Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Danger, Adventure and Relationships

the pillar of ice to the left is called Pegasus

Last week, I returned from a four day ice climbing trip to North Conway, NH with a group of family and friends.  This trip was nothing short of amazing.  Imagine your top five most emotionally and physically intense experiences; for me, this trip easily makes my top five.   

I don’t think this post can be a “why do I climb?” sort of piece. Many climbers have tried to explain why they climb, most of them far better writers than me, and even they haven’t completely gotten to the core of it.  Climbing, like many other emotionally and physically intense experiences, offers many insights and illustrations into the Christian life.

The first question I got from my grandma (whom I love dearly) when I started climbing was something along the lines of “Isn’t that dangerous? You could get really hurt doing that!”  In fact, you don’t have to go very far (say youtube or google) to see pictures, videos and stories of people getting really hurt climbing.  There are many days where even a trip to the local climbing gym results in banged up knees and elbows.  

The reality is that the gear works, the systems hold and climbing is actually a very safe activity, even when compared to lots of other things we do.  There is a perception that because you have the capacity to fall 400 feet off a ledge as you climb, that is some how more dangerous than going down the freeway at 70mph.  I think the reality is that both activities are equally as dangerous.  A broken leg in a car wreck is just as bad as a broken leg climbing.

The biggest part for me is that if I were to stop doing something just because, “you could get hurt doing that,” there are SO MANY things I would need to stop doing.  Riding my road bike would have to be out, as would crossing the street or traversing an icy parking lot.

Ultimately, this is something I really really love about climbing.  It is a chance to look fear in the face and realize that actually I don’t have anything to be afraid of.  The opportunity to face my fears and win is compelling.

What is something you do where you have the chance to face a fear?  Is there a fear you wish you could face?