For the Love of Climbing

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I am biologically a grown-up now, at least, according to my birth certificate …

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I am biologically a grown-up now, at least, according to my birth certificate and the fact that I can remember to go outside with a sensible pair of shoes. I’m a busier person these days, maintaining a full-time job, a full-time relationship, and launching new projects on the side. I even finally caved and started using Google calendar (I had always been adamant about using a small, handwritten calendar to organize my schedule, but lately, haven’t even been able to keep up with that.)

I lived in New York City in my twenties, and I still consider those the best five years of my life (and probably always will). I was certainly less busy then, and I thrived on climbing. Just travel and climbing—it was everything: the air that I breathed. It was hard to relate to things or people outside of it. Now, hurtling full-speed into my thirties, I am embracing all of the changes that are happening, both around me and within me. It feels nice.

While being busy is just one aspect of adulthood, I think one of the most important aspects is remaining open to the fact that there will always be lessons to learn, ways to grow and evolve; we are never finished. Something that I have learned in my seven(ish) years of climbing: climbing should be a supplement to the rest of my life, complimentary, in a way. I see social media platforms pushing climbing and climbing related media in our faces 24/7 in a way that often makes me uncomfortable.

I know that sounds like a double standard from someone who uses social media to reach a wider audience. But, truthfully, my enjoyment for climbing will never be as good as it could be if I’m not taking the time to enjoy the rest of my life, too. Climbing is not enjoyable if you don’t love the rest of your life—no matter what Mountain Project, gear companies, and your friends’ Instagram stories tell you.

It’s an ongoing challenge for me, to take steps back from social media in small increments so that I can focus on the things I really wish to take part in, the people I truly love, and the relationships I wish to nurture. I try not to use social media as a cure for boredom or a place to spray. Cameras can only capture so much, anyway. They can’t capture belly laughs or that feeling in your gut you receive when you finally reach the point where the summit meets the sky. Incredible things happen, undocumented and unfiltered, everywhere in the world at any given moment. What the evening dusk tells me as it falls around me in ethereal beauty is: How we live our life is far more important than how we say we live our life.

Some other things happened between back then and now: I stopped questioning the absurdities of life, cried on a big wall in Africa, was depressed, took a ground fall, broke a bone, moved back to New York City, fell in love, ate a lot of $1.25 tacos, aid soloed my first big wall, drove across the country thirteen times, made a lot of cookie towers, saw my best friend get married, got a full-time job, understood who I was, and found a little slice of happiness, here and there.

I now live in Salt Lake City and continue to travel around the country to climb. I work for a film festival to promote a shared vision of gender equality in the outdoor industry and beyond. I write stories to inspire and promote empathy. I produce a new podcast about choosing vulnerability. I don’t wander the road and live an exotic van life, nor do I really want to/need that to feel happy or fulfilled.

I don’t climb for a living, but I certainly live to climb. When I started writing this blog, now four years ago, I was sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, trying to come up with a clever name. It suddenly hit me: “For the love of climbing”. “For the love of”, meaning for pleasure and not for profit. It seemed fitting. But it was never just about the climbing—it was always about the lifestyle that came with it and the challenges I’d learn to overcome. It was about finding out what the difference between impossible and possible was, and where I lay on that spectrum.

In 2016, I made a wrote, directed, and helped produce a film with the help of Sean Feiertag, Justin Cerone, Sean McDowell, Jonathan Sedor, Brian Gallio and The Afternoon Edition. I think that this video speaks for itself. It’s a little reminder that the world is your playground, and to do what you love with love, which is the message that this blog has always and will always share. Ultimately, all I have ever wanted to do with my life was something meaningful that impacted people in a powerful way. I’m proud of my work. Thank you all for reading my words and being a part of this blog, my writing journey, and now, podcast. I am looking forward to the next chapter ahead and thank each and every one of you tremendously for the support over the last few years. I’m excited to see what comes next (:

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