What makes a great climbing day?

mike b and piz in sweden 2007
The boys standing under Monster Tower/Washer Woman in Canyonlands National Park (mike b logan, adam, jonas, brian, piz 2010)
piz 2011! Jesse Zacher photo

Time is tight for this puppy and having to fit everything in is pretty tough. So I ask myself, what makes a great climbing day? I don’t think that it is an easy answer to nail down. It is often hard to make sure that you have enough time for family, friends and fun. And a great climbing day will provide memories of a lifetime. After some thought, I realized that a great day climbing can manifest itself in a variety of ways.

  1. For some folks and even me, a day where you send the project is the best day on the planet. All the work and time and effort come together for you to rise from the head games, weather and fitness issues to complete a route. Chances are that you are with one of your climbing partners that you trust and always have a good time with and you are where you want to be. Those are great days.
  2. Finding a new route can also meet the criteria for making a great climbing day. When you are alone scoping cliff lines, rappelling walls or rubbernecking from the car and finally see the line that you have been seeking, that is a great day. If your lucky, you hike out to it, look at the line, the holds, the potential cruxes and even the rock quality and begin to imagine what it will be like to link moves, clip bolts, or plug in gear, that is a great day. If you have time, you may then rap or aid or try to climb the line depending on the circumstances and you really figure out what it will take to ascend it, that is a really great day climbing.
  3. Another version of a great day climbing is the first time that you actually get to try the route. The new movement, the new sequences, the new pump the freshness of holds all makes the experience wonderful. That is a great day.
  4. For me there is one more kind of great day of climbing. It is when you get out and climb! Whether you fall, hang, or succeed or fail on the route, a great day includes just being outside with your partner(s) climbing single or multi pitch routes, boulders or even on chipped outdoor playgrounds it’s all good.

My last great day of climbing was a number 4. I did not send, I did not find a new route, and it wasn’t the first time on the route either, but I was with a good friend, on a cloudy, cold and windy day. We were hanging on the wall trying hard not to freeze. I slipped and cut my hand in a sharp jam, there was a lot of moisture in the air and I fell on a slopey mantel move and I missed the deadpoint at the end of the route, but dang it was fun!

Cheers to having more great days climbing!

piz : )

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