I love climbing. I can’t explain what it is about climbing that speaks to my soul. Or, maybe I could, but I’m sure my Ode to Climbing would be far to long for a blog post. From the first time I set fingertip to quartzite, I knew I loved scaling rock faces with only a rope and a belay between me and a 100 ft. drop.
Climbing is so much about trust. Trusting your equipment. Trusting your belay. Trusting yourself. I love pitting myself against myself, or against nature. It is so revealing to face the sheer terror of reaching for the next bolt to clip into another five feet of safety. The relief of knowing you escaped a harrowing fall yet again surges while you prepare for the next jaunt above the bolt. It is truly an invigorating exercise in self-discipline.
It is very telling to see how your belay behaves when you are insecure. Everyone has their own style, and the level of trust varies. There are friends I absolutely trust with my life, and there are those that I know I have to trust myself more. I love the complex, yet very simple interactions with another person, with the rock, and with myself.
I have heard several climbing metaphors for life, including the one given by Elder Richard G. Scott at the October 2006 General Conference. I have even given my own version over the pulpit, but climbing is more than a metaphor. It is a defining experience. I learn more about myself every time I go—usually that I haven’t yet learned how to escape from gravity. Maybe I need to deepen my yoga practice.