I stared at the huge wall looming 3600 feet out of the glacier below. The snow crusted summit spire standing tall against the beautiful blue skies. Everywhere I looked there was another summit, another wall, another objective. The internet will do that.
I clicked through countless images of huge granite walls from all regions of the world. Internet based big wall climbing allows for world travel with just the click of a mouse and never lifting a foot. My mind fades away to the finer details of what the routes would be like on these different formations. I can picture the smell of the cold air and texture of the stone under my fingers.
I struggle with the realization that I will only climb a few of these in my life, and only if I try hard to maintain my physical fitness but most of all, only if I get my shit together, get a job and make some god damn money. The world today doesn’t allow for the broke dirtbag to travel around the globe climbing the largest walls and mountains on the aluminum can recycling budget of the Yosemite Golden Age. Instead you choose a job or a trip, swipe the credit card and watch the debt wrack up.
When I look through the folder on my desktop full of images of the most bad ass big wall objectives I can think of, I get excited. But, I also see the dark clouds roll over the summits, snow and sleet, wind and rain. I feel the sensation of being trapped, pinned down with no way to retreat and too tired for the body to compensate in the falling temperatures. Sometimes I see panic and fear, other times there is a calm, collected composure as I wait to see the outcome, but there is always the storm.
These are the clouds that follow me through life. I have been dealt a good hand in life, I know this and I make sure that I never forget it. What nobody sees are the dark clouds that loom in my mind on the daily basis. Life, society, culture, people, frustration, stress. I don’t fit into the big picture that most people share. I know that there are many other people like me out there, those of us who don’t quite fit. Those of us who can only out run the dark clouds when we’re alive and in the moment, but when we stop, the storm rages and the panic sets in.