Climbing to Higher Heights


I am a Rock Climber, always pushing myself to reach that next hold. Reaching farther even though I am exhausted.  It takes strength in my core, my arms, my legs, and even my fingertips. I fall from 20 feet in the air only to get back up and try again. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to push yourself higher than you thought you could. I am inspired by people who have the dedication to rock climb and who have climbed routes I can only dream of. This is because I know how hard they work. In media, rock climbers are portrayed as strong and independent people, I only wish we saw more of them in movies, magazines, and online.

I found a source on YouTube from National Geographic showing three rock climbers pushing the boundaries of climbing. They do this by climbing outdoors without ropes over deep water.

As you can see from the video, rock climbing is dangerous, but it is filled with so much adventure. That is how climbers see it as well. Every risk is a new adventure waiting to happen. I have seen that mindset in many climbers that I know and in myself as well. Its the feeling when you are 20 feet in the air, arms sore from holding on but the end of the route is in your sight. You see the what you have to do, let go of the rock that is holding you up and leap. You might fall but then again you might not, you might just reach the end of that route. That is why I rock climb and why so many other people climb as well, for that feeling of accomplishment when you take that leap and you achieve what you have been trying to get for days. I see this portrayed in the video above, they know the risk but it does not stop them. Thats how rock climbers are and how they are displayed in media, in rock climbing magazines you can read stories on the accomplishments and adventures that different rock climbers have finished.

On the negative side adventure and risk can also be seen as reckless. Some people look at the video above wondering how someone could possibly think that the risk is worth it. They don’t see it as adventure, they see it as dangerous. We take special care in being safe though. We have harnesses, ropes, helmets, and padding. Like I have said before, there will always be risk but we do take safety precautions to avoid those dangers as much as possible. I was impressed by the amount of media and articles I found online discussing safety in outdoor and indoor climbing. I have attached a link below to help further the knowledge of safety precautions and tips in rock climbing.

Many times having the confidence of padding below or being in a harness is the push you need to climb higher.

There are many types of Rock Climbing but the two main types are indoor and outdoor. The second video I found on YouTube shows indoor rock climbing and the different skill levels among all aged rock climbers.

Indoor rock climbing has set routes and fake rocks to climb on. Don’t get confused though, it isn’t any easier than outdoor rock climbing. In this video it is easy to see that there is technique to rock climbing, a specific thought process on how your are going to reach the next hold. The video also shows different routes. Routes are a set section of rocks marked with a color and you can only use those rock. Each route is graded from beginner (VB) though extremely difficult (V12+).  It can be frustrating at times that you can only use certain rocks but that is part of the fun.

In the third resource I found, it is a movie about two friends that take on climbing some of the hardest routes in America.

I think this movie showed the real spirit of rock climbing. It showed the dedication and hard work it takes to get to the point of being able to climb. There is nothing easy about it, but there is so much fun to it even though it takes such hard work. I have never seen people use their hands or have technique like they did in this movie. This movie would have sparked the interest in more than just rock climbers, it would have been a great movie to be made popular. It has the risk, adventure, and story line that many moviegoers would appreciate.

In my experience with rock climbing I have met the most skilled, dedicated, adventurous, and loving people who share the same love for rock climbing as I do. When I go to the gym to practice I meet a new friend every time. We work on routes together and teach each other new techniques. I don’t want to group all rock climbers together but every rock climber I have met shares this passion for the sport that is overwhelming. They all are caring and ready to share their knowledge. There are many videos on YouTube that show the basics of rock climbing. I think using YouTube is a great way to get information about rock climbing out to the public.

