The Legends of Climbing (page 4 of 4)
Greg Child: "My roots go back to rock climbing. In the beginning, I wasn't really particularly interested in climbing bigger mountains, and didn't think I was very good at it. I think whatever you're doing, you've got to do it all the time to be good at it. But I think that rather than concentrate on one kind of climbing or the other, I think now I'm trying to be good at a lot of different kinds of climbing — big walls, big mountains, hard rock climbs. That's what I set out to do.

It's been 27 years since I first started climbing, and when I turned 40 this year, that was sobering. Ironically, I'm climbing rock better than I have in years. But after climbing for 17 years, one day you open an envelope and find yourself included among the 'legends of climbing.' It's weird. I was just a climber, but I've realized, in this day and age, there's actually a bit of a living to be made just climbing, just doing what I always wanted to do. And one aspect of that was becoming involved with The North Face as an advisor or consultant on gear, specifically, big wall gear. Now that there's this thing called The North Face Climbing Team, I think people believe it's this incredibly glamorous thing where you're paid oodles of money and sent anywhere in the world to do all this cool climbing. Actually, it's not like that. In fact, as soon as I'm done here, I've got to get on a plane and go to Chicago to help sell a bunch of gear to an important vendor. But, on the other side of it is an expedition to Baffin Island with Alex Lowe. So I'm quite happy to do it.

Whereas climbing used to be totally unregulated, even bohemian, it's changed in the '90s. In fact, it's a strange time to be a climber. It's horrifying, I know, but I actually get recognized when I walk down the street, at least in Seattle."

Allison & Child

  Stacy Allison: "One thing that climbing does is that it forces you to come face to face with yourself, to be honest with yourself. There are no facades when you get in a stressful situation in the mountains. You can't hide your true self, there's no way your teammates can hide their true selves, and I find that incredibly interesting.

When you get in a situation in the mountains, if you're willing and open to it, you can learn about yourself and other people when you're climbing. That's something I really appreciate. I've learned so much about myself that it's a reason to climb. I've also learned a lot about other people and the way they function, and that's information I've used in my everyday life.

Climbing is a very selfish sport, I don't see how you can argue with that, there's nothing about climbing that betters the world-except if you take the opportunities it offers to learn about yourself and then come back and use that knowledge in everyday life as a more knowledgeable person. In fact, I'm now a professional speaker and I use climbing mountains as a metaphor: I try to inspire people to reach for the summit."

Lou Whittaker & John Roskelley | Back to Intro