Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Trad Climbing:
A Trad Climber grows up (aka Why the hell is this fun?)
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Trad Climbing

Premier Sponsor:

 


skurdeycat


Mar 9, 2007, 12:23 PM
Post #1 of 5 (1140 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 28, 2004
Posts: 45

A Trad Climber grows up (aka Why the hell is this fun?)
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I recently found this story I wrote years ago. I revised it to protect the innocent and with some benefit of hindsight but I hope that it conveys in some way the reasons why I love trad climbing.

This was a mysterious crag, talked about in fearful tones. I was teased by the solitude, the idea of climbing where others were scared. Less than vertical in most places, the lower faces were dark and lichen-covered, the upper reaches remained a mystery. There were no chalk marks, an ominous crucifix-topped cairn the only indication that anyone had ever attempted to climb there, but was a reminder of the lore of the area. There was an old guide book, and I devoured its pages as I tried to convince others to join me.

I was finally there. It was oppressively hot and humid, thunder rolled in the distance and I was half way up the second of three pitches of 5.6G climbing. I was exhausted, mentally and physically. Most of my rack was gone, wasted on psychological reassurance before several committing and exposed moves. My forearms and fingers felt swollen and numb. Sweat was stinging my eyes, I could hardly see. For the first time ever climbing, I was truly scared, not of falling or getting hurt, but simply of the unknown, the very reason I wanted to climb here. What the hell am I doing? Why the hell is this fun?

Id been climbing about three years, I could lead 5.10 sport and thought I was comfortable leading trad 5.8s, but until then it had been under the watchful eye of an experienced mentor. Now I realized how much his knowledge of routes, and just his capable presence nearby, had cushioned me from the reality of a true adventure. The only person for miles was my belayer, and even he was out of earshot for all but the simplest of belay commands.

My options were simple: bail to safety or climb on into the unknown. My mind weighed the choices, back and forward. I thought about what I had just climbed, how much it had worn me down, what gear I had remaining and I looked up at the roofs and notches above. I wondered if my belayer could even clean the pitch. I wished I hadnt dragged him into all this, that wed gone to the Gunks instead, or just stayed home. I asked myself whats the worst that can happen?, and answered with gruesome and lonely scenarios. I finally decided that I had come for adventure, and now I had found it so I had better enjoy it or stop whining. I reassured myself that I would bail if the storm approached, secretly hoping for this excuse without admitting defeat.

I climbed on, finally collapsing into an anchor which used all the few pieces I had left. My belayer arrived up, and we grimly contemplated our future. Eventually I led off again into the unknown, but I had changed. I was still tired and sore, but I had found new determination, and in minutes I was enjoying the scenery from the top of the cliffs.

I could think about nothing else for weeks, nothing seemed important. Climbing at the gym didnt even help. I felt like a twelve year old who has just thrown up after smoking his first cigarette but cant wait to steal another, and another and another.

What was special about that day? We set out to climb a rock, it was harder than we expected but we climbed it. Nobody was hurt, there was no heroism or epic adventure. I think back to that day every time I approach a climb. Nothing I have climbed since has come close to the pleasure and relief of standing at the top of that cliff. I think it reminds me of my strengths, my weaknesses and that there is so much more to climbing than just climbing.

Skurdey


deschamps1000


Mar 9, 2007, 12:32 PM
Post #2 of 5 (1118 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 29, 2004
Posts: 343

Re: [skurdeycat] A Trad Climber grows up (aka Why the hell is this fun?) [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hell yea brother. Right on.


bobruef


Mar 9, 2007, 1:34 PM
Post #3 of 5 (1024 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 22, 2005
Posts: 884

Re: [skurdeycat] A Trad Climber grows up (aka Why the hell is this fun?) [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

nice


Partner oldsalt


Mar 9, 2007, 3:03 PM
Post #4 of 5 (948 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 19, 2004
Posts: 919

Re: [skurdeycat] A Trad Climber grows up (aka Why the hell is this fun?) [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

... and you can't begin to explain it to people who haven't done it, but you probably tried a couple of times.

Even with my vast experience of 4 gear leads, I can truly say, "I know just what you are saying!" Smile


summitseeker


Mar 10, 2007, 4:22 AM
Post #5 of 5 (832 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 2, 2006
Posts: 119

Re: [oldsalt] A Trad Climber grows up (aka Why the hell is this fun?) [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

AS another climber posted in one of my threads...."welcome to the dark side"


Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Trad Climbing

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook