As much as I love the camaraderie of team sports, there’s something glorious about pushing yourself physically when you only have your own fears and weakness to fight. I love running cross country, where most of the battle takes place in your mind, unseen by spectators. Climbing holds much of the same allure for me. Despite my naturally stick-like arms, the hardest thing for me isn’t building muscle, it’s building courage. Each time I fall, I have a little more confidence to fall again the next time, maybe even a little higher up. Since bouldering (shorter climbs without ropes) is such personal effort, there’s no enmity among climbers. I’ve consistently heard encouragement from every person I’ve met at the Austin Rock Gym, from managers to nationally competitive climbers, to other beginners like me. That attitude refreshes my soul, in this world of constant comparison and competition.
All that to say, here are some photos from the gym I love, and their Community Crush Fest Comp in honor of 16 years in business.