Why do we climb? The simple answer is that we love it.
You could say we climb here at CRG for “fun,” even though we know amateur climbers who treat climbing like it is their job. It’s a complex kind of fun, which mixes a challenge, fear, and an incredible awareness of the present moment. And often, a wonderful feeling of accomplishment at the top of a route or tricky boulder problem.
Our members, staff, route setters, and coaches at every CRG location share this passion. And we all know how infectious our obsession can be, because we love introducing new people to this amazing sport and see them try climbing for the very first time.
For everyone who walks into Central Rock Gym, there’s a mix of reasons why we come here. But there are some reasons that bind us together, the reasons that climbers flock together in a tribe.
We climb for the challenge
We’ve heard people make excuses for why they can’t climb: too short, too old, or too weak. Too uncoordinated. But to us, those things are just part of the challenge.
Bonnie Denis, the organizer of Watertown’s Adaptive Climbing Program, is a lead advocate for climbers with disabilities. She started climbing a year after one of her legs was amputated and did not let that stop her.
“It’s exciting,” Bonnie says. “I like the mental challenge, as well as the physical of figuring out what the moves are. I like feeling strong.”
It’s not about winning, finishing a single climb, or reaching a certain grade. Setting a specific goal might help you with motivation, but as soon as you reach the top of one climb you’re already thinking about the next. Our real goal, the true drive is progress. We want to get better, to improve, to accomplish more. That ambition doesn’t rest.
Accomplishing one challenging climb can make you feel like you’re on top of the world, but might just leave you craving another challenge. That feeling gets you psyched on climbing!
We climb to learn
CRG is place where we’re constantly learning, about the sport and also about ourselves.
“Everyone has to come up with their own moves,” Bonnie says.
Often we’re discovering lessons that come with time and experience too. Climbing teaches us many things, especially awareness of the present moment and overcoming fear. It teaches us to be conscious about the details, like how your shoe feels on the rock.
For our members who climb outdoors too, it’s invaluable to have a nearby place to learn about training, work difficult moves, and keep your muscles in good shape between outdoor excursions.
Whether it’s here at CRG, or at the top of an outdoor crag, climbing pushes us to our limits. It forces us to face our anxieties and learn to control them, rather than those emotions controlling us.
It’s a sport that both lifts us up and humbles us.
We climb to be together
Our community is drawn together by people who have a passion for the sport, who want to share that with their friends and meet others with the same enthusiasm.
“The community at CRG is one of the best that I’ve found,” Bonnie says. “The climbing community in general is pretty open, but when I came to CRG my first time it was at The Heist, which is a ladies’ climbing competition. I was one of four boulderers who were over the age of 30 and it was obvious. I gravitated to one of them, Mary Snow. She has become one of my staunchest supporters.”
Whether it’s sharing beta and training tips around the bouldering walls, or a belayer calling up encouragement to their friend climbing, this is a sport we like doing together.