This post is written by my dear friend, Brandon Aegerter, who relays how climbing grew from a personal challenge into a lifestyle. Look for more climbing posts from him in the future as well, so please give him a warm welcome with a comment below!
Go beyond boundaries today: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!
I must say that I am grateful for all the things that I have been given throughout my life, especially the ability to appreciate, love, and desire things. Things, to me, come in the form of physical activity. As a result of this ability and open-mindedness, I am able to give freely to others so they too can enjoy what I do. Climbing is that outlet for me.
Is it the lure of its majestic nature? Perhaps. Is it, as it says, to ascend slowly with continued effort? Absolutely. Or perhaps it is much more than that. Maybe it serves a purpose far greater than the individual, maybe this purpose is life. This is my story and the definitions are my interpretation.
When I started climbing, I was a barista at a local coffee shop. Initially, climbing was not an interest to me as I had an incredible fear of heights. However, when the offer came along though, I absolutely jumped at the opportunity. I was instantly hooked! It resonated so well with me that I couldn’t go enough. In fact, I sold a truck that I had at the time and spent the money on my own shoes, quick draws, and a rope. Fortunately for me, I found people willing to “take me under their wing”, so-to-speak, and spend time to showing me the ropes. To alleviate my initial and terrible fear of heights, I began rappelling and soon I began doing it on my own. I didn’t realize at the time how valuable this would be. Soon I saw rapid progress and gained an incredible desire to remain active in climbing.
Moving forward several years, climbing has taken on an entirely new meaning for me. Climbing was initially a great way to reduce an incredible fear, but then became all about the physical aspects. I was recognizing a wonderful change in my body, simply from a physical standpoint, and loved the changes so much that the initial draw of the sport was to maintain this new shape I was attaining. It remained this way for a few years. I always had a feeling that this was something completely different but I wasn’t quite sure exactly what it was for me. Shortly thereafter I was realizing that this sport was far more than physical. There was a unique feeling every time I was in the mountains that I was coming to realize was becoming a very powerful and spiritual part of my life. Now this sport that was intimidating and daunting, at first, was my life and served a very specific purpose: engaging the whole body! Mind, body, and soul.
I was working very hard to achieve the next grade and was really focused in all aspects of my life. I attribute my well-rounded nature to my experiences, but climbing is the icing on the cake. I began having fun with it, was achieving my goals and progressing at a comfortable rate, but it still wasn’t quite enough and I ended up taking a little break. I came back with a clear mind and a clean heart and realized that I was no longer fixated on the grade of a climb or how hard I could climb. No, I realized that the most beautiful part of this sport to me was ‘movement’, and that realization has helped maintain the love of this sport ever since.
In the climbing world, a partner is everything and as I was noticing, consistent partners were very hard to come by…so be it…life happens. My love and desires took a different turn. Free climbing is the best fit for me and speaks to me in a way that nothing ever has. Soloing climbs is something that most won’t undertake, but I live for it. The idea of being so free is amazing beyond words. Being able to leave everything (and I mean, EVERYTHING) behind, completely shutting everything out and being able to focus on each movement, as if it is going to be the best movement I make that day, is indescribable and absolutely epic! Every move is precise and none more important than another. This feeling and rationale is what keeps me humble and hungry and it absolutely transfers into my daily life. The sense of accomplishment after I’ve finished a climb of 50, 80, 100, or 300 feet is the happiest feeling in the world for me. Developing a passion like this is incredible and sharing that with the world is absolutely stunning.
Climbing has taken me to many places and I’ve met the most amazing people as a result, which solidifies movement as the core beauty for me. Beyond movement, climbing makes me whole-heartedly happy and I’ve come to realize that: The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the BEST of everything!
Explore Wisely – Solo climbing is a personal choice. Many adventure sports are dangerous, but luckily each of us is free to choose what works for our lives. The content of The Active Explorer, and any resources published by The Active Explorer, are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Every person and every situation is different. Some activities covered in this blog require training and experience to be safe. Reading a blog post will not give you the skills you need. Your safety, satisfaction and fun are your responsibility alone and not that of The Active Explorer, its publisher, editor and/or writers.