Updated: Jun 21
In an introspective moment, two thirds of the way up a particularly high, highball slab, my brain asked a question... "Charlie... Why the !*%£ are you doing this?". At the time, I could not find an acceptable answer. But to appease the grey matter I decided to delve a bit deeper into why we climb.
First, I think we need to look at what climbing 'is'. When boiled down it seems to be: Finding the hardest possible way to get to the top of an object, that you have no reason to be on the top of.
So why do we do it? Well that's easy. It's awesome. But when you start to list all the reasons that make up that answer, it becomes so much more. There's the work out for a start. I don't know any other activity that gives me such a complete, full body workout. Or that lays out such a buffet of endogenous chemicals: serotonin, adrenaline, epinephrine, noradrenaline, dopamine, anandamide, oxytocin and other endorphins. Could we all be unwitting drug addicts???
There's the community aspect. Right from the first time I went climbing I realised that I had just become a part of a crew containing hundreds of thousands, if not millions of absolute diamonds. People willing to help total strangers, progress in this wonderful sport. The bonds of friendship I have made when climbing are some of the strongest and quickest growing I have ever made in my entire life. There's nothing I like more than shooting the breeze with climbers while we wait for new skin to grow and the pump to go away.
Then, the feeling of achievement. We touch on that in brain chemicals but seeing as it's a good'un lets hit it again. That feeling... You know the one. Where you've been working on a project for so long, it's getting ridiculous. It's been keeping you awake thinking about it. Beta, beta beta. Subtle changes to foot placements. No, I have to hit it a fraction higher or maybe use that as an intermediate?... Maybe I could just dyno past the crux? That kind. Then one day you stand at the bottom of it, looking up. Maybe you're calm, maybe you're jacked or maybe you're not really feeling like it'll go but you're gonna pull on all the same. Then the something happens. Whether it'sits by pure power, that flow state or just shaking your way up. It goes! And it's send o'clock in party town. THAT feeling.
I suppose after that ramble, I can only answer why I climb, but it'll never have a complete answer. There are probably a hundred of other reasons I could find for climbing and if you ask me tomorrow why I do this, I'll have a hundred more. All I can tell you for sure... I'm gonna climb every opportunity I get, and keep going till my body won't. I love it.
Written by Charlie Snee.