Identity crisis as a climber


I must say that I envy people who can easily identify themselves as boulderer, sport climber, trad climber, alpinist or a mountaineer. I have always had this identity crisis and a difficult time identifying myself as one of players in these specialized disciplines.

I mean I have had those bizarre moments when I focused maniacally on weighted hangs off those 6mm edges on the Transgression board, and then a few cycles later looking back wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

At other times, I have tried to focus beyond 15 moves and hone my endurance game to clip bolts. Yet at other times I balked at the same and proselytize the purity of plugging cams and sharpening the mind game to eschew bolts.

Did I mention those incessant sessions filled with bat-hangs and my woe-fully un-coordinated jumps on those colorful problems in my local gym?

I have always tried to level my game in most disciplines, but so far - despite my best intentions - couldn't play enough with those curved spiky metal things. I always lamented the fact that I haven't meaningfully learnt to lead ice and mixed terrain .. until last month.

After 8 years of identifying myself as an enthusiast of various forms of climbing, and accidentally thinking that I was actually good at some of these disciplines, it was refreshing to get back into a beginner mindset and actually learn a few new things, and unlearn a lot of old things.

I graduated from infancy to being a toddler now. A week in Canmore just taught me how to toddle, or may be just crawl a bit better. Now I know that I know a few things, and don't know a lot of things. I believe that's a good thing.

I learnt the basics at the road side crags such as Junkyards and Step right up, and then got to follow up some classics such as ice routes on Moonlight & Louise falls, and a good intro to mini mixed-alpine setting in Coire Dubh Integrale. The experience allowed to learn enough that I could gracefully lead a few pitches at King Creek crag. Some photos from the trip below.

I climbed with Jay, who owns and manages his own guiding company - The Canadian Rockies Alpine Guide

King Creek - 8.jpg
King Creek first flow
King Creek - 9.jpg
King creek third flow
King Creek - 10.jpg
King creek third flow - was wet higher up and warming temperatures made it easy to get good picks, but poor placements
20210302_090235.jpg
Right pillar variation on Louise falls - Steep right off the bat
LouiseFalls - 6.jpg
Louise falls - Despite the early start we were second in line and had to take the harder right pillar variation (WI5) - Was super pumped following that one!
LouiseFalls - 5.jpg
3rd Pitch of Louise Falls
CDI - 13.jpg
A mini-traverse on Coire Dubh Integrale
20210304_070549.jpg
First ice pitch on Coire Dubh Integrale
20210304_072709.jpg
Calf-burner slog on Coire Dubh Integrale
CDI - 12.jpg
One of the many slogs on Coire Dubh Integrale
Moonlight - 1.jpg
The first long pitch on Moonlight falls
Moonlight - 3.jpg
Topping out on Moonlight falls