Why are you climbing, dude?

Why are you climbing, dude?

– What am I doing here?

– Inching my way up – what a stupid question!

– No – what am I actually doing here,? Like in ‘what the hell’ am I doing here?

Still a stupid question – like the classic ‘why do you climb’? Difference is that I have neither a clever remark like Mallory’s nor a soapy one. I don’t even have a moronic answer!

– Because it is a stupid question! That’s why!

– Then why am I asking it?

Here I am, half way up a hundred and something meter wall, it’s pitch dark and I’m nothing than an insect, a firefly with the speck of light from my torch shining on the ice encrusted rock. I am tapping gingerly on anorexic seams of ice and I reach for blind spots – blind as in devoid of light and blind because of overhangs. I’m loving it!

– ‘Why do you love me?’ asked she once – another moronic question.

– I have no bloody idea! I just do,! For you being you I guess… If I were to sit down and look through all the reasons, truly, your legs aren’t as long, your hair not as black, your…. I don’t know – taken down to bits you’re quite a mess actually, yet I love you…

Taken down to bits, this is stupid. It’s cold. I have no idea where I am going except that I’m going up. I see about a meter around me. I have screaming-barfies in my hands and the holds are quite often a joke. It is a mess, yet, I’m loving it… I walked past this wall in the morning, on skis. I saw ‘a line’ – of course this sounds pretty much like a critic seeing a ‘something’ in a canvas splashed with paint in a gallery. Yet it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I am on it actually. This beats art!

I came at night only with my ice tools to solo this line. Its beyond onsight – it is no-sight almost. If I fall I won’t even see the ground rushing towards me. I am a blob of dim light on a black canvas. Oh, and I’m loving it.

I swing my ice-tool over a small roof. It sticks. I am stretched. I swing the other one next to it. I can’t reverse. I am committed.  I cut my feet loose. If the tools rip off I’ll plunge to the valley below – a hundred or so meters. How long would it take to reach down? I have no reference as I dangle encapsulated in my black universe. I pull over the lip. I cut the cornice. I’m on the small pointed summit. It’s a first ascent. I am happy! I’m loving it! Who the hell cares why? I’m busy doing it!


Nice post. Here is a video link from ukclimbing.com about this subject: http://www.ukclimbing.com/videos/play.php?i=154
Hope you like it. Keep climbing, but try and stay alive! Also there are many people who know why they climb. Modern climbing takes on many forms, here are some reasons why we go into the mountains an scale the cliffs:
Adventure – the unknown
Friends – the bonds of friendship forged from hardships and real life or death dependences
Movement – the movement of climbing, like a dance
Challenge – climbing is hard and you get out what you put in, in training and preparation
Ego – to increase your sense of importance and belonging
Views – To see the world like only birds can
Stories – to tell of your adventures to your friends

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