Why I Climb

Originally posted 2011-08-19


When I look around myself, I see possibilities.

picture of bean tree shade area with floodlight in background
picture of bean tree shade area with floodlight in background

I like to climb.

picture from top of bean area clearly demonstrating height
picture from top of bean area clearly demonstrating height

People tell me I’m childish or immature, or that I might hurt myself. That’s fine, I really don’t care.

I don’t care about being called childish. I don’t care about being called immature. If being mature means that I shouldn’t explore, then (please excuse the expletive) fuck maturity. I don’t care much about getting hurt, as long as it’s not lethal and doesn’t result in permanent injury. In short, I really don’t care.

I don’t rock climb, although that is more due to a lack of opportunity. I prefer to climb buildings, trees, objects which you really probably shouldn’t be climbing.

picture of floodlight from base
picture of floodlight from base

Of course, the views are amazing. That alone is a good reason to climb. The pictures here cannot capture the wonder of standing on the highest point within miles, and slowly turning a full circle. But that’s not why I climb.

picture of jeju/next ladder from top of floodlight
picture of jeju/next ladder from top of floodlight

There’s a deeper reason, a reason that reveals how fragile my self-identity can be.

picture looking up at next ladder
picture looking up at next ladder

I climb not because I like to climb. I climb because I am continually trying to convince myself that I am the kind of person who climbs - that is, spontaneous, curious, and adventurous.

picture of jeju from rooftop
picture of jeju from rooftop

The kind of person who climbs is also a creative solver of real-world problems.

I say “real-world problem” in contrast to classroom problems, which are designed with answers in mind, designed to be solved, designed to be part of a purposeful system. The problems in the real world have no such guarantees attached.

Many of the things I climb were designed for a multitude of purposes, of which climbing is most certainly not one. But I climb them anyway. Figuring out how is an exercise in creative problem solving.

When I look around myself, I see possibilities.

That is why I climb.