Returning to the climb


Friday, 19-Mar-2021

It’s strange, thinking about how long it’s been since my hands touched rock.

How many months have passed since I even climbed on plastic holds, since I’ve actually been rock climbing.

This sparks the question that came up while Sarah and I were still together – am I still a climber, if I don’t actually climb?

I don’t really have an answer for that, though it’s definitely an interesting philosophical question… can you define yourself based on your interest in an activity, even if you don’t participate? And if you do… should there be some sort of differentiation? Similar to the difference between someone who likes Football, and someone who plays regularly?


This blog isn’t really intended to dive into that kind of philosophy. Instead, it dives into me being able to ignore the question for the time being, because I’m climbing again!!!

Planet Granite, the main gym I’ve generally gone to in Portland, opened its doors for punch-card holders again earlier this week!!! I can’t quite rationalize a membership anymore, since I live 30+ minutes away, but I do have a few punches left in my punchcard… and since I had Friday off…

It was amazing, going back into the gym. Strange, and a little evocative of… something… but still. Sort of like coming back home after a long vacation, or something.

The routes were pretty much the same as I remembered, though I could absolutely tell that it’d been ages since I’d climbed… and that I’d had that back injury to boot. I climbed lightly, focusing on form and volume of routes – not pushing myself just yet, and instead feeling out my muscles and the holds. Letting my body slowly remember how to move, and how to fire off those muscles that I hadn’t used in so long.

It felt good – just like all the other times I’ve come back from a long hiatus, either due to travel or injuries, I still felt at home on the routes. I felt like I knew what I was doing, and that my body understood how to flow through the poses and the struggle against gravity.

It felt like I was a rock climber, even though I hadn’t climbed in so long…

Maybe that’s the answer to the question I posed at the beginning. Maybe being a rock climber isn’t so much how often you climb… but how comfortable you feel while on the route?

It’s not a perfect answer. But it’ll do, for now.

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