Life Lessons Learned From Rock Climbing

December 27, 2023 3 min read

Life Lessons Learned From Rock Climbing

Have you ever stopped to think about why we climb? 

Pick your Point A and Point B, then find a way to connect the dots. Sound familiar? After all, we do the same exact thing when driving to the store.

But maybe it's these parallelisms to our lives that make us gravitate towards this silly sport. Regardless of grades or numbers, the intrinsic exploration each of us goes through on the climbing wall is what prepares us for the daily obstacles we face. 

Keep scrolling to read a few life lessons learned from rock climbing shared by our Dynamite Starfish community.

Strength looks different in everyone

OK, reality check. The majority of climbers CANNOT hang 6mm edges with 100lbs or crank one-arm pull-ups while drinking a send beer. 

The superhuman feats that have flooded social media in recent years are impressive, but they also create a façade as to what strength in climbing should look like.

You know that friend who never shows frustration when they don't send? That's strength. How about your partner who can brush off a big fall like it's no biggie? That's strength. Oh, and that friend who holds a PhD in beta-reading? Yup, that's strength too!

(Photo courtesy of @katiesharkbait)

Progress isn't linear

Meet Climber A. They signed up for a gym membership right after their first visit. Within a month they were sending V3s and projecting V6s by the end of the year. Cool!

But when you bump into them two years later, they share their frustration because they're "still struggling on V6s" — true story!

Whether it's money, GPA, or climbing grades, it's tempting to fixate on attaching numbers to personal progress. Numbers can be an excellent indicator of growth, but they often distract us from stepping back and seeing the bigger picture.

What our climber friend from above probably doesn't take into account are their improvements in skills and techniques which are extremely important. Just because you feel stagnant or aren't where you "think you should be" doesn't mean you aren't making progress. 

Take it from Tina Brown (aka @tinytinaaaa):

"There are days when I attempt a problem three times, and each time I get further. However, when I project something, there will be days I get a move or two more than last time. There will be days I don’t even reach where I was last, then BOOM 💥 sends it one day. Progress isn’t linear, it can be ups and downs, just like progress in life. ❤️"

Without ever taking my hand off the rope I can eat a sandwich

Disclaimer: We promote Crag Snacks, but please don't eat and belay at the same time!

What we mean here is that humans are capable of handling many things at once.  On the wall, we are constantly juggling a multitude of split-second decisions like remembering complex sequences, choosing gear placements, communicating with partners, and confronting mental barriers. 

The next time you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed in your daily grind, remind yourself that you are a rock warrior. You totally got this!  

If a piece of gear doesn't fit, keep moving

Back in 2017, I moved into a shared apartment in Madrid with an excellent downtown location at an even better price. However, what started as excitement quickly turned into a nightmare... 

Not only did the landlord fail to mention the massive bedbug infestation, but one of the renters loved blasting electronic music and smoking pot at all hours of the night. Oh, and did I mention the windowless bedroom?!

Instead of ditching that place ASAP, I held on for 6 months because I thought it was a good deal. Now if only I had remembered these two life lessons learned from rock climbing:

"Don’t get hurt or pump out because you were too stubborn." @agreetodisagrigri

"Sometimes you need to try a different approach!" @caitkad

As scary as it seems to leave what's familiar, leaping into the unknown or trying something new will often save you a whole lot of stress!

(Photo courtesy of @theclimbingjuju and @monkeesclimb)

Try something you might suck at

One unique aspect of rock climbing is how it continuously pushes us outside our comfort zone. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's frustrating, and sometimes it's downright...TERRIFYING! 

Some problems require simple solutions, whereas others force us to implement skills we 'think' we aren't any good at. Maybe you'll fall flat on your face, but you might also uncover a hidden talent.

And when all else fails, a little resiliency goes a long way!

"The send might be the most fun part, but it’s the progress and failure leading up to it that’s most fulfilling." @mrbluedatri

(Photo courtesy of @artistthateats)

How about you? Do any of these lessons learned from rock climbing resonate with your life? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you!

Psst…Our tees are a great conversation starter!

With so many styles, we know you’ll be the climber having the most fun at the crag.


Alex Tighe
Alex Tighe

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