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By kamrujj
Jun 10, 2013
I've asked a number of climbers "Why do you climb?" or "Why do you like climbing?". Ironically, most of the people I've asked ponder the question for a few seconds and can't give an answer. So now I turn to you out of curiosity. I'm hoping this forum can shed light on the fact that even I have a hard time answering the question. My friends and family often ask how such a "dangerous" and demanding activity can be so fun and addicting.



Why do you climb?

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By APBT1976
Jun 10, 2013
Black Dike 12/25/11
The bitches..

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By Weston L
From Summerlin, NV
Jun 10, 2013
Me at the good rest on Doggie Do
Searching is your friend...

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By rking101
From Evanston, WY
Jun 10, 2013
Easy question to answer.

If its a 5.10 or a 5.5 when im on the rock im not thinking about work, life, or bills. Only thing running thru my head is how im not going to fall this time, Im i really going to make that clip. Is that chalk mark really a hold :l . Its all the same with climbing, bombing a single track on my bike its a great way to remember there is more then just the rat race of life.

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By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
Jun 10, 2013
Day Lily.
No more continents to explore, just virgin veritcal rock. I have an exploratory energy/curiosity.

Freedom in every sense.

I like to be humbled, "put in my place" and rock climbing proved/showed(s me I'm not a badass. It keeps my/me ego grounded and in turn sets me up to transfer the balance/energy I find while climbing into the rest of my life.

Its a lifestyle that I easily flow with versus say basketball, football, any traditional sport. Climbing is wonderfully convienent for the nomad, the rolling stone.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Jun 10, 2013
...
It's fun!

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By ChaseLeoncini
From San Diego, California
Jun 10, 2013
El Cajon Mtn. Leonids. 5.9.
^"The Bitches" ha
I dont consider climbing as dangerous. Everyone knows the statistics about how dangerous driving is in comparison to other things. We get comfortable doing dangerous things and it no longer feels that dangerous. And when it does get a bit frightening... oooo what a rush. :)
For me, a good reminder of how amazing life is, is standing right at the foot of what might be the end. You learn to appreciate a lot after a scary incident. Kind of like when you watch a loved one in a movie die you might look at your kids and think, damn... they arent ever goin outside again.
Plus, climbing is peaceful. A freedom to get away from everything. Society, politics, home issues, whatever it is, stand 20 feet above your biggest c3 and tell me about your "problems."


I like this by John Long,
“At some time in your climbing career, be it one or twenty years it you’ll seriously question why you are climbing at all. This is nothing less than squaring off with the Main Question of why we are alive, what are we doing, where are we going? The Main Question sneaks into the context of climbing because, well, because were climbers.”

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Jun 10, 2013
Horseman
People ask me this and it's tough to answer. It's not a one word answer, and I guess I could sum it up in "fun" but I think people want to know why it is fun.

I could say the view, but I didn't start outside, started inside. The point is not just about the top, or else I'd just use a ladder or get on the easiest routes. It's not being up high, because at work I stare out a window all day about 450 feet up, with a view of tall buildings, the Ohio river, and looking at the rolling hills of Kentucky. The movements feel good... but sometimes when I'm hanging on a small rock I think "why am I here?" And is it to forget about bills and life? I could forget about bills by meditating. And climbing creates bills for me - all the gear, plane tickets and gas money to get to places.

It's just an addiction. I guess if I have to explain it, it's like unlocking a puzzle, with both a physical and mental aspect. There is room for improvement, and measured improvement is fun. It's more varied than just running, I like seeing improvment in running, but it's also more than just getting faster, you also learn body position, gear management. Then you discover there are great places around the world with varied terrain, rocks, routes so the newness never stops.

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By Bud Martin
From Bozeman, MT
Jun 10, 2013
I often have nothing else to do.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Jun 10, 2013
...
"I think people want to know why it is fun."


Different question.

;-)



PS...

I love all the deep and philosophical answers some people give. Some even bring in spiritual aspects.

Fuck that! It's nothing more than playing around on the rocks.

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By Ellenore Zimmerman
Jun 10, 2013
me
its the disease...

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By David prsn
From Tustin
Jun 10, 2013
Temple crag, dark star
Facebook pictures, duh

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By kamrujj
Jun 10, 2013
Thanks for all the great feedback already! As expected, people have different reasons as to why they climb and explaining it can get real philosophical real quick.

For me, I think the addiction is similar in that I feel indescribable freedom from everything else that is going on in life. When I'm on the rock, nothing else is on my mind. It's not that I think "I can't think about work/life, I need to concentrate on climbing". It more of "How do I get to that next hold?" Other thoughts don't even enter my mind.

I also like ChaseLeoncini's quote of "stand 20 feet above your biggest c3 and tell me about your "problems." I think that pretty well sums up how climbing puts perspective on life's problems!

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By Alex Washburne
Jun 10, 2013
I eat crack for breakfast.
Locker wrote:
"I think people want to know why it is fun." Different question. ;-)


Long story short: I completely agree with your earlier statement "Because it's fun."

