Thinking About the Climbs We Guide

Thinking About the Climbs We Guide

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminGuiding Rock Climbing

I love these climbs more than most. I know them like my children’s faces.  I love them on the hottest day.  I love them in accumulating snow.  I love them in the pouring rain.  And, I love when people meet the climbs I love.

Tonight, I can barely remember the first time I kissed my wife.  I remember the story of our first kiss, because I have told it many times.  But I don’t remember what I my own lips felt like back then, much less hers.  In the same manner, I do not remember when I first deciphered the Nose of Looking Glass Rock, or bashed my way to the top of Gumbie’s Rampage, or first dangling off the Tilted World.  Those climbs are so far into my past that the first time is no longer a feeling that I can remember.  They have become fluid, unpretentious, thoughtless motion.  Affectionate, but familiar, like kissing my wife.

That’s why I love when people meet the climbs that I love.  I can look into their faces, flash through the vortex of time, and experience, and hundreds of laps up these climbs, and revive my own past in that vicarious moment.

Sometimes, people do not love the climbs that I love.  My wife, for example, has never enjoyed a single climb that I treasure.  And could I love her any less?  Probably not. I love that she loves different climbs, and that each climb enjoys the exclusive affections of some of us, but not all of us.  It makes us all so much richer, so much more privileged and mirthful in each other’s company.

“Did you like that climb?” I have asked.

“Well, no offense, but I hated it.”  Some have responded.

My reaction is always the same.  I laugh with joy, despite myself.  So wonderfully rich and diverse are our experiences of the world, that my most revered climbs can be scorned in one breath and lauded in the next.

“I liked the first one we did much better.”  Some have said to me.

“The chossy warm-up I did because everything else was taken?????” I have responded.

“Yeah, it was fun, and the rock was so much different than everything else out here.”

And I can’t help but cackle with delight.  I love these climbs, all of them, I confess.  I’ve been taught to love them by the unpredictable preferences of my great friends, and guests, and partners.  It is always such an impressive thing for me, even after all these years.

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