Recently I was in a Rock Climbing competition at Portland State, It was one of the best experiences. You could see the passion and dedication in everyone. It didn’t matter if someone had more points than you, you still cheered them on and hoped they would make it. I actually won the women’s beginner in the competition but something didn’t feel right. I felt as though it didn’t matter how well I did because I was just a beginner. The research I did for this blog changed that though. It made me realize that I am a Rock Climber, no matter what skill level I am at. I have the dedication to keep working at this sport. I have a desire for adventure. I want to take risks even though I know the dangers. I have technique and skill that many people don’t have. Most importantly I have passion for the sport. This is also how other rock climbers are, passionate and driven. In the media, rock climbers are independent, strong, and influential. I can only be thankful that the group I associate with is positively represented in the media. The only downside is that this information about rock climbers is not popular in the media, I wish there could be more available to the public. We could do this by having more ‘famous’ movies discussing rock climbing culture. I want the sports publicity to grow so others can see the enthusiasm and fire rock climbers have.  I have always admired this sport and have always searched long and hard to find videos and articles that explain my feelings towards rock climbing. When I found those videos and read those papers I knew that I wanted to be a rock climber. Now, here I am, just like the people I wanted to be so bad.


8 thoughts on “Climbing to Higher Heights

  1. Your essay was such an delight to read! I work at the Rec Center and I always admired the people who were so committed to the climbing center, but now I feel like I can understand their passion a little bit more! Your sources were awesome and the artifacts gave a great deal of information and life to this area of interest. As I work at the Rec I admit that I do not know much about climbing culture but some of the assumptions I made were a bit off now that I have learned more about it! There seems to be a very strong sense of community for climbers and I am glad that you identify so strongly with that.

    • I agree with you completely about this essay. This was such a great essay. It gets you in the very beginning when she says, “I am a Rock Climber, always pushing myself to reach that next hold. Reaching farther even though I am exhausted.” BEAUTIFUL. You can almost feel it while reading it. I dont work at the Rec Center, but I do admire rock climbers as well. It looks enjoyable and so accomplishing to reach the top.

      • loljeeska,
        I agree with what you said about the beginning statement. It really sucked me in and wanted to read the paper more. The conclusion of the essay was exceptional too.

  2. Emerald,

    This was a really interesting read for me. Personally, I am terrified of heights. When I get up high I lose all sense of logic and my fight or flight instincts kick in. Even when I look up at tall buildings I get vertigo! So this was fun read because of the perspective it provided. I have often asked myself, “Why would someone want to climb? Seems crazy!” But your article gave me some great into the pysche of a climber and what it is exactly that fuels you to keep climbing! The sense of accomplishment and the adventure! Maybe one day if I can get over my fear of heights I can climb something but for now I will just climb flights of stairs.

  3. Emerald,

    This was a very interesting essay to read. I love at the end of your essay that you said how after you wrote your paper, you did not feel as bad about being a beginner. All that matters is is that you enjoy it, and work hard at it every single day. If you put in the time and effort every day, one day you will be amazing at it, competing with the big leagues. It is so cool that you have the courage to rock climb, it is such a rigorous sport, congratulations.

  4. This was an awesome essay to read! I could feel your passion about the subject and it made me think that I really should try rock climbing. The first video of the rock climbers that climb above water without ropes was really interesting. The confidence and dedication they must have to trust their body and have a strong enough mind to push boundaries is really cool to see. I have a lot of respect and admiration for individuals who can go past fear to accomplish amazing things and it seems like that is what those rock climbers are doing. From what you have presented, I can assume that rock climbing isn’t just a sport, but its a lifestyle that people take on. Also, I realized as I was reading I assumed most rock climbers were men, so its nice to see there are women doing routes just as difficult, side by side with men.

  5. Thanks for writing this, I can tell you are very passionate about rock climbing! It is interesting to see how dangerous it can be, but like you said, it is all part of the fun. That Wide Boyz documentary look interesting, and I think i will watch it sometime if i can track a copy down.

  6. Hello,Emerald P
    As i was reading your essay, which is great by the way, had many details about rock climbing and also its good idea to post youtube videos, which helps the reader understand more about rock climbing, also how far and passionate people are about rock Climbing. Its and Adventure. I like how you mention the safety that is included on Rock Climbing, when you mention that there are ropes and helmets that are involved besides climbing bare hands, people don’t appreciate the trill and adventure behind rock climbing, also you put detail information about rock climbing, and its good to know that your a Rock Climber. Good Essay. Enjoyed it

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