I really wonder why people do this climbing thing


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 61 - 80 of total 93 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Social climber
Feb 6, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
Because its awesome... maybe you shouldn't climb.

Trad climber
Feb 6, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
I am not a risk taker. Yes I raced Motorcycles, yes I have single handled sail boats. But I did those thing for the beauty of doing something that I was ( am ) good at in an environment I love. I wasn't good at school, but I can take almost anything apart & fix it. I hate crashing, but I love the feeling of pushing my bike ( or car ) at it's limits. & for me school made me feel like a failure. The first time I started feeling good about me was when I realized I could drive a car fast than anyone I new. I never had the money to race cars, but bikes I could at first afford & then people started giving me bikes & gear. I was never a great rider, but I was faster than most & I could tell the team what was right & what was wrong. & If need be I could show them how to make it faster.

I am NO dare devil. I don't like dare devils.

I like beauty, I love when my body can make beautiful fluid moves. I like to be in control of me.
john hansen

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
I thought I would get beat up pretty badly on this thread, but it has been surprisingly cordial. Thanks every one for posting your thoughts.

Some one said " you used to climb, but you were not a climber" Ouch.
Other people said "you do not get it".

I really liked climbing , it always focused everything into the now.
Everything about it was fun. The good friendships, bueatiful days on warm granite, even the smell of the rock, and as some one said , managing the risk. That was half the fun, setting up pro as you worked your way up. I never was that good or bold, never got up any big walls. but man we had some fun times.

So I think I did "get it"

Another person said " you have 2000 post's here so there must be something that draws you to this site', I have always loved climbing history and this place is the best around. Where else can you sit and listen to climbing ledgends telling old tales.

I liked Werner's one word response "Desire" well put. I had a ton of desire to climb at one time.

Ruppel mentioned the consruction supervisor thing and how I must have seen accidents in the field, actually in 35 years as a carpenter, doing concrete, and moving into supervision, the worst I have seen is a nailgun shot through fingers.

It is a dangerous world, and any of us could be dead tomorrow. Like Cosmic said " the main cause of death is life"

I am surprised that Steve House has not been mentioned more. I noticed today that he had that accident in 2010, I thought it was more recent. That was what sparked the thought for this thread. Wonder how he is doing?

Again , thanks for all your thoughts.


Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Feb 6, 2013 - 10:34pm PT
We're all so fortunate to share an amazing sport....a lifestyle....being able to access places that most people in this life never will....and be able to see the world from that perspective, while all others simply look up and wonder.

On January 29th, 1996, I watched my friend Pete Schoerner die in an horrific ice climbing fall here in June Lake.

When the joy of all that climbing is goes horribly wrong, and you watch one of your party die in a most horrible way...well....you cannot help but have a change of perspective. Suddenly, climbing seems so incredibly irrelevant in comparison to the grief that goes out like a wave on a placid pond, disrupting so many lives, including your own.

With luck, drive and passion for the sport, the desire returns, and you set your minds on summits once again....with the caveat that the vivid memory of a friend dying tempers you just enough to keep you ever mindful that this game that we play, has most dire consequences.

Climbing is only relevant, if you return home to those whom you love...and more importantly...those who love and need you more than any mountain is worth.

Climb safe,

Dean Rosnau
The Larry

Moab, UT
Feb 6, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
+1 Dean

right here, right now
Feb 6, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
John wrote in the OP:
So many lives cut short. And so many terrible injuries.. with years of pain and rehab, and deaths.

Before I get to the main question, I'd like like to address the above supporting statement. I've known an awful lot of people, mostly climbers, who have died. My wife and I are often surprised at how many of them did not die climbing. At times I thought I might even post that list up just because it's so curious.

I have this whacked thesis: it is that climbers have short fuses and that they sense this liability in themselves and correspondingly feel a greater sense of urgency about living deeply.

To answer the thrust of your post: personally, because most of what I saw in life as a teenager was either stifling, boring or unattainable. So I have become a climber and it is what I am. Other than that, it's really hard to say. "Desire" was a good one, as Werner said.

I also liked what Munge said, which is that how might be a more practical question than why (by virtue of it being more personal). In part, understanding how was the reason I started that thread: "REWIND: Life Without Climbing". Sometimes how helps us to see who we are more clearly. Why eliciting the abstract and how asking after the more substantive.

