Happiness is Climbing

What is the best part about climbing?

Photo by Brook Anderson on Unsplash

Is it the planning?

Is it poring over maps the night before a trip?

Is it organizing the gear? Is it packing the truck?

Is it making snacks and sandwiches?

Is it cajoling the kids to get dressed and in the car?

Is it the adventure drive to the climbing spot?

Is it unpacking the car and reloading gear?

Is it the approach?

Is it getting lost with the guidebook you didn’t bring?

Is it the moment when you realize, in fact, you are in the right spot?

Is it that good climbing smell as you open your bag?

Is it the warm sunshine as you harness up?

Is it that first touch of rock?

Is it going up?

Is it yelling, “Take the rope!“?

Is it a lead fall?

Is it dangling in space?

Is it the required focused attention?

Is it the zen-like state you enter?

Is it the smiles? Laughter? Being with good friends?

Is it the view from the top?

Is it the shared experience of joy?

Is it the bite of dried sandwich? Or the coolness of your bubbling beverage?

Is it the rappel down?

Is it the trek back to the truck? Or the return trip home?

Is it that lovely fatigued feeling of adventure?

Perhaps the best part about climbing in fact is all of the above.

Series of Short Stories 3.0 (for the kids)


You might have guessed this story was coming based on the last two (Camping & Bicycling). Climbing seemed like a natural progression of going up.

The only thing better than camping and bicycling is going Up with your friends high on your favorite rock, clinging daintily to a cliff, like a spider spun onto a web. You can’t get enough of this kind of stuff.

Climbing brings true joy. It builds mental fierceness and it forces you to focus as you ascend. When you repel, you come down with clarity. A very down-to-earth paramedic I worked with a couple of years ago told me, “If everybody just went out to the mountains and sat on a rock, and thought for a bit and breathed, the world would spin a little bit slower.”

I asked my kids, “Where do you want to go?”

They tell me, “Up. We want to go up!”

And I know what they mean.

Climbing as an adult (and really at any age) is the equivalent of tree climbing when you were a kid. Why on earth did you climb trees when you were little? You may not have known it then, but the real reason was to go Up. Simple as that.

Replying to the question, “Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?” George Mallory famously replied, “Because it’s there.”

I think that sums it up nicely.

Thanks for reading,