Climbing Is Inherently Dangerous

As I become more cemented in the climbing community, meeting new people and expanding my network” of fellow climber friends and acquaintances, its inevitable that I’ll know more people who will get hurt and die from our sport. Just this weekend, I learned of two falls of people I personally knew — one fatal, and one quite serious.

Any time I hear of fatalities of well-known climbers, it makes me do a double-take. They fell?! But they seemed so solid, so professional, so infallible.” Doubly so now that they’re people that I actually know and have relationships with.

It makes me question my draw to an inherently dangerous sport. But never so much that I could ever walk away from it. Is that selfish? Yes. But climbing is something that brings me so much joy, and I know I couldn’t ever ask someone to leave behind the thing that makes them feel so alive — so I won’t do it to myself. Even if that joy necessarily comes with moments, like these, of sadness and doubt.

And while incidents like these don’t make me want to stop climbing, they do encourage me to double-down on vigilance to take precautions that mitigate some of those inherent risks. Knowing full-well that not every risk can be avoided, and sometimes people just fall. But I will continue to strive to be the safest climber I can be, and to encourage others to be the same.


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