Let me know if you’ve heard any of these before:
Bouldering is the purest form of climbing. There are no bolts, no cams, no ropes, no nothing. Just you and the rock. If you fall, you fall to the earth.
Sport climbing is the purest form of climbing. It’s like bouldering but sustained. It’s an elegant dance on the face of a rock. There are bolts and gear, but that’s only because we can be 100’s of feet off the ground.
Trad climbing is the purest form of climbing. We are not sissy boulderers that only go 25 feet off the ground. Sport climbers put bolts on faces that are otherwise unclimbable and damage the rock. We place our own gear, and we only go where the rock allows us to go.
Alpine climbing is the purest form of climbing. We go anywhere; we do anything. We bushwhack for miles just to get to the mountain. We take on anything it gives us. We place gear. We carry ice axes if we have to do mixed climbing because the season will not hold us back.
You see what I did there?
Everyone’s preferred choice of climbing is *obviously* the “purest form of climbing”. Right.
I will not debate who’s right or who’s misguided. There are plenty of other people that have already discussed this topic ad nauseum. Mostly, I won’t do it because I don’t disagree with any one of those statements. I certainly have my preference of where I’d like to spend more of time climbing than another, but I love them all.
I find every single one of them to be righteous in their own ways, and they all bring something different to the table when it comes down to the different subcultures.
I took as legitimate of an autism test online as possible just for shits and giggles to see where I landed on the spectrum. I didn’t do very well. Meaning, I don’t have a lot of autistic characteristics. I like variety. I like to experience everything. I like to be good at everything I do, but not very “great” or “elite” at any one thing. This is not only reflected in my life, but in the microcosm of “climbing” as well.
My question to you, if you find yourself drawn to only one single type of climbing, is why? I certainly understand there are financial constraints to owning a full alpine rack, a full trad rack, a dozen sport draws, ropes, a couple of crash pads, and several different pairs of shoes. (Even then, I’m sure you could find a way to fund at least two of them.) But if money isn’t standing in your way, why do you do only one? What makes that one form of climbing so much better than the others that you won’t even consider them? It just seems foolish to me, especially given how much transfer each one lends to the others.
Enjoy the physical exertion of a hard boulder problem.
Enjoy dancing on micro ledges and finding a line of tough crimpers for 100′.
Enjoy getting to the top of a multi-pitch climb and overlooking the valley below, knowing you placed all your gear and left no trace behind you.
Enjoy the journey of getting to your climb. Enjoy being prepared for any messed up situation the mountain can try put you in and topping out on a remote 14,000 foot peak.
But do not! Be a one-trick pony. Experience everything feasible the rock has to offer.
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.