Thursday, August 13, 2009

Are you a climber?

So here I am just minutes from midnight doing what I do most...

No not that!

Ok fine, doing what I do second most,


Anyways, I was thinking what it took to be considered a climber. And what defines a climber. Sorry, but grades don't really imply here. I was thinking about being a climber -- I mean a real climber, not that guy you meet at a party that inevitably says he's a climber too when your introduced as one. You know who I'm talking about. The guy who's done a few top ropes at the gym, 3 times tops. That guy isn't a climber.

Sorry, but he isn't. Now if he top ropes at the gym all the time and is passionate about it then fine he can be a climber.

But the guy I always meet is just some dude who wants talk about being extreme. Climbing isn't extreme!

Ok fine, Dean Potter you're extreme and like three other guys who are more crazy than anything.

Anyways back to the topic at hand.

Passion. Being a climber is about passion. To love something so much that it becomes all consuming. Here is an example; you have every holiday for the next year booked on a climbing trips. Then you're a climber. Or you drive across town in 40 below to climb at the local gym because you got stay in shape for climbing season. Then you're a climber and a nut job.

I climbed two years before I really thought of myself as a climber and less of a poser loser. Which I sometimes fall back into.

Now I'm not saying I didn't have passion, no far from it. I went a little over board when I first started climbing. I climbed one day at Flemming Beach in Victoria then went on a week long climbing trip to Squamish. Came back to Victoria packed up my stuff and moved to Squamish and climbed the next 32 days in a row.

For the record I didn't know you were supposed to take rest days. I got invited on a road trip to Smith Rocks with the two guys who talked me into climbing for the first time. They thought I'd gone off the deep end.

But still I wasn't a climber, not by my strict sense of what a climber is. I don't know what it was but when I looked at the other guys I climbed with I didn't feel I was one of them yet.

Yes I wore a toque even in the summer, yes I started skipping showers, yes I started neglecting the opposite sex. Hell I even contemplated moving into a van, but I still didn't make the cut.

So what made me a climber?

Janelle and I decided to go on a two month climbing trip to France. We set up our tent in Font and didn't move it the entire time. We climbed like crazy, I finally picked up some foot work, but I wasn't a climber when we got home but I felt myself getting close.

The day I became a climber I remember very well. Because I remember thinking this is it; no longer a poser. I sent my project which I had worked for a full year. And it wasn't the send, it was the glowing feeling of success that I got from it. Something I'd yet to experience to that extent. It was my passion rewarding me for my hard work.

Being a climber is taking the disappointment of not sending and still climbing. Being a climber is obsessing about something so completely that you can't sleep because you're thinking about it. Being a climber is finally succeeding.

I'm interested in what other people think of this. Throw it back at me if you think I'm wrong.

Because I believe being a climber means you've joined an exclusive club where you had to earn your way in.

Anyways hope to see you in the boulders tomorrow.



Luke said...

Well put. I agree.

Fras said...

100% Matt...har har har, very true about the feeling of elation after success; but it's funny how quickly that's replaced by the urge to move on to the next big ticket hey?