Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Mode of Passion

Material nature consists of the three modes—goodness, passion and ignorance. When the living entity comes in contact with nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes.
The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kuntī, and because of this one is bound to material fruitive activities
...
O chief of the Bhāratas, when there is an increase in the mode of passion, the symptoms of great attachment, uncontrollable desire, hankering, and intense endeavor develop
...

These quotes from the Bhagavad Gita essentially sum up the lives of all serious rock climbers.  They call it "the sickness."  Some get it only for a few weeks, others, their entire lives. The search for the perfect line is one of the most powerful and enduring themes of the climbing world, and it struck me like a lightning bolt over the past few months.

But lets start from the beginning...

I was a bored kid from Northern Virginia who wanted to get the hell out of the city and do some crazy shit...for lack of better words.  During the spring of my junior year in high school, I suddenly and inexplicabley became fascinated by the idea of rock climbing, particularly bouldering.  I drooled over dozens of internet videos of Chris Sharma and Daniel Woods sending ridiculous boulder problems and sport routes, things that I never imagined possible.  My birthday quickly arrived and, not knowing what else to get myself, I bought a pair of cheap Evolv Defy rock shoes from a local shop.  Little did I know that I had sealed my fate.

I went to the climbing gym once, and that's all it took.  I had massive oozing blisters on all of my fingers, my back and shoulders were destroyed, and I couldn't stand to grip anything for almost a week afterwards.  I was hooked.  That summer, I ordered my Organic Bouldering crash pad and it all just went downhill from there.  A year of gym climbing and basic top rope anchor classes fueled the fire that was my rapidly developing climbing career.  It wasn't until the next summer that I began to seriously try my hand at outdoor routes and problems.  But it only took a few outings for me to get tired of the slick and heavily trafficked routes of Great Falls National Park, and at that point, I had long decided that NOVA was not the place for me.  It was time to move to the great state of Wyoming, or as they call it in most parts, Wisconsin.

Great Falls classic, Romeo's Ladder-5.6



It didn't take long for me to make my way into the local scene in Laramie, home to the University of Wyoming where I currently study anthropology.  I pretty much started climbing as soon as I arrived; my first week there was spent in Vedauwoo on a trip with the UW Outdoor Program.  Vedauwoo introduced me to (fat) crack climbing, as well as the expensive and terrifying pastime that is traditional rock climbing.
Hairlip-5.9

                                                         Super classic, super sandbagged Flying Buttress-5.10b

Pretty soon, I joined the Source Gym in downtown Laramie and befriended local bouldering guru, Davin Bagdonas, who truly introduced me to the ideas of finding new rock and putting up new routes.  Four days after meeting him, I found myself in a pristine untouched alpine boulder field in the Wind River Range with some of Wyoming's finest climbers, establishing completely new boulder problems.  That day, I made the three first "first ascents" of my life, which were soon followed by several others in the many crags that the Cowboy State has to offer.

Bennett Peak

Needle Peak

And now its 2012, I've made several incredible friends,  my trad rack is of monstrous proportions, I'm climbing harder than I could have ever imagined a year ago, and there are great things still to come in the future.  A future brought forth by a transcending and undying passion for climbing.

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