Man, I Love You Guys!


I’ve been thinking about community a lot recently, these groups of like minded people, sharing a common focus, passion or goal. What really stands out to me is the power of the groups. Like a large family, they have their problems, but the shared purpose draws them together and pushes them forward.

The climbing community is an interesting group. Increasingly large, it still feels small in many ways. How many times have you chatted up a stranger at the cliff, only to find you knew a bunch of the same people?

I’ve often wondered about the us versus them mentality so present at crowded cliffs. If it’s people we don’t know, their presence might offend us, a nuisance to be dealt with. But if we know everyone, suddenly it’s a big party of friends, all so lucky to partake in this incredible activity, this lifestyle, the pursuit of climbing. This past weekend was a busy one at the local winter cliff, and though it felt kind of crazy, it was also really cool to see so many friends, all getting after it in the warm March sunshine.

“It feels like we are in Rifle,” The room was full of familiar faces, many who visit Rifle Mountain Park each weekend, to test themselves on the cryptic, overhanging stone. We were there to mourn the loss of a friend, and in that sorrow, we found comfort and strength in our midst. Dave was gone, but we would hold his memory in our collective conscious, remembering the good with the bad.

Sometimes we need a reminder that a community will have those who are learning, and those who are wiser. Those who we should seek out for their wisdom and truths, and those who have much to learn, though their part of it be no less important. We were all reckless noobs at one point, and yet here we are, part of this large, thriving, complex organism.

I’ve always been thankful for our local climbing community. Largely devoid of the BS that seems to thrive in some other places (Arizona, cough, cough), it’s a collection of authentic and incredibly stoked people. New routes get put up all the time, with the realization there’s plenty of rock to go around for everyone. Ego’s seem less of an issue, it’s all about the climbing. We cherish our local choss crags, even if in Europe they wouldn’t even be suitable for the town dump.

As humans, we have an inherent need to belong, to be part of something bigger. It gives us purpose, motivation, and clarity amongst the chaos of daily life. I’m thankful for all the communities I’m a part of, especially the climbing one, with all its faults, imperfections, hopes, dreams and incredible people.

2 Responses to Man, I Love You Guys!

  1. I really enjoyed this article, especially the part about befriending people at the cliff and defusing the us vs them mentality. I’m not sure what the dig against Arizona was all about though. When was the last time you climbed in AZ? I’ve certainly never seen any animosity bs while out at the crags here. There seems to be some jimmy rustling going on in the internet forums but in the few cases this seems to stem from a very small number of people who happen to be extremely loud. Maybe I’ve just been spending too much time on obscure (splitter)choss and not the most popular sport crags or bouldering spots, but that’s the beauty of AZ, there is more than enough rock to go around.

    Kevin Kent March 19, 2015 at 9:01 am
    • Thanks Kevin! It’s actually been awhile since I’ve climbed down there, but it does seem like almost monthly there is some entertaining back and forth bickering that happens on MountainProject! Like anywhere, I’m sure most folks don’t get involved and just go have fun, glad that’s been your experience.

      BJ Sbarra March 19, 2015 at 5:37 pm
Locals Corner

Bulldog Creek Dog Walk (IV WI 4+)

Hayden Carpenter and Tom Bohanon recently repeated an obscure ice climb on the south side of Mt Sopris. Given a brief mention in Jack Robert’s ice guide, Bulldog Creek Walk is described as being 100 meters of WI 4. What they found was seven pitches of ice in a remote setting that makes for one […]

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