Why I Climb

rock climbing jtree

Joshua Tree, California

My first piece has been published on the Outdoor Minded Mag website! I also did the layout, of which I am quite proud. It’s really fun to mess around with making things look just how you want them on the page, and I can spend hours tweaking spacing and sizing… it’s amazing how much time passes when you’re moving pictures around.

This piece has been in the works for quite a long time, since the last time I went climbing in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, which was a few years ago (2010 I believe…). It started as a journal excerpt, written as we were driving back to and from the climbing sites, and added to while waiting for pizza at Miguels after a long day of climbing (the pizza shop/campground/place to buy any gear your need or want/hang out for climbers in the Red– Miguels Pizza and Rock Climbing Shop). I had wanted to finish it for a while, but other things got in the way (life is annoying like that sometimes). Glad I could finally get it done, and especially excited that I could get it published and share it with everyone!

Here’s an excerpt:

Rock climbing is like an infection, some tiny bacteria that snuck in through a cut, multiplied, and almost without knowing it you’re speaking the lingo—words like “beta” and “redpoint” and “crimper.” You’re wearing the unofficial uniform of patched down jackets and ratty torn pants, spending hundreds of dollars on ropes and carabiners and bits of webbing and tight uncomfortable shoes, driving hundreds of miles so you can haul yourself up hundreds of tiny ledges and holds. It’s hard to figure out why you do this. It’s also hard to rationalize why being a climbing bum isn’t a good (long-term) life choice. – See more at: http://outdoormindedmag.com/why-i-climb-2/#sthash.w5bxg7OG.dpuf

Check it out, “like” it, share it, tell everyone you know! And do the same for OMM, because it’s an awesome magazine that everyone should read on a daily basis. Especially because I’ve now edited two pieces (and written one), which are contributing to the general awesomeness.

Link: Why I Climb

climbing red river gorge kentucky

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Climbing Obed

“Yet what struck me all at once was how breath-taking and bizarre climbing was. You could never stay bored: the risk alone keeps your synapses jangling. It was not simply that most non-climbers would be freaked out of their minds to find themselves where I was standing on the edges of my big toes 150 feet off the ground. It was that there was something special about the sport, some intricacy of deed that takes hold of the spirit and asks it fundamental questions. All climbers are ambivalent about climbing; yet we all find it hard to quit, and it is impossible to forget the surpassing joy of our good days in the mountains.”
~David Roberts, from Moments of Doubt
This past weekend I met up with two friends, Lucas and Blake, and went climbing at a place called Obed Wild and Scenic River, which is in Tennessee. It is an amazing place, with lots of rocks, brilliant green plants and trees, and winding rivers and stream beds. There are lots of things to do there other than climbing, not that I partook. I hope I can go back sometime soon and spend more time in the area (and climb some more rocks!)
I hadn’t climbed since just before Christmas, so my climbing muscles had gotten much wimpier than I liked (or pretended they were. In my head I can climb all day with arms of steel). Turns out that if you want to climb spending the winter in Florida is not the best place to be.  Go figure. So when I had the chance to go climbing in Tennessee, I jumped in the car and rode like the wind (if the wind goes a consistent 65 mph down the highway). I spent Saturday and Sunday at Obed, mostly just hanging out and watching Blake and Lucas, but I had a wonderful time. It was so nice to be around climbers again, people who use words like “crimpers,” “slopers,” “red-point,” “pumped” in pretty much any conversation, and spend inordinate amounts of time discussing climbing shoes, ropes, and routes. I haven’t been around serious climbers in a long time, so it was fun to be immersed in the climbing jargon again. I felt like I was in another universe, one that I’d been away from for too long. It was great.
Blake and Lucas getting ready to climb.
Lucas climbing.
One of the areas where we climbed. All of these routes were too hard for me, so I just took pictures and belayed.
Blake, almost at the end of the climbing route (the edge of the overhang).
The view from my tent.
Neat old truck at the campsite.
A cute dog from a nearby campsite that helped me pack up my tent  and then played fetch with me. Afterwards he decided we were inseparable and jumped right in the front seat of my car. He was ready to go back to South Carolina, though he maybe wouldn’t have been so eager had he known about the 6 hour drive.
I wish I could climb trees like this snake can, it would make climbing trees to band RCW chicks much easier!
Why hello up there Mr. Snake.

I had a fantastic time climbing this past weekend, and hopefully it won’t be another five months before I can climb again!