Just a Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally about his thoughts on life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Climbing Roots


It would be an understatement to say that I like climbing. I don't like climbing; I absolutely love it.

These days, most of my free time is consumed by climbing and my thoughts throughout the day often dwell on the projects in the gym I've yet to send.

It's a funny development because years ago, my friends tried numerous times, unsuccessfully, to get me into the sport. I remember my first time climbing was at the University of California, San Diego. It was at a small indoor rock wall hidden in a corner on campus. This was back in 2007-2009 (I can't be exactly sure). I went up, I went down, my hands were sore, and I was uninspired.

Flash forward to 2014. I had returned to the Bay Area after a two year stint in Phoenix Arizona. My friends wanted me to climb so they guest-passed me in to a local climbing gym, Planet Granite, in Sunnyvale.

Once again: I went up, I went down, my hands were sore, and I didn't really think much of the experience.

At that point, it seemed like I was done with climbing. I'd given it a shot and it just 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 more the combination of getting to know my coworkers 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 themselves 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.

The week I returned from Bishop, I immediately signed with a climbing gym, bought a harness, chalk bag, and shoes. And 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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