Insanity – Why Do We Climb?

Calling it an Obsession is an Understatement

It’s crazy, isn’t it? I mean how much you love to climb? Has it completely taken over your life? Has it made you think about everything differently than you did before climbing?

If climbing has not made you completely insane than just wait, it will. The funny part is it doesn’t really make any sense. What’s the point, a common question any non-climber will ask you. Try to explain to a co-worker on a Monday morning why you drove until 2 am on Sunday night just to get a few more burns on your project. Insane? Why not ask the first guy to climb The Dawn Wall. No not Caldwell and Jorgenson, I’m talking about Warren Harding in 1970. He answers the question 90 secs in.

So are we all really insane? I think it depends on who is asking. According to Insane is defined as: “not sane; not of sound mind; mentally deranged.” To another climber, it makes sense to go out on a day where is it well below freezing to get some extra friction, but it might not make sense to your mother. Try explaining to an old high school friend that you quit your job, bought a van, and travel around and climb every day. 

We have all gotten that look, that look of confusion and concern. Why would they do this all just to climb some stupid rocks? They could get up there if they just walked around the other side. Why can’t you just climb in a gym?

I guess some people are just wired differently. The typical idea of a good weekend is probably goes something like this: Get super drunk on Friday to forget about the week, be hungover Saturday until getting a super greasy breakfast, get drunk again Saturday night, be hungover Sunday and dreading the week. Then it’s rinse, wash, and repeat.

This doesn’t cut it for some of us (well probably everyone reading this). We feel like we need something more, some form of adventure.

Do more than just exist

Pushing the Limits

Climbing is a weird thing where you can always push your limits, both physically and mentally. Now we all cannot be Adam Ondra and continually climb the hardest things in the world, what we can do is climb harder than we have ever climbed before.

Now I want to go on a quick tangent to talk about what “harder” means. Harder in climbing is simply climbing something that challenged you more than anything has before, regardless of the grade. Trust me you will know when you climbed something harder than ever before, in an essence that why we climb. That feeling of literally conquering a mountain.

Climbing can also be a mental thing. Fear is something that holds a lot of climbers back. They are afraid to do something even though, physically, they could. Say you can easily climb V2 but you get super nervous at anything above 15 ft or you never trust the gear placement on this sketchy trad route and you psyche yourself out. This is an extremely difficult block to push through. There is a simple formula for someone who isn’t strong enough to do a move, get stronger, but for someone who is scared of something it is not so simple.

The mind is a climber’s most valuable possession.

The Summit Rush – Our Addiction

You know that feeling you get when you send a climb. The Adrenaline, the Euphoria, the Stoke. Whether the climb was your project for years or it was an epic onsight you know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s all about getting those good juices flowing and keep your Stoke at an absolute max.

In the same way a surfer chases an epic wave, we search for an epic climb. We try to climbing something we don’t know is possible. It creates a barrier that we can break through. It gives up a reason to become obsessed.

This feeling keeps us coming back for more. It’s an addiction that let us push ourselves to the absolute limit in order to send a climb. The feeling can be so overwhelming that it brings us coming back for more. Constantly chasing the summit again and again.

As climbers, we all want to stand on top of a climb, look down with our hands above our head, and let out a primal scream or maybe just take in the view.

This is why we push so hard, this is why we train so hard, this is why we climb.



Owner and Operator of Every Last Rock. He is dedicated to spreading the Stoke about all things climbing. Often found Bouldering around the US and obsessively training.

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