No, I’m not a football fan. In fact, I’ve probably only watch a handful of football games from start to finish in my whole life. This is in large part due to the fact that my weekends – both days of them – are sacred. For climbing, that is.

Last Sunday, Becca and I went out for the morning to Sailing Hawks, Durango’s premier bouldering area. I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated and, having just finished a week-long trip with my students climbing at the Enchanted Tower in New Mexico, was fairly tired. I brought the camera along as a way to distract myself from my lack of motivation and experiment with shooting people climbing. I’ll be honest that my camera and iMovie have become a pretty fun pastime recently. I’m also painfully aware of my lack of prowess in the videography department. With that in mind, I have adopted, possibly to the irritation of the folks I climb with, the habit of frequently taking photos and video footage randomly at the cliff. My logic is that if I shoot and edit enough photos and video, maybe I’ll stop sucking at it eventually.

So, here is my recent attempt: a short video of my wife and me on a typical Sunday morning. I’d like to give a shout out to my big sis, Johanna Divine, whose song is featured in the video. Oh, and please excuse (or laugh at), my wife’s commentary at parts.

Looking back on what the video is about – two folks goofing off at the boulders, it makes me think of something that I mentioned in passing in my last post. Earlier this week, in writing about the route The Corrections, I brought up the idea of how satisfaction from climbing really comes from an appreciation of the process of climbing, which includes both success and failure. Sure, we all love to perform, and we’re motivated and proud of ourselves by our moments of good performance. We like to send, to reach a new high point, to stick a move we couldn’t do, to get to the top, in some way or another, to best our previous accomplishments.

The climbing world at large exacerbates this and possibly even manipulates it for their purposes (usually to sell us something). I’m in no way trying to condemn anyone here. I’ll leave the critiquing up to someone with a bit more clout (see Peter Beal’s Mountains and Water and others). All I will say is that media that communicates, in some version or another, a message along the lines of “a simple day out, climbing without expectation, will be a ton of fun” probably won’t sell many, say, crashpads. Amid the plethora of climbing news, advertising, spray, literature, and countless other sources of climbing information, I find it easy to fall into the thinking that until I climb everything there is to climb, I’m slightly failing at rock climbing. I doubt I’m alone in this (although that could simply be an attempt to convince myself I’m not crazy).

I don’t mean to discount the “climbing buzz,” for lack of a better term, and the climber’s ego. These both are at worst a necessary evil of our pursuit and at best a legitimate driving force behind progression. My only point is that I know it is healthy and rewarding for me to quiet those voices sometimes and appreciate the joy from just going out and playing on rocks with someone I care about. I know this concept is old hat (“It’s the journey, not the destination.”), but this is one of those zen principles that, for me, is about the practice not the realization. I know I’ll never fully be able to let go of my obsessive drive to climb as much and as well as possible (much to my wife’s dismay at times), but it’s also important for me to keep reminding myself that this isn’t the only way to climb.

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