The True Reasons Why People Rock Climb by Sarah Marcus

Austrian Olympian Jakob Schubert bat hanging













Rock climbing is simply the best sport, but I’m not going to spend my time trying to convince you of that. If you try it a couple of times, you will learn this. However, you might ask yourself, “why do people climb?” I could answer this question by explaining to you the many reasons, but you can find those on the internet. Instead, I am going to tell you the real reasons people climb.

The first reason is because they are ignoring their everyday problems. There is simply no other reason to climb. No person willingly hangs 40 feet in the air, with only a harness and a thick piece of string, unless they are avoiding something. Rock climbing routes are puzzles to be solved, and you must practice solving them to be a good climber. To get up the wall, you have to put thought into every muscle in your body. Climbing not only requires you to solve the puzzle of the route, but it also requires you to execute it. This takes a lot of brain power, as well as time, and rock climbers put in this time (to climbing, not their responsibilities). If you know someone who climbs, every time you walk into the gym, they will be there. EVERY TIME. This is because instead of completing their work, or doing self care, or reading a book, or putting any effort into their responsibilities, they are hanging from a rock thinner than their stack of missing assignments. They may not have sent the email they were supposed to three months ago, but they have gotten an inch higher off the ground.

The second reason people climb is because they have ADHD. Instead of bouncing off the walls, we are now bouncing up them. While this isn’t a requirement to be a climber, there is a strong correlation between climbing and ADHD. I have it, and so do the surprisingly large amount of people I climb with.

The third reason why people rock climb is because they are creative. Just like the creative way we manage to “waste” our time, you would be shocked at all the ways we avoid our rock climbing problems as well. If we can’t hold onto a rock, then we find a way to skip it. Why not attempt to jump past it, even though we are not tall enough to do that? We might as well try every possible way to avoid the move we don’t like, or can’t do, then actually work through it. And under the very likely chance, that we are unable to find a way around a crucial move on a route, then it is simply time to blame the route setters.

The fantastic thing about an indoor rock gym is people intentionally make the routes. So, when we are unable to climb something, we blame others. THE CLIMBER IS NEVER TO BLAME. We don’t need to tell ourselves that we can’t do it; instead, we say that the route setters attempted to kill us by making it too hard.

The final reason people rock climb is because we love the validation and adrenaline rush we get when completing a route. After working on a route for days, weeks, and sometimes months, finally getting to the top is one of the best feelings. As we climb higher, adrenaline and fear build up, and when we finally reach the top, we can see the physical distance, measuring our success. You feel on top of the world, until you are lowered to the ground and remember your responsibilities.

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