The Question

I didn’t really plan for another amazing weekend, but it just kinda happened. Darn.

Friday night: Potluck with familiar friends.
Saturday morning: last chance rock climbing with a super strong new partner (who lives across the street). Unfortunately the temperature refused to climb above freezing and the sun didn’t come out, so our hands were numb after one route. Many thanks for getting out Steve!

I was happy to meet and climb with Steve, but not so happy about the temps...

Saturday evening: Show and Tell Birthday. Some parties you bring presents, but this one, you bring yourself, ready to share your best.

Reasons show and tell is awesome- nose flute. Some assistance required.

Saturday night proper: Mad Men party. Dress shirts got washed. The tux jacket came out. The dress shoes were unearthed. By my own admission, I looked damn good.
Sunday morning: ice climbing at Finley Creek with a familiar friend and a new friend. Many thanks Hannah and Jamie!

Axes are for swinging!

Jamie cruises through his first ice pitch in two years.

Sunday night: Mexican food and movies.

This is how ice climbing days are supposed to end.

Really, this is what my life looks like?

On a more serious note, I got my first taste this season of a question. It’s the same question I’m always out to answer, the same question that the mountain never stops asking. In climbing, but particularly in ice climbing where the hazards are particularly real, there is a single important question- do you have it? The question came to me not because I am a great ice climber, or because I was on a hard route, but simply due to circumstance. The ice was thin, the screws were striking air, I am still getting my “lead head” on for the season, and the route got a little steep. Suddenly, there it was, while I was hanging off my tools- do you have it Skander?

Out looking for an answer...

Facing, and answering this question, is one of the most rewarding parts of climbing, and the more serious the question, the more rewarding the answer. It is not uncommon to hear people who climb regularly, and push themselves climbing, describe the experience as “clarifying.” We climb because we learn more about ourselves in doing it. Even when the answer is “no,” and we back off and go home, we learn about ourselves. We learn to respect our failures, and learn from them- and when the answer is yes, we learn about our strengths, and the fallacies that our minds would like us to believe but that our hearts simply will not accept. The moment of doubt was brief, but it was a taste of that singular important question and reminds me I am excited for this season. “The mind is primary,” it is the most important muscle to train- Sunday was a good day to get just a little, incrementally, stronger.

My room, after another stellar weekend in Missoula.

2 thoughts on “The Question

  1. dustin

    it’s great to be able keep track of you virtually and i’m !envious! of the fun you’re having (though not the cold hands). and to be the pedant everybody loves, i’m fairly certain you were handsome by you’re own *admission* for without you (omission) there’d only be a bunch of fools in penguin suits.

  2. Pingback: Like We Stole It | stickthefeeling

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