Climbing is a sport there is no debating that, however any climber will tell you that climbing dominates their life. You can be really into photography and still have time for many other hobbies. However a climber who wants to improve and put up fantastic routes needs to devote a great deal of time to climbing.
A few hours ago I was standing half way up a closed black diamond ski slope with a twenty pound pack in pouring spring rain. I was training for my upcoming hikes in the summer and I realized how much time I actually devote to climbing.Training wise I workout around five to ten hours per week. Which at the moment is made up mostly of running and strength training. Soon that number will grow to around ten to fifteen when I return to the climbing gym. Which I have put on hold to allow my tibial tendon to heal. Beyond the physical time I devote to climbing I also work on this blog, read other blogs, books about the subject, and of course climbing documentaries. I came to the realization that my life is climbing.
Why is my life climbing? Simple climbing is such a time consuming sport and such a physically demanding activity that is time requirements border on employment. And you know what? I am perfectly happy with that. I am perfectly happy with the fact that my futon is covered in climbing gear my pellet stove is surrounded with drying climbing equipment, and I have spent well over two thousand dollars on equipment this year because climbing makes me happy.
Climbing teaches you about life. When you are post holing through knee-deep snow, mile after mile, in the freezing cold you learn a lot about yourself. You learn about your physical and mental ability to deal with pain. Which can help you through many aspects of your life. Whether you are working a double in a restaurant kitchen, or staring at a textbook for six hours. The lessons you learn in the mountains will carry you through life.
Climbers also seek out certain things in life, whether that is adventure, or friendship. We are searching for something when we go out in the mountains. Personally I am trying to do things that people are either unlikely to do or something that someone has never done. Which is why I want to complete first ascents, and set new routes on unclimbed mountain faces.
The media often portrays climbers as extreme athletes, or climbing as an extreme sport but are we seeking danger? I like the adrenaline rush of the unknowns and the possibility that everything I planned could go wrong. However I am not seeking death or danger. I am seeking a sense of self-fulfillment something I only find on the side of a mountain. It’s the impact that climbing has on my daily life and routine, which shows me that climbing is a lifestyle not just a sport. So the moral of todays philosophical life pondering article, is get out and go climb.
“Why do we travel to remote locations? We do it to be alone amongst friends and to find ourselves in a land without man. “
– George Mallory