Why do we climb?

Post general questions and discuss issues related to climbing.
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Why do we climb?

by Autoxfil » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:16 pm

I know we've had threads on this in the past - it's always a good thing to consider.

I have come to the realization that while I enjoy being outside, exercise, the company of others, big views, and a challenge; I have an unusual drive that pushes me to do the climbs I do. I enjoy logistics. Organizing people and materials, planning camps and trimming gear lists down, and then watching it all come together and having my decisions validated on the peaks is really what pushes me. I've had suspicions that it was about the gear, or the maps, or the all-night drives, but I got this little tingle in the back of my brain after this weekend's climb, and the same tingle when planning some integration and test activity at work - and it clicked. This is me. This is why I do things the way I do - logistics, putting it all together and making every little aspect of the trip work out.

Questioning other's motivations is a favorite activity of climbers, and of humans in general. Just look at any Everest thread on any climbing board - the discussion is always about motives.

But, let's not bring that up here. Don't tell me why anyone else climbs - look inside and figure out why you climb, and then explain. It was a revelation when I realized why I've been doing what I have been, and that kind of honesty with one's self is good, and will let you enjoy climbing more in the future. For instance, I'm going to start aid climbing. I've been on the fence about picking it up, but it's all about logistics - I bet I'll love it, despite my general concerns about exposure. I don't really love hiking, but I bet I'll like thru-hiking, for the same reasons. I may try that someday, too.

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by Diggler » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:35 pm

Because it's there.

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Re: Why do we climb?

by MRoyer4 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:50 pm

Autoxfil wrote:I enjoy logistics...

I thought it was just me. There are lots of other reasons too though...people, mental and physical challenge, serenity, awe, etc.

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by Hotoven » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:37 am

Diggler wrote:Because it's there.

"That guy" with the text book answer, ahhh!!! :D

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by Hotoven » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:12 pm

I can relate somewhat with the logistics aspect of climbing. I do enjoy it, but What I love is the details. All the little things that need to be remembered and packed and at any given time retrieved with no problem. Efficiency is what I strive for in backpacking and climbing.

But why I climb? Its my way to take a break and enjoy "life". my life is not my work or school, its those fews times in the year I get to go out and do something I love. Its what gets me up in the morning and gets me through those boring classes, day dreaming and planning my next adventure.

In rock climbing its getting to the next grade. Its addicting for me...

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by Nanuls » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:13 pm

Because there's joy in movement.

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by CindyAbbott » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:19 pm

For the challenge and the view.

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Sierra Ledge Rat

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by Sierra Ledge Rat » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:59 am

Aesthetics - beautiful lines beg to be climbed

Satisfaction of accomplishment - it ain't easy, and it's very satisfying to be on the summit

Physical conditioning - Those who don't walk with a spring in their step, and who aren't light on their feet, don't know what they're missing

Self-Validation - Yes, I can do it

Self-Knowledge - nothing like climbing hard stuff solo that makes you figure out what makes you tick and what motivates you

Adventure - Climbers accomplish more in a few years than other people do in a lifetime

Beauty - It just doesn't get any better than high in the mountains

Gear - God, I used to love pounding pitons or sharpening my crampons/axes

Challenge - Taking the hard route makes you a better person

Pain - It's weakness leaving the body

Old age - I'm more afraid of not living than not living, gotta have some memories that will make me look back and smile when I'm wearing diapers again

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Jukka Ahonen

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by Jukka Ahonen » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:19 pm

I think John Krakauer has written the most honest words about motivation in "Eiger dreams":

... One of the differences between us was that Marc wanted very badly to climb the Eiger, while I wanted very badly only to have climbed the Eiger.

Personally, I have not figured out my motivation yet. I don't really care why, either. It makes me happy, and I know that the quickest way to lose happiness is to question it.

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Ejnar Fjerdingstad

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by Ejnar Fjerdingstad » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:22 pm

I once read of a climber asked by a non-climber why he climbed, while they were both viewing some beautiful Alpine scenery. His answer, "If you have to ask that question now, you wouldn't understand the answer."

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by butitsadryheat » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:48 pm

Fletch wrote:for the view...


and to get away from the city, and all that goes with it

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by Diggler » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:31 pm

Returning from a climb one day, some dude in the parking lot looked at us & asked what we'd just returned from. Looked at him & said 'We just got back from climbing Mt. So & So.' He sort of stretched his neck out towards Mt. So & So, shrugged his shoulders, & said 'Might as well.' An answer as good as any I can think of.


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