10 Tue, 2011 § 5 Comments
I’m a boulderer;
or rather, I boulder.
[on Tranced Out & Dreaming in Ibex, Utah by David Finch]
Give me a rock with a few, fun, strenuous, limit moves, I’m content to fall off it for hours.
Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense.
Because I don’t like falling.
Actually, I don’t mind falling; it’s hitting the ground I dread, even from a short distance. Considering the bad ankle sprain I earned after one of my first gym bouldering sessions, this is a reasonable fear.
Even before a boulder starts to approach true “high ball” status, I might burst into tears in my desperation to top out. In these moments, I’d give anything not to hit the ground; I’d much rather be taking my fall tied into the end of a rope 60 feet up.
So why boulder?
Bouldering strips rock climbing to an even bearer, rawer state. Little equipment is required. If I was truly a purist, I’d be climbing naked, chalkless & shoeless. Once I step up to the rock, “the mechanism clears”: it’s just me…the rock…my body…moving with the stone…yielding to its permanence…pushing the bounds of my own limits. There is no physical reward at the “top” — no significant or measurable height achieved; no bird’s-eye view — only the victory of inner growth, the submission of the ego (beaten down by falling over & over again) & a connection with what is truly greater than all else.
Bouldering isn’t the only rock climbing I do; but when I need to touch rock now, the most natural tug leads me out the door with a simple pair of shoes, a pad (or two or three) & a little chalk.
Where do you find presence?