11 months ago when I quit climbing due to relentless injuries, I was terrified that I might lose the absolutely incredible friendships I’d made in the climbing community.
I’ve never met a group of people as open and welcoming as climbers are. I’ve known some of my teammates and coaches and gym staff members and regulars and top competitors for 6 years, and the bond formed through our shared passion is always instantaneous. Everyone is in it for their own reasons but we’re all there for one thing- a place to push the limits. The limits of heights and gravity and friendship and the McDonald’s $2 menu and most of all the limits of FUN.
At training each day hundreds of hilarious incidents and memories were made- 10 hours worth a week. Miss one practice and you’ve missed 10 bellyfulls of thrilling camaraderie. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday practices and weekend travels were what got me through the week, not only knowing I’d get to climb but knowing I’d get to be climbing with some of the best people I know.
See above my team’s Christmas gingerbread boat rendition of the Dodo’s Delight, inspired by Reel Rock 11…I know that if I ever want to feel like I belong, I need only head down to the wall.
I’m writing this post to tell you that there are some bonds that will last through time and space. And friendships with your climbing crew are one of them!
I’ve seen my climbing friends outside of practice several times throughout the past semester when I’m volunteering at comps or we’re free to hang out. It’s been nowhere near 10 hours a week though, and I’m sad to miss out on so many memories being made. However, they still invite me to every gathering outside of team. They still ask about my injuries and shoot me a text asking if I’m free that afternoon. Every time I see them and hear about the adventures they’re planning, they ask me to come along, even just to be there if I still can’t climb. I know I’d do the same for them.
I’ve had the fortune of catching up with a lot of my old teammates this winter holiday. Hanging out with them, it’s like fitting perfectly back into the puzzle. And I know that when the time comes again when I can climb, I can call them up and plan adventures like nothing ever happened.
So if you’re in a similar situation where you’re moving on for the moment and worried about losing touch with your old buddies, trust me that these bonds are built on fun and freedom and they shall last! No, it won’t be the same as weekly boulder sessions and weekends on the proj, but all of that lives on and will be there for you in the future.
Climb on! 💪