I really wonder why people do this climbing thing

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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.


pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
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!!
locker

Social climber
Whitebread
Feb 7, 2013 - 11:54am PT


"molehills are undoubtedly
an offspring of immaculate conception;
i am not their father."
...


^^^


So far, my favorite post on this thread...


LOL!!!...
survival

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
locker

Social climber
Whitebread
Feb 7, 2013 - 12:15pm PT


^^^

QUICKLY becoming my NEW favorite post...

LOL!!!...
Cosmiccragsman

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?
rgold

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.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 7, 2013 - 06:32pm PT
I guess the reason I'm 80 years old and still climbing is that I hate falling. I can count the number of times I've taken a leader fall on one hand. There have been many times I have backed off a lead because I feared falling. I never got into Royal's "fail falling" mode. Can I still call myself a climber?
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Feb 7, 2013 - 06:35pm PT
1 reason: chicks
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 7, 2013 - 06:37pm PT
Can I still call myself a climber?


Ummm, yeah.

Dude, you get the Golden Eagle Pass...FOREVER!
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 7, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
There's a MILLION ways to Die.

Pick one, or let it pick, YOU!


:)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 7, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
RGold wrote:
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.
Bingo, and really funny!

And his follow-up:
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.
He shoots, he scores ... Nothin' but net!
See you at the crags!
john hansen

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 12:04am PT

You know this thread has got me thinking, next time I am on the Main Land, I might hike up to the base of Knapsack crack at the leap, and see what it looks like after all these years. It would be pretty hard to fall on that "thing". Free solo, take my time.. I could always downclimb..
Even a cripple like me could get up that thing.


I am remembering the foot work involved in climbing , and moving up in short, well thought out moves. Knowing when to rest. My mentor allways compared them to chess moves.

Over coming challanges.

Maybe I can get that Norwiegen dude to take me up Deception.. you know ,, for a few beers.

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 8, 2013 - 12:25am PT
You can't explore properly if you can't climb
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 8, 2013 - 12:43am PT
"next time I am on the Main Land, I might hike up to the base of Knapsack crack at the leap, and see what it looks like after all these years. It would be pretty hard to fall on that "thing". Free solo, take my time.. I could always downclimb.."




Geez, John;
You go from Cynical to STUPID in one Thread.

;-)
SicMic

climber
two miles from Eldorado
Feb 8, 2013 - 01:04am PT
I'd like to explain the physical and emotional rewards- how it feeds and nurtures my soul, but the weather is nice and I've got to go climbing.
john hansen

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 01:04am PT
Yes I am stupid..

This thread makes me remember the moves on the rock, and how comfortable I felt making those moves, that whole mind set.. those were good times.

I guess I am a hypocrite..
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 8, 2013 - 01:09am PT
^^^^^^


LOLOL
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 8, 2013 - 11:05am PT
Oh ... meh God!
At 97 posts I finally realized.
We've been TROLLED!!!

Heh.


[And SicMic, not so fast buddy ... you still got pictures of that Rotwand Craptasm to post up for us over on the Choss thread!]
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Feb 28, 2013 - 02:24am PT
omg, YES Don Lauria, yes!





Tar,

Tell us more about this theory...

"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."

Is this characterized by an existential bent that drives the short fuse first? And thus only through climbing does the absurdity ring true when all else in the world is not as deep?

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