Friday, January 28, 2011

The Game Continues...

Hiking out for another turn on "Mo."

Graham taking a turn on the long moves of "Addiction."

Teaching and parenting have kept us very busy lately, but we're still managing to get out climbing.

The weekend weather has been generally good enough, with fleeting moments of perfect conditions when the sun is out and the breeze is still.

We spent one pleasant session at the Boulder Band.

And a couple times I worked really quickly in order free up a couple spare hours. Instead of posting on this blog, I used the time to go out exploring. There is so much bouldering to explore, clean and climb in the Lander area. It nags at me like a job that needs to be done. One day I searched the flat area north of the granite buttress to get a better view of boulders seen from the switchbacks last summer.

These are a few of the best boulders I found. Each one could have at least one good problem. They are very spread out though. A similar climbing concentration as Red Feather, less rock, but almost all the rock is high quality.

This boulder might have been cleaned and climbed in the past. No chalk, but the features are very solid and clean at the bottom.

Another view of the boulder above.

The second exploration session, crossing treacherous snow covered talus on the hillsides south of Sinks, felt just as committing, and required as much focus at times, as a high boulder problem. But I finally found an extensive sector of boulders that Davin and Chris have recommended. I didn't get photos, but I'm very excited for Spring to come, the snow to melt, and the switchbacks to open.

We also competed in the 2011 Elemental Bouldering Competition. I only have pictures from the women's competition. Approximately eight women competed this year.

The men's competition was much more crowded, and Ashley decided not to push her way through everybody to get photos. It was a fun comp with BJ and Colby tying for first place. I did better than last year, scoring high enough to be put into the Open category with the 6th highest score. Many strong climbers from Casper and Cody made the trip to Lander, spending the day climbing at Sinks followed by the competition in the evening. I knew I was never in the running for first place, but I had lots of climbers to compete against at my ability level. This was great motivation, and I gave all I could to get the highest score possible. I was fully engaged during the competition, and have been enjoying further work on the comp problems during our after school gym sessions. It was also fun to meet more climbers, and catch up with everybody. Thanks go to Steve and the Elemental Staff for putting the event together each year.

And now for something that's mostly different.

Warning: The following paragraphs are mostly philosophical and contain no climbing or area beta. Skip to the next post if you don't like existential musings.

Lately, I've noticed a few blog posts and comment threads concerning the meaning of climbing, and I've been giving it some thought for the past few days. Here are some ideas that I keep coming back to.

Climbing doesn't serve much of a purpose. We could get many of the physical and recreational benefits more easily from other activities. And as far as meaning goes, it just has the meaning we give it. As much meaning as we're willing to commit to it. So it can have just as much meaning as any other activity I guess.

But climbing has some inherent meaning in that the act of going climbing often makes a statement. By climbing we say that our individual subjective concrete experience (which in climbing includes the experience of nature at higher than normal levels of intensity, personal challenge, and personal growth) is more important than the other more abstract,but more purposeful, things we could spend our time on. Climbing is very easily portrayed as selfish, but is also based upon the existential realization that our lives are finite, under our control, and it's up to us to spend them well. Our experience is our reality. The only reality we can be sure of. Much of the world is beyond our control and will never be what we wish it to be. But our days are ours and we have the freedom to choose where and how we spend them. We only have so many, and how we spend our days is the meaning and existence we create. The game continues...


Davin said...

Great to see you out exploring. Those boulders look fantastic! Looking forward to getting back up to Lander to try the new stuff. Hopefully some of it will be done soon?

Lloyd Family said...

Thanks, I'll see what I can do. Hopefully there will be some cleaned classics and projects to show you on your next visit.