Short Days & Climbing Hibernation

Not a whole lotta bloggin’ goin’ on around here… Had a great day of climbing on Sunday. Wore thin my finger tips on Oklahoma granite. The more you climb, the more you find yourself thinking about climbing in new ways beyong the technical and athletic. Much in rock climbing happens in the head. Fear and confidence tear you back and forth while you’re climbing. But the longer you climb, the more you get a handle on those two.

There are two kinds of climbing. The real kind – climbing BIG, climbing long unfamiliar routes on real cliffs, or, preferably, mountains. The other, sometimes nearly as much fun, is climbing small scale, one-pitch stuff, toproping, etc. I hate to say it. But it isn’t really climbing. That is not to belittle the difficulty of any route or the effort in establishing that route. Climbing small stuff can only be practice for something bigger. It a means to an end. My days climbing in Oklahoma these days are all about practice. I don’t care about bagging red points or doing something new. It’s all about touching real rock – when the closest is about 4 hours from home – and doing laps till the fingers bleed. It’s mere maintenance for the climber’s mind to give me confidence. There is little I learn climbing like that, and less I accomplish for my climbing resume. I don’t care if I’m on route, finish a pitch, or hangdog. It’s about being in the element – on the rock, and nothing more. It’s about moving and breathing on the rock, taking your time, relishing the holds… I know this may sound silly. I guess some may call this a spiritual experience. All I know is that 30 minutes of the rock are worth 450 miles roundtrip.

Well, with another child about to land on planet Earth, I’m most likely entering climbing hibernation right now. It will be 6 months or so before I get to climb outside again. To celebrate this, I just ordered some gear so I have something to fondle when I get the itch and can’t go – something as a down payment for future climbing exploits.


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