Saturday, February 04, 2017

My Climbing Roots


These days, it would be an understatement to say that I like climbing.

No, I don't like climbing; I absolutely love it. Most of my free time is consumed by climbing and my thoughts throughout the day often return to projects in the gym I've yet to send.

It's a funny development because years ago, my friends tried numerous times to get me into the sport and each time I left unimpressed.

I remember my first time was during college at the University of California, San Diego at a small indoor rock wall hidden in a corner of the campus. This was back in 2007-2009 (I can't be exactly sure). I went up, I went down, my hands were sore, I was bored. I didn't go back.

Flash forward to my return to the Bay Are from Phoenix, AZ in 2013. My friends guest-passed me in to the local climbing gym, Planet Granite, in Sunnyvale. Once again, I went up, I went down, my hands were sore, I didn't go back.

At that point, it seemed I was done with climbing. I'd given it a shot and it didn't stick.

Then came 2015.

In 2015, my coworkers at Genentech invited me on a trip to Bishop, CA for some rock climbing. It wasn't the climbing that attracted me, it was the combination of getting to know my friends better and camping that sold me on the idea.

For those of you who don't know, Bishop is considered a mecca for bouldering. There are other types of climbs there as well, but Bishop is typically referenced as an incredible place to go for bouldering. For one reason, the catalog of problems available there is amazing. For another, the size of area is large enough to accommodate many, many groups.

So there I was at the Happys, waiting on a rock as my friends got ready (putting on shoes, putting on tape), when I noticed an attitude shift. Not from them, but from myself. Something was different. The moment I touched the rock, I knew something was different. There was now a curiosity in me that didn't exist before. Curiosity in the holds and curiosity in the techniques required to send a problem. From that day forward, I was smitten by the sport, and the speed at which I embraced the sport was embarrassing.

The week after I returned from Bishop, within a day or two, I immediately signed on with a climbing gym, bought a harness, chalk bag, and shoes. Before I knew it, my routine became 2 hours at the gym, bouldering 3-4 times a week.

Since then, I've never looked back.

I started climbing in 2015, and I was 27.
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