BJ Sbarra of SplitterChoss.com shares his history and love affair with climbing in today’s guest post.
It all started innocently enough, with a 13 year old boy halfway up an obscure, 60′ wall of gneiss in upstate New York. Fast forward a couple years, and that same boy, now 15, could be seen 500′ up a giant slab of rock in the Chapel Pond region. It was on that climb that the boy realized this was something he loved, and so it began.
From there the passion grew, slowly but surely, on the metamorphic crags lining the banks of the Potomac River. During the college years, it matured on the vertical quartzite of New York’s Shawangunk’s. And then came Colorado, and the West, and the endless possibilities they presented.
And that leaves me somewhere in my early thirties, with almost half my life spent in pursuit of the vertical world. Why? Maybe because it’s physically challenging. I seem to have little natural talent, except when it comes to splitter cracks, so climbing well, for me, means working hard to attain my goals. Maybe it’s the mental satisfaction of quieting my mind and making the moves my body knows how to do, despite the poor pro far below. Or maybe it’s the continual learning process of refining my technique, and finally figuring out what it means to truly “use your feet.”
For me, it’s all these things, and so much more. Some would say they can’t put their finger on why they climb, but for me the list is almost too long. The incredible places we get to go: Red Rocks in the winter, Indian Creek in the spring, the alpine high country in the summer, the Black Canyon in the fall. The sights and scenes of some of the most spectacular country you can find: sunsets in the desert, alpenglow on a high peak, the rolling hills of New York stretching to the horizon.
It’s the friends we make along the way, the close bond of partnership. Going through an experience with someone and getting to know them better for it. The instant bond we have as a tribe of climbers, the stories of shared experiences and the hopes and dreams of future ascents. Sharing a rope with my best friend, who also happens to be my wife, high above the ground with many pitches below us, and many more to go.
It’s all these things and more, but most of all, it’s just fun. Climbing is a life long passion, and I hope to continue pursuing it for a long time to come.
You can read more from BJ at SplitterChoss.com.
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