Why do you climb?
Photo courtesy of G. Montgomery
This question was asked of me after telling a non-climbing friend about my adventures over the Easter weekend climbing Commando Ridge with two friends in Cornwall. I was telling her that during the seven pitch climb (was the lead on pitches 1, 3, 5 & 6) I had reached both my physical & mental limits as I sat straddling one of the peaks with the sea crashing below. As I finished telling her the tale, I could see the incredulous look on her face build as she asked the question, “why do you climb?” And this puzzled look was even more questioning when I said I wanted to do the climb again, as I knew there were many portions I could have done better.
This question got me thinking. Why do we climb?
This then spurred my next thought of what an excellent question this was to ask my climbing buddies for my first ever ‘guest’ style series on Clearing the Wake. And what better person to get the series started than climbing ‘hero’, Gareth.
I first met Gareth on my second outdoor climbing trip to the Peak District, and the rest is history. My favorite part about climbing with him (other than he is an excellent & safe climber) is that you are guaranteed a fun day out and will have many laughs, which is quite valuable on epic multi-pitch adventures and when stuck in chimneys.
Not too long after meeting Gareth, he set off to the western USA to go on his dream climbing adventure. I remember being a bit in awe of his bravery to quit work and follow his dream. Since returning from his adventure, Gareth has started his own climbing company, Momentum Bouldering. Yes, this guy loves climbing.
Finally, before turning it over to Gareth, it is important to mention it is very appropriate to lead with him, as he was one of two kind friends who came to ‘check-up’ on the three of us climbing Commando Ridge that Easter weekend, as we maybe were a bit slow in our pursuits.
And now to Gareth…
- Super Crack. Indian Creek, Utah.
- Photo courtesy of a random French person (Gareth did not get his name)
Well that’s a question!
Okay, the simple answer is it’s fun, but that doesn’t really come close. Let’s top ten it, in no specific order (after number 1.)
1. The people I meet – without doubt the reason I love climbing is the people I get to climb with, you find yourselves in such precarious positions (well when multipitching anyway) with people and I think that you get to know people really quite well in a very short period of time because of that.
2. Living in the now – as somebody who lives 50% of my life in the future and 50% of my life in the past, it’s nice to come back to the present every now and again and leading trad routes definitely does that.
3. The places we go – You go places you would never think of if you didn’t climb. I often use climbing just as an excuse to go somewhere.
4. Brain quietness – My brain is noisy most of the time, when leading it is focused on only one thing, I like that!
5. The mirror effect – when you are really scared and very tired, you see what you are really made off.
6. Physical challenge – self explanatory
7. Shiny things – Lets face it, cams are soooo cool!
10. ok I only had 7.
And that concludes Gareth’s Top 10 (okay, 7) reasons he climbs. If you share the passion and would like to be featured in this new series, please let me know.
If you need any new chalkbags, boulder buckets or a boulder pad, check out Momentum Bouldering. You’ll be guaranteed an item handmade by someone that truly loves this fine sport.