Sport climber
Feb 7, 2013 - 12:11am PT
I see dead people

ok just kidding


Social climber
Feb 7, 2013 - 12:36am PT
Funny how you post about climbing in the past tense - I "was" a climber.

Not all hear the calling, and then it becomes something that is just risky when the passion is not there - understandable. Especially when you lose people close to you.

However, if it is an imperative of your being your post makes no sense.

Your post title is an affront to the heart of the drive - "this climbing thing".

Like it is just a whim...

The "7 reasons" is stupid, I was not entertained.
john hansen

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2013 - 01:16am PT
Tarbuster wrote,

My wife and I are often surprised at how many of them did not die climbing,,

Confidence can do great things.

Once you lose that..

I was on a metal roof once, when it started to rain. I thought to myself, let's stand above this skylight just in case. And then,, I slipped.

Caught my self on the sky light. It would have been a 20 foot launch out and down in to the bed of my truck. Broken bones for sure.

Since then , I have not spent too much time on roof's.

With confidence, you can do great things. I have much confidence in what I do now, it is just another place besides climbing.

Mister E, or any one, I would still be interested in links to earlier discussions on this topic.

I climbed from about 78 to 88, never placed a piton or a friend. Never could afford friends, hardly knew they existed. Wedges, stoppers and hexes, a small isolated group of climbing buddie's having fun around the Tahoe area. Never much more than 5.9 never took a fall on lead.

Confidence. once you lose that..

Edit:I was writing this when E postedl. Mr E, I did not mean any disrespect with the "this climbing thing" I know it is no whim. You can die doing this stuff.

I have always enjoyed your's and Skip's post's. And yes , climbing is in my past, though I still like to hear the stories on ST.

I knew this post would draw some criticism, and I am OK with that.


from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:25am PT
in the context of mortal consequence, one summons proper application of precision.
it's inherently satisfying. but without yagottawanna, it's simply a predicament

Trad climber
Pollock Pines, California
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:37am PT
because you can't get a mountain pregnant

from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:47am PT
then where exactly do molehills come from?

Trad climber
Pollock Pines, California
Feb 7, 2013 - 07:55am PT
molehills are undoubtedly
an offspring of immaculate conception;
i am not their father.

right here, right now
Feb 7, 2013 - 10:26am PT
An interesting tangent to the OP is the notion that a lot of us on the forum are nearing 50 years of age or a good chunk over that threshold. I believe this is a good time to reevaluate. Hand eye coordination, response time and all kinds of indicators for athletic prowess begin to wane (and have been for some time, denial will only go so far). I think we are especially prone to crashing right about this time. Our bodies if not our minds are more brittle. A bit of de-tuning and recalibrating of goals may be in order for many of us.

Trad climber
Feb 7, 2013 - 11:25am PT
My body started crashing in my late 40's -- my own fault -- working to hard & not stretching --lost my tuning. & now in my late 50's I'm paying for it. Fortunately I had my grandfather to watch grow old, he made it to 102 & was tough as nails till 100. & then there was BOB KAMPS who climbed hard & boulder even harder till his death in his 70's. I believe that had they diagnosed his heart problem correctly he would still be with us ( With that big smile of his ) & climbing hard as ever.

Knowing you body & the changes it's making is hard to deal with mentally.

But then climbing is 95% mental & the other 50% is psychological.
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Feb 7, 2013 - 11:47am PT
Good thread: lots of competing notions of what is the right approach to this activity, climbing, and the consequences for failure.

Rgold mentioned something that is very true, and which I'd forgotten. As kids, many of us have that urge to seek out the high places, and scramble up the rocks and boulders without regard for the danger...that is until we realize the down climb is not going to be easy.

Like you Rgold, I was at the Needle's Eye turnout, and ran to the rescue of a kid who seemed to be gripped with fear after he realized he couldn't down climb the 12 feet he'd just ascended. Me and my partner rushed to him and had our arms up to spot him as his older sister moved his feet to good foot holds with him asking, "Am I gonna Die?" That's when I became skeptical and realized he probably had it all under control and was just putting one over on us 'climbers'...LOL.

Looking back to the beginning of my climbing I have one special person in my life I credit for her encouragement. Although not a climber, my late Aunt Katie, was an avid hiker and she is the one who took me on a hike to Gem Lake. She knew I had the urge to climb and allowed me scramble about on the ramps and boulders, without calling after me unless I started to get out of sight. She sat in the sun reading a book by the small pond monitoring me as I had my adventure.

