Normally during these little activities I find it far too easy to simply call upon climbing as a facet of my identity. I often spend my free time scaling boulders. I find pleasure in bringing myself from the ground to the top by my own means. I think that's unique enough to distinguish me.
This time however I felt a little insincere describing myself as a rock climber. Yes, I still had the shoes, the crash pad, the gym membership, and the chalk bag. But do those things alone define me as a climber? Sure, I had all the accouterments, but I was lacking that one ever-so-important ingredient that makes a kid with equipment into a full fledged climber: psyche.
I hadn't been climbing in a month at that time in my life, and I wouldn't climb for another after that, save a few light bouldering sessions up at Flagstaff and a night or two in the gym. I was a certified bum. Something had to change.
A week ago I received a text from my freshman-year climbing partner, Alex Enright. Alex was back in town, and immediately I realized that this was the opportunity I needed to get back out there. If anyone could rekindle my interest in climbing, it was Alex.
|The majestic Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park|
I defend my stance of generous value-giving, and he holds strong to his criticisms. Sometimes we'll settle on some middle ground, a place probably closer to the truth than either of our viewpoints. And I like that.
We went to Chaos Canyon in Rocky Mountain National Park. On the hike up, I could feel my body exhaling my recent apprehensions about climbing with every breath of thin, high-altitude air. The vistas along the trail and the commentary from day-hikers about our crash pads reminded me where I was, what I was doing, and I felt home.
|Lake Haiyaha from Upper Chaos|
While I had been off indulging in whatever distractions the town of Boulder tossed my way, I had forgotten that old friend of mine; the wilderness. Many things in my life lately have been fleeting and impermanent, but the wilderness... the wilderness was always there. Unchanging, constantly waiting to greet me once more into its stands of tall pines and fields of jumbled rock.
It grounded me in a way I have never known.
I may have lost some strength, but my technique is still there, and I have gained something far more important from my absence anyway. Finally, I have my psyche back. It took forgetting- and the joys of rediscovery- but I'm finally back.
|Stoked to send The Kind - V5 at Emerald Lake|
|Storms rolling into Hallett Canyon, check out the water droplet on the lens!|