For today’s Psyche here are vid profiles of two of the world’s most prolific climbers. Both are incredibly good climbers but make their living by doing things other than just climbing hard. They write, guide, do access work and put up a lot of first ascents . Though they preferred style of climbing is completely different they both share the same obsession with the climbing lifestyle and are the definition of soul climbers.
I lived like this myself for a long time. It was fantastic but I basically couldn’t hack it. I had too many varied interests in life to be so devoted to one thing indefinitely. And while I’ve had, and continue to have, a wonderfully rich life that’s filled with diverse experiences I still often pine for the simplicity and passion of how my life was as a climber.
Another soul climber, Canadian Scott Milton, once said something that I always reflect on anytime my life gets too conventional. We were talking about climbing icon Fred Beckey, whom I’d just seen in Joshua Tree. He was in his 80s, at a party, and living on the road as a “climbing bum” just as he’d been doing for the previous six or seven decades. A lot of people, even in Josh, seemed to find it strange. During my time as a climber I’d almost accepted it as fact that we were odd, and should probably consider joining the rat race again at some point if just to appease families and friends who’d thought we’d gone off the deep end. But Milton had a completely different perspective. “Imagine,” he said wistfully. “Staying psyched to be on the road for all those years. It’s my dream.”
Bravo to a couple of guys out there livin’ their dreams.