A peek at the calendar reveals that another November has come and almost gone, thus, signifying another important milestone in my life…my climberversary! Exactly four years ago, this month, marked the beginning of my journey into the amazing sport of rock climbing, and I couldn’t be more thankful for everything it has given me.
As I sit here typing, tape covering my cut and bloodied hands after another weekend spent being humbled in a beautiful place, I can’t help but reminisce about how far I’ve come since I first learned how to tie that figure 8. Four years ago, I was dealing with the emotional baggage of a failed dream that I had pursued with every ounce of my being for 12 years. As I navigated, what I regularly refer to as my quarter life crisis, there was a noticeable void. For nearly 8 months, I struggled with intense feelings of depression, despite what would seem like an otherwise wonderful life. I’m sure my wife can confirm many moments where I just wasn’t much fun to be around. With each climb however, things began to change.
I discovered something that was hard. Something that pushed me physically, mentally. Something that was scary. Something that involved infinite nuances, and complexities to work hard at understanding. Something that involved the unique blend of routinely putting my life in someone else’s hands, while still maintaining full individual responsibility for progress. If I wasn’t strong enough, smart enough, or prepared enough for a route, it was no one’s fault but my own. It gave me an excuse to get cool new gear, which provided Christmas morning-like joy, numerous times throughout the year. It introduced me to a community of people who, also, loved pushing themselves and being outside, many of whom have gone on to become some of my closest friends. It provided me another avenue for one of the greatest rewards of any outdoor, adventure sport…flow state. If you have to ask what flow state is, then I’m sorry to say you haven’t found it yet. I highly suggest skiing and climbing to start your search, and I promise that once found, you will acknowledge it as one of life’s greatest feelings!
In the years since my introduction (yes, in a gym), I have enjoyed furthering my progression into the sport, both indoors and out. I have read multiple books, hired guides, climbed in a variety of terrain, attended anchor building seminars, and obtained nationally recognized certification as a climbing guide & instructor. After my first season as a climbing guide within Acadia National Park, and through my work with a local climbing gym, I have now introduced many people, from all walks of life, to the same sport that I fell in love with only 4 years ago. For each, I am confident it will be the beginning of an exciting journey, whether they choose to climb once a year, or in the olympics one day. While I’m still trying to carve out a path for myself in this world 4 years later, one thing is damn sure…that void is a lot smaller.
To anyone I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a rope with over these four years, THANK YOU!
Regardless of the day, weather, or how well I climbed, I assure you it was a memorable experience for me…and I can’t wait for many more!