Students always ask me for my favorite type of climbing.
These days that is a tricky question. Years ago the answer would have been snow and ice covered mountains. More recently, long traditional routes in the mountains. Sometimes it was desert splitters or desert choss piles. When waxing philosophical my answer would often be whatever type of climbing I was doing at the moment.
Snapshots in my mind are often replicas of the ones in my photo albums. Daren rapping off of Lost Temple Spire. Sydney and Anna atop of Eagle Dance. Emily and I in a tent at the Lower Saddle. Josh and Dave on a small, dark bivy ledge in Valle Piritas. Josie and I on the summit of Torrey Principal. Ellen and I on the bus in Zion after Spaceshot. Matt on top of Fine Jade or the Sunflower Tower. Emily atop the Happy Turk. Scotty, Matt, and I on top of El Matador. Dane approaching the Lake Louise Gully. Matt, Robin and I on top of Lankin Dome. Anna and I rapping Thin Slice. Sydney and I at the top of the Rainbow Buttress or Epinephrine. The list goes on and on. Endless pictures in my mind, in my photo albums. So many different types of climbing, all of them awesome. Towers, mountains, sport routes, boulders, desert splitters, road trips. They are all my favorite.
Looking back on those memories doesn’t necessarily help me identify my favorite type of climbing. Looking forward to what I want to do sheds a little more light on the subject however. I want to sport climb in Sinks. I want to do first ascents in Wayne County. I want to go to Baffin Island and Patagonia. I want to climb at the Creek. But mostly, I want to have fun. I want to go out and have great days with my good friends. I want encouragement, support and laughter. I want to send, french-free, onsight, whip, hangdawg, summit, bail and do it all with my friends, having fun and giving it some corn.
Road trips to Potrero, to the City, to the Creek, expeditions to Patagonia or Baffin Island, afternoon sessions in Sinks or jaunts into the Winds. For me the place or type of climbing has begun to matter a lot less. My favorite type of climbing is any type done with good friends. The rope and the climb merely a means of tightening the knot of friendship.