"If you're not having fun, then you shouldn't be doing it," said the late and great Alex Lowe. Though years have passed since this sage advice, its applicability has not faded.
Today, at least four major magazines cover the full-fledged sport of rock climbing, and gyms have popped up everywhere like pimples on an adolescent. For those that are climbers, it is cool to admit to it, as more and more people become drawn to its epic stories of first ascents, exotic locations and the eventual tall tales that result thereof. Regardless, if you're a climber, always remember the day you were hooked, and what keeps you coming back for more.
Climbing for Focus
For me, climbing is an escape. It is an activity where time seems to stand still and the moment is all that matters. It's also an opportunity to discover more about my myself through the hard work and determination required to excel.
When I first started climbing, fake it till you make it was my mantra. That was until I met my first climbing mentor and partner who taught me "the ropes" and the mental focus it takes to improve.
Climbing for Fun
Remember the days of playing cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood kids or riding your bike until the sun went down? You didn't want to go home for dinner. You wanted to stay out because you were having too much fun. That is what climbing should feel like.
Sure there may be times when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, prompting a few extra gray hairs on your scalp; but pushing boundaries and seeing what is possible is the natural progression to getting better.
Being the new climber in venues like Eldorado Canyon or Yosemite, surrounded by some of the nation's best, can be both physically and mentality taxing. I along with many others have been there and back again. Six Flags is not the only place with roller coaster rides.
Climbing is also full of ups and downs, but taking the time to remember what attracted you to the sport from the beginning will see you through every time. Climbing should not be only about getting to the top -- it should always be about having fun.