the compromises we make

15 04 2008

the ultimate stick brushin a little less than eleven hours, i am going to wake up at 4:00 a.m. i will then proceed to gather my bouldering bag, my chalkpot, the best bouldering stick-brush ever made (see left), and my two crashpads to meet patrick in my parking lot. over the next four to five hours we will drive down i-65 to chattanooga and deposit ourselves at our local boulderfield, little rock city. having gotten there at approximately 9:00 a.m., we will then have around eight hours to pull down, before getting back in the car and driving another four to five hours back to lexington, so that patrick can get up early for work on monday morning.

sometimes people ask me what it’s like to be a climber in kentucky.

i usually restrain the urge to ask them what it’s like to a climber with no talent- but the question remains. and further still, what is it that compels us chosen few (we rock wranglers who have answered the call to fame, fortune and immense driving distances) to continue to pursue our quest of rock climbing adventure at the expense of a traditional lifestyle? what has turned me from a mild mannered mahout to a shifty-eyed sheik that eyes passing dark clouds with so much disdain and contempt? how did i come to this place, and more importantly, why do i stay?

i don’t think it’s the money. or the girls. and i don’t think as a heterosexual individual i can say that it is the guys. but they’re usually pretty cool, in a heterosexual way. like as friends, and shit.

i’m not gay.

it could be as simple as allowing me the chance to complete a problem in front of a bunch of people i don’t know so that i can exclaim in a loud voice:

“now that’s what i call rockclimbing!”

or introducing myself to more strangers in such a manner as:

“hi, i’m dave stumblefoot mc mudbutted bedwetting manpants- but you can call me the hamburglar.”

but i think it is more than this.

it is so i am afforded the opportunity to fail, miserably on my project another day. it is so i can drive these four or five hours and then burn myself out for the entire day on a particular warmup that i have titled the most evil problem in the world. it is so i can step in dog shit with my climbing shoe, so later i have to soak it in bleach and clean it with a cue tip so that i can put it on my foot again. it is so, when i finally do complete a problem, i can stand atop it and feel like i accomplished something worth while- that i put forth the effort, withstood the failure and hardships, and sent (despite all logic saying a 5’7″, 170 lb man shouldn’t be able to). as miniscule as this may seem, it is essential to my being. i would be a shadow of a man were i not given the chance to routinely almost break my leg when it gets wedged in a chasm i deemed in no need of padding. i would be a dried up husk, or a rotten banana- all dark on the outside and really smelly and gooey on the inside.

point being: it is the adventure that is important to us. and i say us, because i just know that the entire climbing population of the world has to agree with me on this point. it is not that a particular quadrant of rock holds some deeper meaning to our lives, but that we are afforded the opportunity to explore our inner drive by attempting something way over our heads. it is the accomplishment; the victory- but more importantly the journey and the process. it is not some extracurricular activity belonging to some counterculture, or some lifestyle choice. it is my freedom. my freedom to try- and usually fail. but my freedom to try.

it is worth the four to five hour drive. it is worth the three hours of sleep i’m likely to get. it is worth the drained bank account, and the overwork later. the failed relationships (with girls, because i’m not gay. but i guess it could apply to guys too. hmmm.) and hard times. because one of these days i’m going to do my V10 and the whole world will know my name, and i will be complete as a climber. content to retire and spend the rest of my life resting on my laurels.

as always, you can call me the hamburglar.

-the architect




4 responses

15 04 2008

that is the raddest stick-brush thing ever. you are a dork.

15 04 2008

i know you’re jealous. i mean, i would be too. that brush is more famous than i am.

15 04 2008

i can’t wait to go climbing with that stick-brush!

also, why don’t you ever where your mask out anymore?

15 04 2008

yeah, dude. get back in the mask. you’re making children cry.

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