Why I Climb
Why do I climb?
With a surprised and quizzical look on their face, people often ask me "why do you rock climb?", "what made you choose that sport?", and "aren't you afraid?". My reply is often, "because it's fun, chose it for health and yes sometimes I'm afraid."
How it began for me,
Initially I was looking for something that would provide me with a full body workout. In 2016 my physical health situation, as well as my daily life drastically changed. By early 2017 my body had healed and I was ready to bring fitness and movement into my daily lifestyle. I found traditional gyms to be boring and unmotivating. But like many other people I had earlier attempts at traditional workout gym life. You might be familiar with this drill, signing up with good intentions only to give up within a month due to the fear of injury, lack of knowledge of how to use the equipment and the struggle of starting something new on my own.
In 2017 I was dating a guy who rock climbed and he encouraged me to give the sport a try. I remembered that in school I had once tried climbing at an indoor facility and had a lot of fun so I joined him for a trial climbing session. It turned out to be a great date activity and the sport was just as fun as I remembered. It was interesting to watch the experienced climbers at the indoor facility move up the wall and I saw friends of mine there that I didn’t know were climbers. If I was going to join this sport it was clear that I’d have a community of people to help me stay accountable right from the beginning. The actual moment that the sport of climbing entered my heart was when I woke up the next morning… every muscle in my body was sore, from head to toe… I knew right then and there that climbing was what I had been searching for. Two days later I signed up for a membership at Joe Rockheads in Toronto, Ontario. Two months after that and I was climbing outdoors on actual rock for the first time. Overall I quickly felt my body getting physically stronger, mentally focused and my heart was full from enjoying good people and the great Ontario outdoors. Climbing very quickly evolved from just a sport to a passion.
How do you define the reason why you are passionate about something? Can there be just one reason?
If I had to choose just one reason why rock climbing is my passion, then it's my pursuit of bliss, but this specific pursuit is made up of various elements:
- The mental bliss; that specific focus and clarity that comes from problem solving a route. It's a freedom from mental multitasking, because if I don't turn off thoughts about all other items in my life and focus directly on the route… then I'll fall and I don't want to fall.
- The physical bliss; it's that moment just before I untie my figure eight knot, after sending a route, I see the chalk on my hands and stare at my fingers for a beat, thankful for the things I was just able to accomplish with these ten dusty but otherwise simple looking digits.
- The bliss of community; spending a few hours in the gym and often 12 hour days outdoors with fun, inspiring, like minded humans. The rock climbers I've met so far create a welcoming, inclusive, friendly community. One full of encouragement and support for each other as we each pursue our sends and personal goals.
- The bliss of nature; this is specific to outdoor climbing of course, but everything about the tree roots and wildflowers along the hike into the crag, scrambling over cliff side debris to the base of the route, the feel of the rock beneath my fingertips, the friendly daddy long leg spiders crawling along my next handhold… but most rewardingly it's the view of the crag from the top of the route.
- The bliss of exploration; the sport of rock climbing provides new and unique experiences when traveling outside of my home province. As with most tourists we explore the culture and cities of different countries. Rock climbing provides me with the opportunity to also see the nature, the rock that forms the foundations of those countries, the views from the top of their valleys. It's a very lucky feeling.
I follow my bliss every day and I am forever grateful to have the sport of rock climbing in my life.