Seven Climbing Commandments To Live By


If you’re going to have unprotected sex with a climber dude, you really need to get some digits before he vanishes in whatever mobile 4×4, light truck, pop-top, shitbox, dirtbag, shagin’ wagon he rode in on leaves – rather than smoking a hand-rolled cigarette and dreaming about the epic organic garden slash free-range chicken coop y’all discussed over the campfire the night prior.

Seriously bro, check your Facebook page!

A note left on the climber’s board at the City of Rocks, Idaho.

A recent note left on the climber’s board at the City of Rocks, Idaho.


Stoke trumps weather. In my opinion, the NOAA report should never change and always read:
Expect highs and lows with intermittent pain, blood, suffering, terror, laughter, triumph and ecstasy mixed with a small chance of death or bodily injury.


Know thyself.

When climbing, the difference between leading and following is massive. Leading routes puts you in grave danger. When following, you are protected. I think most new climbers dream of leading right up until the moment they’re gripped with terror, staring down at their first potential twenty-foot whipper. It’s in this moment that every climber learns who they are. Leader or follower?

Leaders make the conscious decision to push on, willing themselves to overcome the obstacle ahead in spite of the risk.  It’s by making this decision that they become a leader. Whether they succeed or not is secondary.

Leaders get scared like everyone else. Leaders fall like everyone else. Leaders bleed like everyone else. And ultimately, it’s their willingness to do so that makes them stronger than than everyone else.


Climbing is not a sport for posers. Ego is not rewarded. The hubris that gets you on the route will not get you through the route. The mountain does not judge you, but it will most certainly humble you.


If you’re a dude who’s new to climbing, as I am, you need to know your place. You are not a climber. You are a Sherpa, bartender and campfire bitch who’s working an apprenticeship. In exchange for making coffee, building fires, sharing your beer and carrying lots of heavy shit, all the wondrous knowledge of the climbing world shall be bestowed upon you. It’s hard work, but it’s well worth the effort. Conversely, while still labor intensive, the female apprenticeship can be a far simpler process. (See Lesson 7 for potential pitfalls.)


Choose your partners wisely. A good partner is trustworthy, loyal and dependable. This isn’t golf or tennis or any other bullshit country club sport. You are putting far more than faith into the hands of this individual. You are going to fall and when you do, you need to know that your partner will be there to catch you. That’s a good partner. A great partner not only catches you, but encourages and motivates you to reach new heights. As with life, who you tie yourself to determines how far you’ll go.

So I say again, choose your partner wisely.


Shit every morning. Shit everyday. Shit every chance you get, before you’re on belay!

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