skiing when I was 14 or so, and ended up 15 years later searching for the crazy lines. My friend, Ted and I even started th "Over 60 Degree Ski Club", and would seek out the extreme lines. Even had shirts made. After 20 years or so, I got bored with the planks and switched to snow-boarding. I loved the risk of slaloming the trees in deep powder, and had more than a few close calls alone, in the back-country.

Then I started moutain-biking, and again ended up looking for the extreme technical descents, the thrill of the exposed trail, etc. This turned into bicycle couriering in Seattle, probably the most dangerous fun job I have ever had. Again, I thrived on the risk and required fast reponse time to dangerous situations. My cat-like roomate, Tim even taught me how to fall and not get hurt:

"So, as you are flying through the air, about to hit pavement here's what you do. With every ounce of energy you have, throw your body into a spin. If successful, you will take that external force of the fall and bring it to your center. You can then take two or three rolls, stand up and walk away without injury."

I tried it the next time I caught my wheel in a drain-grate, and damn if that sh1t didn't work!

Eventually, I realized that all of the sports I was drawn to were individual sports, and what I really needed was something between "team" sports and "individual" sports, that still involved some level of risk (I was hooked on adrenaline by this point).

Climbing fit the bill perfectly.

Jim Henson's Basement
Jan 29, 2013 - 09:54am PT
Interesting subject.

I was first and foremost a glass artist. It was my passion and I really wasn't interested in much else. Climbing was really the farthest thing from my mind until my 30's. The fact that it is now my real passion is a surprising turn of events. Life without climbing was a continuous circle of art shows and custom work for clients.

@Jefe.. I think what you said about "upbringing, my mental wiring, and my surroundings dictated that I be a climber. " really rings true in my case as well.

I had athletic parents.. they were primarily skiers and dad was a former life-guard and competitive swimmer, so we spent a lot of time at the beach as well. We lived in the mountains and had horses to roam the wilderness . I was a bad-ass kid-skier BTW and my parents would have moved permanently to Mammoth had I ever expressed an interest in serious training. As a teen-ager I lost interest in athletics completely and wanted to be an artist, so I ceased any physical activity for more than a decade to pursue it. (successfully I might add).

I could easily have continued as an artist, but occupational health issues, a slump in the market, frustration with clients, and people in the industry burned me out.

Climbing had been a casual activity that I had tried a few times. After a 2004 trip to Thailand I fully had the bug. I guess it's not surprising to come full circle back to a sport that involves that love of the outdoors, physical activity, and interaction with interesting people. I'm not really a risk-taker, but now it's all I really want to do these days.

Dingleberry Gulch, Ideeho
Jan 29, 2013 - 10:13am PT
A life without climbing would have been a life without appreciating people who have wicked senses of humor.

The climbing is nice - fun, adventurous, sometimes thrilling even, but for me it's always been about the people. There's nothing like the gut-busting belly laugh you get with from others who "get it".

So, without climbing I would have been dark, brooding, dangerous, immoral, irresponsible, money-grubbing, spineless, toothless, and would have had no fashion sense.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Jan 29, 2013 - 10:23am PT
I think a life of climbing means that you don't have to have a mid-life crisis.
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