Being a tiny human on a wall, 10 feet, 100 feet, or 1000 feet above the ground, feels so solitary. My thoughts above moves and foot placements, my dreams and aspirations, my fears and anxieties, are mine alone. While climbing, my shouts of joy and pain (often rolled together in one exclamation) so often come from my singular experience. But I did not create any one of these experiences on my own.
Each skill I possess, from feeding appropriate amounts of slack while belaying to rappelling efficiently, from resting between redpoint burns to the belief that this lifestyle can be fulfilling and responsible in the long-term, has been possible because of other individuals in the community. In telling the story of how I started climbing, my own interest and excitement about the activity is the theme, but it’s not the star character. My peers and mentors, the acquaintances I’ve observed, my loved ones and family, have all helped create the opportunity for me to be where I am today. The community is the hero of every climbing story.
Each day, I’m overjoyed to exist out here in the woods, between gorgeous cliffs and building-free landscapes. To my friends near and far, to the authors and heroes who’ve inspired so many, to my mentor and peers, I want to say thank you!