The past couple weeks I really haven't been climbing much.
I know that may sound kind of stupid to write on a climbing blog, but hey-- I'm just being honest. It's funny because with the end of the semester coming up and with me doing a lot more whitewater kayaking than climbing, I've started to think about the natural swing of the climbing world a lot more. I used to believe that I had to climb all the time to stay in shape, and I also thought that if I took time off I would really come to regret it.
While I don't think either of those things to be completely untrue now, I'm also starting to see the physical and emotional benefits of taking time to enjoy other pursuits. For most of my outdoor life, I've been pretty much in love with climbing. So much so, that I've really kind of neglected all of the opportunities available to me from working with UTC Outdoors. I've never gone Stand Up Paddle Boarding/ Mountain Biking/ and a few other things.
The only real pursuit I've taken to recently is white water kayaking. I like it because the culture is a lot like climbing, but at the same time completely contradictory. In climbing, we're all trying to reach out personal goal of getting to the top of the rock. It's essentially all in our power and under our control (I'm mainly talking about single pitch since that's what I'm experienced with). But in kayaking, the river makes the rules and we just do our best to abide by them.
The goal is to run the river clean, to not flip, and to have fun. It's a bit more social in the sense that everyone is working the same "project." But it's also less social in the sense that when you go through a rapid, you do it alone. If your friends are cheering for you (which they're probably not) you can't hear them over the sound of the water. It's kind of isolating, and super intimidating at first.
I don't find kayaking as physically demanding, but I'm also not paddling really hard rivers yet. Honestly, I'm really not sure I ever will. Climbing has always been the endeavor where I push my physical limits. Bouldering and sport climbing provide really great venues for safely being able to see what you're made of. Kayaking, however is a bit different. Pushing your limits on a river is a much greater commitment because you're putting a lot more on the line. Instead of risking leaving a 'biner at the fifth bolt, I'm risking losing my boat/gear or worse-- getting myself hurt.
I wouldn't say that I'm advocating that people 'switch' to kayaking because I think that climbing will always be my main gal, but I also don't think it hurts (in this sense) to have a side sport or two. I know a lot of climbers like to slack line, but I'm a piss poor slackliner so kayaking will have to do.
What other outdoor pursuits do you love?