A Rocky Relationship: A Personal Essay

Climbing and I have a complicated relationship.  Sometimes my connection with climbing is tenuous at best, and though it may always appear bright from our shiny Instagram-filtered worlds, only I am aware of its lackluster days.  It is for these reasons that climbing has been my greatest mirror, and best metaphor for personal relationships.

It is the longest relationship I have had (outside of familial ones), and like all meaningful relationships, we find ourselves feeling accomplished, worthy, truly loved, happy, free and (literally) on top of the world at times, but it is not without its challenges.  In fact, it is this constant struggle that I have with climbing to continue to grow my physical strength and technique and emotional capacity to deal with failure and unforeseen situations that makes it a truly special relationship.

We all know the aforementioned positive emotions well – how freeing it can feel to be on top – whether it’s the first overhanging v0 we sent after repeat visits to the 45 degree wall, or the first rays of light we reach at the the summit after days of climbing up steep alpine terrain with unforgiving mountain conditions.  These feelings fuel our very being, give us life and light and hope.  But we speak less of the lackluster days – we know those well, too.  The ones where, despite days/weeks/months of projecting project X, we still can’t seem to nail that crux move, or we had to back away from the summit bid due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. we simply ran out of time).  Or maybe it’s just that we had a bad climbing day – our heart wasn’t in it, we felt uninspired, and we simply didn’t want it badly enough.  Climbing can feel treacherous like that – one day we’re BFFs, and the next it’s like ‘hey, I thought we were friends, man – what’s up?’.  And we want to run.  Far away. From the flappers, shoulder tendinitis, badly chipped manicures, toe spurs, callouses, crooked bulging fingers, and lingering lower back pain.  But we can’t.  Because it hurts so good.

Am I advocating masochism here?  Surely not.  The pain to which I refer  is the pain of growth – of becoming.  And I think that all meaningful relationships to our personhood are like that – they’re rocky and beautiful, tense and intense and all-around awesome all at the same time, within the same hour of the same day.  They envelope us in their womb of loving kindness and shape us in ways we could not even imagine.  They stretch us to become the kind of person that we used to only read about in magazines and see in social feeds and never believed we could truly be.  Until we do.

And so yes, it’s been a rocky relationship, and I celebrate your rugged edges, Climbing.

Happy New Year.

honesty

Love,

Jeanne

Destination Climbing: Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is everything you’d expect of a quintessential desert: it is extreme in summer heat and winter cold; it is violent and moody as the sun slices through chiselled siqs (canyons) at dawn or melts the division between rock and sand at dusk; it is exacting on the Bedouin who live in it and vengeful on those who ignore its dangers

Lonely Planet Jordan

Wadi Rum in southern Jordan is home to some of the most spectacular desert climbing in the world.  Certainly for U.S.-based climbers Indian Creek, Joshua Tree, or Moab are much closer options with stunning canyons and desert landscapes, so why make the trek to the Middle East to experience Wadi Rum climbing?

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The Art of Self-Care

In Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.  Her secret?  Meditation, Mindfulness, Unplugging, and Giving.

Self-care is like that.  Thriving in climbing is staying injury-free, but self-care is often an afterthought.  Admittedly, our own cultivation of a self-care practice has emerged out of treating rather than preventing injuries over the past few years, and we’ve been working to remedy this.

We’ve observed a strong correlation between self-care and injury prevention, and are super stoked to share some of our self-care best practices below and celebrate many more injury-free years to accompany our climbing!

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Seeking Higher Ground: Don’t Panic

Welcome to our inaugural edition of Seeking Higher Ground  – a column about climbing, women, and women climbing – written by Bouldering Babe Athlete Anastasia B.

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It’s 100 degrees outside, and I’m halfway up one of maybe ten bolted routes in the whole of Zion. I’m not sure what grade the route is, only that I’m hot, it’s hard, and that I’ve never been in this far over my head. From the ground this seemed like such a sure thing, but I am afraid. I am gut-wrenchingly, mind numbingly afraid. 

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