We could ask the same question ("why is it fun?") about basketball or hiking and give them, or any other sport, the same mystique we give climbing by asking "why do you do it?"

People don't rationalize themselves into climbing. They just grab some holds, get a little spooked, survive, feel strong, feel psyched, and do it again. Eventually, we do have to confront the riskiness of climbing relative to basketball or hiking and have to rationalize the continued exposure (like a smoker rationalizing smoking regularly) by either denial (I'm in control, that'll never happen to me) or a cost-benefit analysis (climbing is worth it because the excitement, exercise, exposure and experiences add more to my life than climbing is likely to take away from it, especially considering how I'm kinda in control).

We could ask "why is getting spooked fun, especially when it's legitimate spook?" to which I'll respond with empirical evidence of people skydiving, going on rollercoasters, running from bulls, and doing any manner of absurd, exciting stunts, and then point us to some biochemistry papers that will bore someone to tears. When we're sufficiently bored sitting in our dark room chatting about biochemistry, I'll have a friend barge into the room with a very realistic gorilla costume and scare the crap out of us, and then she'll take off the mask and we'll all laugh and remember that instant more than the boring ass biochemistry. Adrenaline is kinda fun. Climbers don't knowingly do it for the sake of adrenaline (I'm actually quite miserable when I'm climbing and get an adrenaline rush - that usually means something bad could happen if I fuck up), but somewhere in that biochemical symphony is a reward system that makes getting spooked fun, and that's why we climb the second time.

Some people put more emphasis on the problem solving aspect of climbing, but they could just as well be playing chess or doing math or any number of other puzzles, so why are they climbing? They could be climbing by historical contingency (they got lucky to find climbing before chess or math or video games) or they find that climbing is more justifiable because it gets them outdoors, gets them exercise, and makes them feel cool because saying you "rock climb" makes you seem hardcore to people who don't rock climb and it gives you social capital through the rock climbing community (it's like being Jewish except without the lifelong guilt). So there may be other motivations that we tell ourselves besides adrenaline for why climbing is fun, but I would be very surprised to see someone stick with climbing if they just climbed 100 ft of fascinating problems on a treadmill located outdoors that never let their waist get more than 3 ft above the ground.

I'll finish with a Hunter S. Thompson quote:

"People who claim to know jackrabbits will tell you they are primarily motivated by Fear, Stupidity and Craziness. But I have spent enough time in jackrabbit country to know that most of them lead pretty dull lives; they are bored with their daily routines: eat, fuck, sleep, hop around a bush now & then . . .No wonder some of them drift over the line into cheap thrills once in a while; there has to be a powerful adrenaline rush in crouching by the side of a road, waiting for the next set of headlights to come along, then streaking out of the bushes with split-second timing and making it across to the other side just inches in front of the speeding front wheels.

Why not? Anything that gets the adrenaline moving like a 440 volt blast in a copper bathtub is good for the reflexes and keeps the veins free of cholesterol . . . but too many adrenaline rushes in any given time-span has the same bad effect on the nervous system as too many electro-shock treatments are said to have on the brain: After a while you start burning out the circuits . . ."

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By Riley Evans
Jun 10, 2013
"Gods walk among us" 12.b
Dont think I will ever know... but im having fun!

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By Tug
Jun 10, 2013
'Cause it's stupid and I'm kinda dumb.

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By Adam B
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Jun 10, 2013
Middle St. Vrain
Because climbing is a complicated, never ending puzzle with serious consequences. The mental reward for this kind of problem solving far out weigh any reason NOT to go climbing.

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By Princess Mia
From Vail
Jun 10, 2013
Chillin' at City of Rocks
What else are you supposed to do Monday-Sunday??????

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By Wyatt H
From Casper, Wy
Jun 10, 2013
I don't get it. Why do people always want to justify to themselves and others why they climb? I can't think of any other hobbies/sports/lifestyles where people continuously question and justify why they do it. Nobody had existential discussions about why they play volleyball in the park or why they love paintball or blowjobs or any other meaningless diversion.

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By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Jun 10, 2013
CoR
Locker wrote:
It's fun!

I have never had so much fun scaring myself in all my life.

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By doug rouse
From Denver, CO.
Jun 10, 2013
To get to the top

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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jun 10, 2013
tanuki
A lonely impulse of delight...

and the hot bitches!

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By Mike wand
From San Marcos
Jun 10, 2013
El Capitan reservoir from the top of ECM
I climb because I like rappelling.

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By bay
Jun 10, 2013
let's not trivialize the sport.

Locker wrote:
It's fun!


+1

...and i'll top it off with mallory: "Because it's there".

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By Greg Halliday
From Spanish Fork, UT
Jun 10, 2013
Because I suck at chess. Then again, I suck at climbing too.

And because skiing is just so crazy expensive these days.

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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jun 10, 2013
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
Healthier than shootin heroin.

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