David Wet­more con­tributes to our “Why I…” blog series, and talks about his intro­duc­tion to climb­ing. It involves ply­wood and duct tape. That’s our kind of story.

Why do I climb? This ques­tion is extreme­ly com­pli­cat­ed and cov­ers a vast array of unan­swered vari­ables I have yet to under­stand. Over the past 14 years of my climb­ing career, I have climbed around the world in places like Spain, Aus­tralia, and Italy, com­pet­ed in nation­al events all across the coun­try, and  have only just begun to dive into the labyrinth of pos­si­bil­i­ty that climb­ing has to offer.

It all began at the Boston Rock Gym, in Woburn, MA, at the age of 1o. After my first vis­it, I was hooked like an addict is on drugs. Seri­ous­ly. As soon as I got home, I con­struct­ed a make shift pair of climb­ing shoes by cut­ting the spikes out of old soc­cer cleats and duck-tap­ing the front toe box for “added friction”—which makes absolute­ly no sense at all in ret­ro­spect due to the fact that duck-tape pro­vides the oppo­site of fric­tion. In either case, I sim­ply refused to wait and save mon­ey for a real pair of climb­ing shoes.

My obses­sive compulsivity—a major role in why I climb today at the lev­el I do today—also led me to build my own indoor rock climb­ing gym inside my family’s barn at the age of 13. I saved up some dough, bought a ton of ply­wood and two-by-fours, cut the upper floor straight out of the barn, and built over 20 dif­fer­ent­ly angled walls with over 1,000 grid­ded t‑nuts and 200 plas­tic climb­ing holds ordered online. This marked the begin­ning of my insan­i­ty. I trained almost every day from here on out (I lit­er­al­ly haven’t tak­en over one month off since this con­struc­tion and each time I have it has been the result of a climb­ing relat­ed surgery). It didn’t mat­ter if I was sick, alone, cold, hot, tired, or sore—each day was a train­ing day.

I’ll nev­er know what clicked, but some­thing sure­ly did. The feel­ing of weight­less­ness while mov­ing ver­ti­cal­ly is incom­pa­ra­ble to any oth­er. And it is the sat­is­fac­tion I derive from com­plete and utter com­mit­ment to one sin­gle aspect of my life—climbing—that is tru­ly unpar­al­leled. To me, the great­est achieve­ments come with the great­est degree of sac­ri­fice and ded­i­ca­tion. Climb­ing has giv­en me this infi­nite cycle of chal­lenge, fail­ure, and sub­se­quent suc­cess. I don’t know what I would do with­out it. (Read: Drink and eat excessively)

On a less roman­tic and exis­ten­tial lev­el, it’s quite sim­pler than all that garbage. Climb­ing is super fun. You meet amaz­ing peo­ple. See ridicu­lous places. And some­times risk it all for moments that last a lifetime.

It also keeps me fit for the ladies, which is equally—if not more so—important.

I am 24-years-old now; a spon­sored climber, head coach and set­ter at Metro­Rock in Everett, MA, free­lance jour­nal­ist, and was just added on to an already boom­ing enter­prise of climb­ing media entre­pre­neurs at LouderThan11. For much more enter­tain­ment, check out our vision, past adven­tures, and future exploits at davewetmore.louderthan11.com.