Despite my hyper-obsession with climbing, I’ll be the first to admit that it really is only a pastime. We’re not solving the world’s problems or making some enormous contribution to the wealth of human knowledge when we scale rocks. That said, I know for myself (and I’m sure others who share my obsession do also) that climbing still means something, something worth working for, doing without for, maybe even suffering a bit for. So what is that something?

Well, that’s the million-dollar question, but I have a guess that it has to do with the kinds of relationships – with ourselves and with our partners – that climbing catalyzes. I recently published a piece, “The Purple and Blue Rope,” that takes a stab at this idea through the metaphor of the climbing rope: our connection to the rock, our connection to each other, our life line.