Climbing outside is not (only) about the grade, it is about the beauty and love of it...
Yes, absolutely! I climb 6b indoors, I can bust the occasional 6c with a couple of breaks, and 7a+ if someone else puts the quickdraws on and no one talks too loudly. Around the seasoned climbers camping in their vans parked under the big walls, I feel very, very green.
I started climbing maybe 3 years ago. So chuffed, I walked out of the shop at the side of my local indoor wall with my first harness and a pair of shoes. I climbed indoors on and off for a couple of years thinking “man, I really need to get better before I start going outdoors!”. I could not be more wrong.
Climbing outdoors is not (only) about the grade
I bought my first rope. Then a set of quickdraws. Now I needed to find someone to take me out (where was KooKoo back then?)! Then it happened. I was invited along to a project, the Man of Stoer in Scotland. Man, this was a big deal for me. I felt like a mix between Frodo and Alex Honnold (you must watch Free Solo if you don’t know him). The adventure starts with an 8-hour drive from Glasgow, then carrying gear to a camp spot nearby, then hanging around waiting for the optimal weather window. Sketchy down climb to the sea-level, swim 15 meters in cold sea to put up a cord and get gear across dry, then climb 200ft (sounds better than 60 meters) of a needle rising out of the sea. Wind howling overhead, seagulls screaming around, waves clashing under. The night before I was rustling in my sleeping bag mulling over my every move.
I can’t believe that it was only a year ago. Since then, I climbed many 200 meters, 400 meters, and one 800 meters wall. And I love everything about it more and more! It is true that climbing in higher grades opens more possibilities to choose from. But climbing outdoors is not about crushing a sustained boulder problem.
For me, it is about so much more. It is about being in the nature, in the mountains, around valleys and gorges, by the seaside and in the forests. It is about planning which route to take. Looking through climbing guidebooks and listing through topos. And also what gear you need to pack (read more about gear in future posts!). It is about waking before sunrise or about finishing a route with the sunset.
Trust me one thing: Nature is magnificent. To me, it hardly matters whether I go with my friends or family for a via ferrata, taking friends new to climbing for a IV+ to V+ beautiful multipitch along a ridge, or whether we choose a project somewhere. And again I get the prior sweats thinking of the 6c and 7a pitches in the middle of the wall. Whether we are destroying our fingertips on a sports crag or meditating up a mountain in the Pyrenees, there is always something in it for everyone. That is why climbing is just the best.
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