With busy lives of 50+ year olds, and diminished (only slightly!) athletic horizons that come with age, we’ve found ourselves doing gradually less climbing. When I say we, I am referring to myself and my main partner in all things, my wife Karen. It’s been a long time now since we scared ourselves silly on a giant and committing multi-day climb.  No longer do we search the wilds of the west for days on end, looking for obscure unclimbed cliffs.  

There are few passions in life that are as well suited for two people to share. A rope has two ends, connecting partners in a shared, sometimes intense quest. For so many years, climbing had absorbed all the energy we could pour into it. It shot us around the world together, permeating every aspect of what we did, and how we saw ourselves. Despite our reduced quantity of climbing, it is still a big part of our identity. Other interests come and go. But climbing won’t go away.    

A couple of weeks ago, we went out for a few hours of sport climbing. We hadn’t tied into a rope together in a while - almost a year. You know what I miss?  The partnership of climbing. Long, dusty, dirty days in the sun. Chalky high fives at the top of a climb. Cold nights in the desert. Tired, satisfied walks back to the car. Summers in Europe, climbing with our kids. 

Like nothing else, it will never leave me.  

Karen jumars the last pitch of El Cap, late 1980s.  

Karen jumars the last pitch of El Cap, late 1980s.