Hi, my name is Alex.
I’ve been climbing for over 9 years now.
One of the first things that got me hooked on rock climbing was how easy the sport made it to see progress every time I stepped into the gym. It felt like I was getting physically stronger every time. What I quickly came to realize was that the progress was actually coming from the fact that climbing involves much more than just raw physical strength. Realistically, people don’t get drastically stronger within a day, but the lessons that rock climbing taught me could be learned within 30 minutes—I would see myself be able to climb something by the end that I didn’t even think was possible at the beginning. So even though I started climbing with the notion of getting stronger, I started having to learn all those other lessons climbing had to teach me—though I barely realized what was happening at the time.
I was forced to learn this through many challenges that climbers face- plateaus, injuries, frustration, etc. Through these setbacks, I started doing my research about all the different aspects of climbing.
Sure, there was the physical aspect that I expected. But there was also the mental aspect. The technical aspect. The body awareness aspect. The movement aspect. The rest aspect. The community aspect.
To become a better climber, I needed to get better all of these things. There simply was no way around it, because climbing exposes your weaknesses and tells it to your face. If you don’t rest, your next session will feel more tiring. If you aren’t aware of your body movements, each move will feel desperate and you won’t know if you can do it again. If you don’t know exactly where to place your hands and your feet, you’ll make something 3x harder for yourself than you need to.
I began to become obsessed with learning anything and everything about climbing. This led me to becoming a route setter at my local gym. And then a youth coach for the competitive team.
As I was growing and learning all of these lessons that climbing was teaching me, my life around me was also changing. The climate was changing, the political scene in our country was changing, my personal life was changing. But even as the world was changing all around me, climbing was the one constant.
No matter what kind of chaos my world felt like it was in- I could show up at the climbing gym or the local crag and everything else would just fade away. In this period of time when I was climbing, nothing else really seemed to matter- I could just focus on climbing this one problem. And the rest of the world didn’t matter for that moment.
In this process, climbing evolved into becoming something more than just learning how to become a better climber. Climbing taught me about patience, grit, persistence, struggles, success, happiness, focus, and much more.
Some people might look at climbing as a distraction. What does it really do to change or make an impact on the world? What translatable skills can you actually learn from successfully getting to the top of a rock? For me, it’s taught me so many things- like how to have grace with myself. How to have patience. How to learn from others. How to listen. But for you, it can be completely different. I can’t really tell you what your journey will look like. What challenges and lessons climbing has in store for you. What weaknesses it’s waiting to expose. You have to find out for yourself.
For me, my climbing journey has been all about growing and learning. And even though I just learned about the term “growth mindset”, I feel like climbing has been trying to teach me this the entire time.
This is the reason behind Oaktown Boulders. Its purpose is to create a space where we can all grow and learn together. A safe space where anyone can come and be themselves. A judgement free space where everyone is welcome and we recognize that everyone is somewhere along their own journey. A space that doesn’t rob others of their opportunity to grow. A space with resources for those that are trying to become better climbers. A space that will in turn make the world a better place.
Come join me as I continue on this journey.