After a somewhat intense night at work and the news of a couple recent climbing deaths the reality of morbidity and mortality, for me, is glaringly present.
I deal with death more than most people. Through working full time in a busy urban emergency room and then engaging in a recreational activity that is not devoid of risk I have first-hand experience with more debilitating injuries and mortalities than I want to think about.
I forget who to attribute this to, but the quote goes that climbing isn’t worth dying for, but it is worth risking dying for. I won’t argue with that.
I’ve never been more engaged in the moment than when I’m climbing, but it is not without risks. Even miniscule mistakes in climbing can have life-altering, or ending, results. Most climbers don’t acknowledge the actual consequences of their actions. There aren’t many climbers that who have confronted climbing’s consequences and still climb with a carefree mindset. I’m not one of those lucky few. The lessons learned in the past years have taught me how precious and delicate life is. I now know how lucky I am to have the ability to pursue my passion, and that in the end, my recreational pursuits are meaningless.
Life is fragile and transient. Climbing accomplishments are such a small fragment of a persons’ life that they’re practically inconsequential. Do what you have passion for, but keep it in perspective. Climbing is amazing but relationships are important. It’s hard to remember who had what ascent on which peak and during which season but it is a persons’ relationships that endure.