The question that continues to spring into my head, day after day, year after year, is simply, “Why do I climb?” The truth is, I have no idea why. It’s just a magnetic pull, a burning desire, an urge that I feel compelled to satisfy whether or not my body feels capable. Then I sit back, examine the larger picture, and it all becomes clear. Of course I know why I climb: because I can, and I am able, and someday I may not be. And then I think, “You better take advantage now, you lucky bastard.”
A good climbing trip is a complex recipe. The ingredients seem zesty enough, but putting them together for something that is truly out of this world can be tricky. Consider the thought, the planning, and the actual execution. Where do we go? Yosemite Valley. What do we climb? El Capitan! Once the idea for a climb is conceived, whether or not I get to the top is really of no consequence. I climb to bow down to something larger than myself, and to know that whatever happens, the experience I gain is going to be real. Not necessarily comfortable, but always real.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that climbing a big wall is easy. Sure, people do it all the time, but let’s face it, the effort, the logistics, and the courage to pull it off is phenomenal. And after all the thinking and planning I did to get ready for El Capitan, the execution fell short. My ego may be bruised but the desire burns deeper for another shot, one more experience, and, well, that just may be why I climb.