In a way she introduced me to climbing by letting me play around on fairly safe terrain. She knew from raising my cousins, that kids quickly develop that sense of measuring risk and trusted in my judgement. That was one of the best days of my life. The hike, the scrambling, the adventure. I'll never forget that day, and really, whenever my wife and I visit RMNP, we hike to Gem Lake first. It's a tradition based on that memory, and also a great acclimation hike for us flat-landers.

So to the OP, and I thank you for starting this thread, I say:

I do this climbing thing because I like to visit high places.

I always have, and now with a knowledge of how to correctly use climbing gear, I can seek out higher more challenging destinations and be confident, but ever-aware that I can be one mistake away from disaster for myself, my partner or some unsuspecting hiker nearby.

I've had one instance where my climbing partner caught me making a critical error. I'd completed a climb where he was belaying me from the top of the cliff, and as we chatted about the fun we had, I untied from the rope BEFORE I was clipped into the anchors. He put his arm around me and VERY CAMLY asked, "Are you forgetting something Bill?" ...he was ready to catch me if I panicked and lost my footing as I clipped in. I owe him my life, because I very well could have leaned back thinking I could sit in my harness and continue the conversation at the top of the cliff. If he did not see that mistake I very well could have fallen and suffered the consequences of a single mistake. Thanks Mark!

Here on the Taco, the "Yer' gonna die" statement is true for us all. I'm not afraid of death, but wish to have as much time LIVING as possible. Seeking the high places is a part of LIVING for me, and I would die a small death if I had to give it up. I learn how to manage the risks and depend on my partners as they depend upon me.

My non-climbing friends and family don't understand this climbing thing. They've either never experienced the urge, or desire to seek the high places, or they've forgotten about it since their childhood. They don't think I'm crazy, but they do worry and I respect that.

If I had one regret it would be not getting into rock climbing sooner. I started at age 40 and am now 47. I love all types of climbing, but tend to prefer the easier climbs that offer stunning views or special places to sit and have a snack and reflect on this gift of LIFE and sharing it with others.


Big Wall climber
Feb 7, 2013 - 11:50am PT
Jon u had better nuke this thread the real zealous climbers are going to hang u !!!!

get a life!

climbing thing is just something to do.

i like ur thread.

Credit: pyro
all us local calabasas boys go down to the cyn and have a slab party!!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 7, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
A bit of de-tuning and recalibrating of goals may be in order for many of us.

I'm way ahead of you bro!
Credit: survival

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 7, 2013 - 12:34pm PT
Ha Ha Ha Ha
Survival is standing on top of a rock BOOB!!!
Or, should I say a PERKY Nipple?

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 7, 2013 - 05:45pm PT
a lot of us on the forum are nearing 50 years of age or a good chunk over that threshold. I believe this is a good time to reevaluate. Hand eye coordination, response time and all kinds of indicators for athletic prowess begin to wane (and have been for some time, denial will only go so far). I think we are especially prone to crashing right about this time. Our bodies if not our minds are more brittle. A bit of de-tuning and recalibrating of goals may be in order for many of us.

Some of us are a approaching twenty years past that half-century mark, and most of us have given up on denial as a viable strategy a while ago. One of the problems with detuning and recalibrating is that it requires a fully conscious effort. The mind, left to its own devices, thinks it is still issuing instructions to a 25 year-old body.

It's as if you think you're still driving that Porsche you had but in fact, while you weren't paying attention, someone swapped it out for a Dodge Dart with 250,000 miles on it. You whump down on the accelerator and...not much happens. The brakes are shot, the shocks are long gone, the head gasket is blown, and the thing can barely track around a street corner in first gear. Dude, you gotta learn how to drive this jalopy, 'cause it ain't what you're used to.

But you know what? If you got into climbing for its intrinsic appeals rather than for performance relative to others, then it's really not all that different. Some things are hard, and you try to find a way to do them. That's kind of what it was always about.

It can be a little discouraging that the twelve-year old girl on the red route a few feet away is doing things you not only can't do now, you never could have done them at any stage if you are honest with yourself. But when you go outside and the wind rustles the pine needles, the clouds scud overhead, and the rock rears up with a full helping of whatever you can handle now, modest as it may be in some other context, why then its much as it always was, and I at least am happy to have been granted the privilege of still being out there.
Messages 61 - 80 of total 93 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews