Variety is the spice of life
by We didn't write this
Recently, while slacking at work, I logged on to the facebook. My feminist Dook friends were posting about how men can prevent rape. My fratty friends were posting about a 1.5 hour completion of a beer marathon, a contest to see who can drink 26.2 beers the fastest.
Aside from this fascinating material, one subgroup of my friends, boulderers from Chattanooga, or as I like to call them “eastern Tennessee foambacks,” were all posting something similar. For them, the theme of the day was “hot in Chattanooga.” All the boulderers were posting things like “OMG…. 75 degrees in Chat. I can’t believe climbing season is over so early.”
I thought to myself, 75 degrees and it’s too hot to climb? What bad berries are these foambacks eating?
As our sport grows, I see people limiting themselves to a ridiculous degree. Sport climbers only sport climb. The boulderers only boulder. Gym climbers stay in the gym. The traddies only plug widgets.
Honestly, this makes no fucking sense. For many reasons.
1. The weather. Weather and fun of each climbing discipline correlate like this:
So yeah, when its 80 degrees out, gym climbing is more fun than bouldering. But being 10 pitches up on a windy, shady wall wearing a long sleeve? You bet your ass that’s more fun than gym climbing! Clearly, if you want to maximize fun, you have to step out of your discipline.
2. Doing all the disciplines will help your performance. Trad climbing has helped my sport climbing. Bouldering has helped my sport climbing. Bouldering has helped my trad climbing. Gym climbing has helped all.
If you only boulder, and you are finding yourself pumped at the end of a problem, go sport climbing for a bit! You will crush your project. If you only trad climb and find yourself intimidated by steep, hard cracks, go sport climbing! It will help with your power endurance, and the ability to do hard pitches. If you can’t do a move on your project, set that shit up in the gym.
Just think what a day of plugging gear will do for your ability to hang draws on a hard sport onsight….
3. There is not that much rock in the world. If you are limiting yourself to one discipline, you are eliminating a large part of this already small set. Some boulderers I know orgasm over the lines of “perfect overhanging crimps” in Bishop. Sure, those are pretty good. But honestly, the best moves on overhanging crimps I have done have been at the Gold Coast in the Red. If you like overhanging crimps but haven’t climbed there just because you need a rope and a few carabiners to do it then you are really missing out.
I realize there are limitations to this. Not everyone can afford a rope, or a new crashpad. But, let me just leave it at this:
Next time your local weather hits 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity, instead of slogging to the gym muttering about a South Africa plain ticket under your breath, do something different. Get a bottle of booze, some swim trunks and go hit up your local quarry for some deep water soloing. Life is too short to only climb rocks half the year! Don’t be a “sport climber” or a boulderer or a “gym climber” or a “trad climber.” Be a rock climber instead.