Since man first started climbing mountains and rocks with the objective of getting to the top, the question has loomed, "Why do you climb?" I too have been asked that question countless times. My answer has always been the same. The difference between me and George Mallory, when asked why he attempted to climb Mt. Everest said, "Because it's there" is that I don't have a snappy one-liner to answer with.
I've climbed alot of things that are "there". And so have alot of other people. For me climbing has become a definition of who I am. I'm not a world famous climber and I certainly can't climb as hard as my good friend Dean Lords. But ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I'm a climber. Not just on weekends, but always. It's the core of who I am and it defines my life.
I returned Sunday from the Cody Ice Festival and had a few days of great times and got to do some great ice climbing. Ultimately, the trip reaffirmed for me the reason that I climb. There is a comradery that develops between climbing partners that is inexplicable. The collective drive to accomplish something great and the battle of men versus nature creates a condition that can't be explained, it can only be experienced.
Walking off of "Stringer" (WI 3+, 160 meters) on Saturday, I walked away from possibly the best lead climb I've ever pulled off on the ice. What made it so special was sharing it with my friends. Together we hiked endless miles in waist deep snow and scaled beautiful curtains of blue-green ice. The experience was the payoff. The journey was the reward. I climb because climbing offers an experience that can't be faked, can't be mimicked, can't be replaced.
Sharing the experience with friends is priceless! And this weekend was no exception.