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Rock Climber and/or Mountain Climber Self-Survey

Why have you climbed in the past, or climb currently?

A. The challenge of pushing your climbing skill to higher levels.

B. The great satisfaction of achieving a very challenging physical and mental objective within a limited time frame.

C. Participating in a highly collaborative outdoor activity, with other like minded people. 

D. The surrounding landscape vantage point, of which is not seen or experienced by many.

E. “Because it’s there!”, to quote George Leigh Mallory.

F. All of the above.

G. Other, with explanation. 

5 Replies

I choose "F" - all of the above, though with time, I really began to appreciate the collaboration and teamwork aspect of climbing, in which you combine your individual efforts and ability with those of team members to gain success.

This sense of collaboration is even more so in SAR in which you put h team to work to achieve life saving results (or at least leave things clean).

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

One other thing - technical climbing skills have often come in handy doing archaeological/paleontological field work....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I’m a “G”.  But let me say I’ve never done anything technical.  I’ve had exposure, scree, talus, weather, rockfall, partner needing SAR due to fall, but never anything needing ropes.

I first started doing 14ers in Colorado in the late 80’s because they were fun and challenging.  But as I progressed in the list they got more popular and I didn’t enjoy the conga lines.  Once when doing Grays & Torreys I counted over 200 people on the trail below, and of course only a small portion of the trail was visible.  

I then found a new goal - climb to every summit visible from a certain vantage point in Cherry Creek State Park in the Denver metro area.  This was before GIS viewshed analysis, so there was a big learning curve to try to determine what peaks I could see.  I was moderately successful at that and climbed quite a few.  Sometimes I would get to a summit and realize I was one ridge too deep, or the next ridge back was where I should have been. It really helped me hone my scrambling and navigation skills.

But then I moved into the mountains.  So I decided to climb every summit in the county.  8 or so years later I’d done all 164 summits with at least a 300’ rise.  Most have no name, no trail, and no people.  My idea of heaven.

Now, at almost 65, my reason for being on a summit has changed again.  I now have slowed down and meditate more.  I’m not goal driven as much, but into the experience, view, and the communion with nature.  I still like a summit but it’s not as important anymore.

Now I forgot - what was the question?

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I think I'm an "F", or, at least approaching "All of the above".  

I've been an outdoors person all my life, starting with hiking, camping, biking, fishing, and hunting as a kid.  Once I was able to drive, I added off-roading.  About 12 years ago, I started paddling as well.  And I still do all those things. Through it all, I would occasionally scale a boulder, or rock face, or other similar obstacle "because it was there" and, I liked to challenge myself...a little.  This was all spur of the moment, impulse climbs.  "I wanna stand atop that rock!" while my hiking buddies looked on.  Nothing terribly dangerous or technical.  Just fun little challenges.

Just a few months ago, after recovering...(well, mostly) from bypass surgery, I started gym bouldering, with encouragement from my daughter. And, I have also taken a top rope and belay course, but I'm nowhere near ready to start that yet.  Right now, I'm working up to the occasional V2 level bouldering, and keep challenging myself with more difficult, and more technical indoor climbs; working on improving my strength, balance and technique. With some more practice indoors, and some guidance, and some crash pads, I plan to try some outdoor bouldering before cold weather sets in.

So, my reasons, and ambitions, keep evolving.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Thanks for sharing your life experience of climbing enjoyment and reflection. 👍