Remember When You Were That Stoked?

Brad Patchin enjoying a tasty Desert Pickle, Wall of Confusion, Red Rocks, NV.

Brad Patchin enjoying a tasty Desert Pickle, Wall of Confusion, Red Rocks, NV.

Driving the loop road in Red Rocks a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t help but notice all the people climbing in the direct sun. It was 80 degrees out and all the popular spots were surprisingly crowded for how “bad” the conditions were. My initial reaction was wow, those people are insane, it must be so hot! But then I actually got a little bit jealous, as I realized that they were so stoked to be there, they couldn’t care less what the “conditions” were like.

“Don’t you miss being that psyched?” I asked a friend as we talked about this on the way into a climb in one of the canyons. “That time when climbing was so new and so exciting that you just went and did it, and it didn’t matter if it was too hot or too cold or what the climbs were like, you were CLIMBING, and that alone was all that mattered?” I was reminded of a time when I was in college, a particularly cold weekend in the Gunks. It was cloudy and misty the whole weekend, but we still went and got it done, and had a great time. I probably wouldn’t even leave the house now with that kind of weather.

For most of us, it seems that the longer we climb, the more that raw enthusiasm fades and we become more selective about what is required for a “good” climbing day. The conditions have to be right, there can’t be too many (any?) people, the climbing needs to have maximum stars, etc.

Looking at all the people at the Gallery that day, who undoubtedly were sweating their asses off in the afternoon sun, I knew I’d be on the struggle bus if I was there with them. But I bet they were having a great time, and that simplicity, that one focus, the joy of climbing for the incredible awesomeness of what it is, that’s the one thing I’d love to bring back to my climbing this year.

This past weekend we climbed at a sunny local cliff, in conditions that at some point in the past I might have complained about being too hot. But after a long winter of not climbing, I’ve decided I want to be as stoked as those people at the Gallery, letting the love of climbing be enough. Even when the conditions aren’t “good,” I still want to be having as much fun as I can.

So if you see me out at the cliff in the full sun and it’s pretty hot, ask me how I’m doing. If I don’t seem stoked, call me out, because I should be, I’m rock climbing!!!

2 Responses to Remember When You Were That Stoked?

  1. ‘For most of us, it seems that the longer we climb, the more that raw enthusiasm fades and we become more selective about what is required for a “good” climbing day.’

    Right there with you. It seems a lot easier to come up with excuses why today should be a “rest” day, or why I shouldn’t try hard. I got really bad about it after living on the road for a year. Psyche, at least for me, is the most important aspect of climbing. It can overcome just about anything other than wet sandstone. :-)

    Zachariah Wahrer April 4, 2016 at 3:38 pm
  2. I think we do get in that trap of wanting conditions to be perfect, as well as being too focused on results. When I’ve faced this challenge with mountain biking, I purposefully go out with kids/youth or adults who want to learn some more stuff. It makes for a more meaningful experience all around. I also took myself out of familiar territory last year — went bikepacking in Montana — and that sparked a renewed interest, overall, in mountain biking; I felt like I was exploring again and that it was ok to go slow and relax and eat lunch on the side of a dirt road…. Finally, it is perfectly ok to not climb for a while.

    Trina Ortega April 5, 2016 at 11:23 am
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