The Climbing Lifestyle

Trigg Skoe

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By Bella Baas 

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I started climbing at a tiny crag outside of Montrose, CO called Dry Creek. Though the walls were 35 feet of crumbly sandstone, and the anchors were all questionable, this place made me fall in love with the sport.

When I got to high school, I was eager to try out for the climbing team because I wanted to improve my climbing skills and knowledge. To my delight I learned that not only is the sport amazing, but so is the community.

I continued competing with the team for four years at Montrose High School and later joined the CSU climbing team. For most of my freshman year at CSU, I committed my time to climbing. I was at Ascent Climbing Gym at least 4 or more times a week and when I wasn’t there I was at the REC climbing wall.

My hard work paid off and I qualified for Nationals which was held in Houston. I remember being so nervous at the competition, and I was running out of time, so I didn’t get a chance to do the high point value climb that I had been eying all day. Because of this, I ended up just shy of the point value needed to qualify for finals. I was extremely disappointed and frustrated with myself and felt that the trip was a waste of time.

As time went on, I started feeling more and more unsettled about competitive climbing lifestyle. I wasn’t having fun, and I was continuously disappointed in myself if I wasn’t the best. Over this past year I have thought about this a lot and taken the time to remember why I fell in love with this sport; for the sunny days at the crag eating chips and salsa while I belay my friend up a 5-fun route.

Since realizing this, I have made a conscious decision to climb mainly outside and start doing easier, multi pitch routes. I started climbing more trad routes and have learned that I feel much more accomplished after leading a 5.9 crack in Indian Creek than a 5.12 route in the gym. I still admire the strong competitive climbing community, and am grateful for my experience on a team, but I am relieved to have taken a new perspective on this sport. At the end of the day, it is much more rewarding to me to have an enjoyable day than to be the best. I can’t wait to see what adventure this sport will take me on next!