Climbing. It can be described a lot of ways and can be a many things to many people. Is climbing a spiritual experience for you? Do you get to the summit of a mountain and look out at the beauty of nature around you thinking that someone or something greater created it? Or do you think in evolutionary terms and geological uplift and tectonic plate activity? What about during the climb? Do you feel the adrenaline and the resulting peace is a gift from some higher power, or do you think in terms of biochemistry and neurotransmitter receptors in the brain? Are you on the crux thinking that dopamine is being splashed on your ventral tegmentum, or are you thinking, “Wow, what a deep spiritual experience this is!”?
The entire last paragraph was to demonstrate that we don’t actually “think” about climbing all that much while we’re doing it. What we are thinking, if that blissful rush of pure movement across the rock hasn’t hit us yet, is that we need to shift our feet, or that we have a cramp in our left calf muscle, or that the crimp to the right actually looks more solid than the jug, so we might as well use the more bomber hold…or how pumped we are. Climbing can be intensely spiritual on the level of why we do it, but while we’re doing it, if we’re doing it right, we’re probably not thinking at all – we’re just letting our bodies move and our minds be intensely focused on the task at hand.
Now, why we climb is a different question entirely. That’s up to you, my readers, to figure out on your own, individually and for yourselves. I could list a thousand reasons, and none of them may touch on the reason why you climb. Every climber has their own reasons why they do it. That need not be shared if you do not care to, either. It’s a deeply personal question and the answers are equally as personal. What matters is that you do it – you climb! So climb on!