1. It’s therapeutic
Climbing puts you in a zen like state. I come into the gym, or hit the trail and everything falls away. The stress of work, of relationship, of money (always money, right?), slowly makes their way out of my consciousness and into the greater energy of the universe where it gets demoted to nonexistence. My stress disappears and all that matters is movement and the present.
2. It’s an awesome workout
I deeply and passionately loathe working out. I sometimes feel dragged to the gym by my fiancé like a kicking, screaming five-year-old. “But I don’t wanna!” I tell him and he shakes his head. It’s not fun. And I won’t believe you if you tell me otherwise! But climbing is fun and it’s challenging and if you climb long enough and hard enough you’ll feel those beautiful beads of sweat forming on your forehead and get the release of endorphins like you do after 500 air squats in the gym.
3. The community is unmatched
As human beings we desperately long for a sense of community. Look to religious groups, crossfit, and book clubs for your proof. We want to feel part of something and realize that no, we’re not alone on this strange planet just hanging in the balance of the galaxies. Climbing not only gives you a sense of community, but gives you friendships for life. (Case in point: My fiancé and I met at our university’s climbing gym.)
4. You get to be outside for days, weeks, or months
5. You consistently get to face your fears
This probably sounds like a point that should be on the list of reasons to not climb rocks. However, the majority of us spend our days running away from our fears at supersonic speed. Facing your fears builds confidence, and then eradicates your fears—I am living proof of this. I used to be terrified of heights. Now my list of multi-pitch routes I want to climb grows on a monthly basis.
6. It lets you fail. A lot.
I hate failing, and throughout my life I’ve consistently fought the drive to be perfect. I don’t want people to know I’m weak or incapable. When I first started climbing I only made it so far because I couldn’t put on a front. Climbing leaves you bare and vulnerable. It doesn’t leave room for white lies or perfection. What it does give you though is the drive to push through your weakness and your imperfection and your failings. It gives you the opportunity to rise up. It gives you character.
7. It lets you encourage others
I love this about climbing. When I tell people I climb, I let them in on a big part of my story. I get to tell them about all the stuff I’ve overcome. I get to share my passion. This fire inside me encourages others to face their fears and to try those things they always wished they tried.
8. It can humble you
There’s a lot of ego in climbing. Head into the gym and you’ll see a wide variety of humans doing a wide variety of things. You’ll see guys using sheer muscle to make their way up a problem. You’ll hear grunting and some really strange self-talk. The climbing sphere, like any other, has some people who have a hard time reigning in their ego. However, if you give in to perspective and let it, climbing can humble you in a way nothing else can. One day you can be confidently dominating a V4 and the next you can be shut down on a V1. You can climb an 11d in the gym and then head to Moab and try out a 5.9 crack that completely destroys you. And that’s okay.
9. You’ll feel like a badass
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been regarded as a “badass.” (Disclaimer: I’m definitely not a badass. I read old fiction novels and drink tea and enjoy binge-watching “Friends.”) However, in this current day and age it seems like anything that involves getting off the couch and interacting with the natural world is considered “badass.” I’ll take it because it drives people to get off their behinds and do something rad. Which, I must add, this world definitely needs more of.
10. Because why not?
This may be the most valid point I have to offer. What will you lose from climbing? Two hours of your life—if you absolutely hate it. But the gains are astounding and life-changing. Stay tuned to hear more about how climbing has changed my life.
It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. -Sir Edmund Hillary