Cedar’s Right

It’s been a little while, so let’s start this off strong. If you’re like me, and have a hard time remember which crazy strong boulderer is named Daniel Woods and which one is named Dave Graham, this instructional video should be helpful.

Want more? Check out this video of Woods on the problems that won him first place. Despite his stellar performance lately, Woods says in the latest issue of Rock and Ice that he’s getting psyched on rope climbing and is a bit bored of bouldering. Not one for half-measures, he’s set his sights on the recent 14d/15a Siegrist route La Reve (video) and Sharma’s 15b Jumbo Love.

I was recently linked, somewhat randomly, to an old video of Cedar Wright’s. Listening to him talk about his love of travel got me thinking a little bit. For whatever reason, I’ve never been all that interested in traveling for its own sake. Call me a homebody. But I love traveling for climbing. I like that climbing has become an avenue for me to explore new places — it’s both a reason to go someplace new and a comfortingly familiar activity while I’m there.

I wonder if sometimes we miss the point, though. If all your travels focus entirely on climbing, then how much adventure are you really having? Sure, you’re doing something risky and on the edge, but in a way it’s a familiar risk–one you’ve carefully honed an ability to cope with. Same shit, different place. I definitely believe it’s important to seek out change and new experiences, and one of the great benefits of travel is that you’re forced to do precisely that.

I remember when climbing was still a very new thing for me watching The Sharp End and wondering why in the fuck Cedar would spend a day jumping around on those towers in the Czech Republic with a bunch of drunk not-Russians. Having been at it a while, though, I can definitely understand his desire to immerse himself in the local culture. There’s a routine to travel, especially if there’s a local community of climbers for you to connect with, and getting too set in that routine can insulate you from some of the things that make your surroundings so unique and wonderful.

Having done very little traveling for climbing so far, I still feel like I’m experiencing something very novel every time I arrive at a new crag. I think it’s important to keep in mind why we do all this stuff though–for the adventure!

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