As I prepare to move to the desert, I’m going back to do the climbs that have shaped me.
I am climbing them with my sons. I will not imply a goodbye to my friends and partners over the years by involving them in the project. There is no goodbye for them.
As I return to the old routes, I am finding them suddenly easier. I think it is because I am finally climbing them without any surpassing ambition.
I am not climbing them to become a better climber or to get to the next, harder route. Instead, I’m starting where one always ends: climbing to make the next move.
And as I do so, I’m finding just how deeply those routes have etched my nerves, my bones, my ambitions, and my morality.
They’ve given me technique, tough fingers, persistence, acceptance, joy in small victories and peace in grander desires.
Actually, I’m finding that I can’t say goodbye. I can’t surpass those routes, anymore than I can ever really untie from a partner. They’ve made me, and I will take them along to the desert.