climbing, yoga

Careless rump parking

Josh climbing


If your responsibilities, goals, guilts and general life are so complicated that you can easily lose sight of why you love to do certain things, maybe it’s time to shake things up. Or, at the very least, it’s time to get outside and climb.

Last weekend I threw a few weekly agenda items out the window and drove out to Taylor’s Falls for a few hours of afternoon climbing with my friends Julie and Josh. The picture here is from a trip our group took to Moab, last spring. I’m suddenly wistful about my decision to postpone my annual climbing trip to the fall, this year. Ah well. We’ll choose our destination carefully and have a fun time planning that trip.

I started climbing about 14 years ago, after deciding that my “I won’t try to rock climb until I can easily do pull-ups” rule was stupid. The local rock gym offered an intro class, and shortly after taking it, I had the good fortune to get introduced to the crew with whom I still climb weekly (for this introduction I am eternally grateful to Dana Arvig, who I haven’t seen in years).

Within that first year, they got me out to one of the local crags, Shovel Point. I think I only did two climbs, and it’s possible that they were variations on the same route. Still, I was so satisfied! Those two climbs were plenty of physical and mental challenge for one day, the scenery was astounding, and above all, I discovered that rock climbing is a very social and ironically relaxing thing to do.

I found it astonishing and brilliant that a climbing day consists of many hours for  jokes, catching up, planning other trips, and appreciating the scenery. Yes, there’s the climbing, of course, but it’s largely a social excursion. This, combined with the fresh air, the time away from all other demands, and the few minutes of pure focus that the climber experiences, makes for great relaxation therapy. I am often surprised to be reminded of this. I was, last weekend.

Also: rocks are just plain awesome. I went on a non-climbing trip to the Red River Gorge last summer, a great climbing destination, and didn’t climb, but did get to touch that weird, iron-ribboned rock. It tingled. More proof: a super cute photo and fascinating story about rain leaving a very enduring imprint on rocks.