pho­to by Sara Lingafelter

That’s why I climb:  views that take my breath away.  Morn­ings spent watch­ing the sun come up over unfa­mil­iar peaks, the clouds nes­tled below us, after a night of peace­ful sleep, with only the thin walls of a tent and the puffy down of my sleep­ing bag to pro­tect me from the harsh real­i­ty of my environment.
I climb for the good times.  The per­fec­tion of a morn­ing that is the sum of the last day’s exer­tion and the last night’s rest.  The exhil­a­ra­tion of work­ing a project to com­ple­tion.  The calm of a qui­et walk to a crag, or the fun of a con­ver­sa­tion-filled walk through boul­ders with friends.  The tired, ener­gized hum of a body pushed to exhaus­tion by phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­tion and moments of per­fect, effort­less flow upwards… against the forces of grav­i­ty and fatigue.

photo by Sara Lingafelter
This sum­mer, I am also climb­ing to ben­e­fit Big City Moun­taineers, a Boul­der Col­orado orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides out­door expe­ri­ences for under-resourced kids.  I am not tra­di­tion­al­ly a sum­mi­teer … his­tor­i­cal­ly, I’ve been con­tent to spend my time climb­ing rocks, and I have not yet met a big moun­tain I felt com­pelled to get to the top of.  This sum­mer, I’m going to have my first date with Mount Rainier, to raise funds for Big City Mountaineers.

Most of all, though, I climb because I can’t imag­ine my life — right now — any oth­er way.  I start­ed climb­ing a lit­tle over five years ago, at a point in my life that looked pret­ty darn per­fect on paper, but dur­ing which I actu­al­ly knew myself very lit­tle.  Since then, I’ve learned about fear, suc­cess, injury, frus­tra­tion, love and friend­ship, and quite a lot about my own strength and capa­bil­i­ty.  Climb­ing has taught me to trust myself and my instincts not just in the moun­tains and on the rock, but in life.  I would not be the woman I am today, were it not for climb­ing.  I mar­vel, every day, at the depth of love and pas­sion that climb­ing has brought into all areas of my life.

pho­to by Shawn Campbell

You can con­nect with Sara and learn more of her sto­ry at, on Face­book, and on Twit­ter. If you would like to sup­port her fundrais­ing efforts for Big City Moun­taineers, here’s how you can help.