/ Giving it up

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Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
Will you, or have you, made a conscious decision to stop climbing? I can't imagine doing so, as a drop towards the bottom of the grade ladder (but enjoying the routes I do more than ever before)
mrteale - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I've been climbing 7 years and have always wondered whether seeing a bad climbing accident or tragedy would make me stop. That might possibly be the only thing that would make me give it up but even then I'm not sure.
paul__in_sheffield - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

been climbing for 38 years now, and a twisted ankle and time off for 3 months reminded me that you're only 1 injury away from not climbing anymore as you get older.
I think bouldering will get more difficult to do so I can see a gradual transfer back to trad as an 'easier' option. I've always kept up holiday bolt clipping which is doable for a long time at my punter level.
Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

The prospect of not being able to get out on the crags fills me with dread. I have a morbid fascination (or romantic affiliation) with it all coming to a stop whilst out there on the hill. This event lasts long in my memory
http://footlesscrow.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/lakeland-pioneer-bill-peascod.html

bouldery bits - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Sadly, a recent injury subsequent surgery means I'm unlikely to be able to return to climb at any sort of reasonable standard.

Focussing on getting fit in other ways at the moment and it might be that I am never able to return to climbing - which is a very sad thought really.
Mark Bannan - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> been climbing for 38 years now, and a twisted ankle and time off for 3 months reminded me that you're only 1 injury away from not climbing anymore as you get older.

That would have to be a horrific injury - I'm 46 and I had multiple pelvic fractures and a hairline spinal fracture 16 months ago. I made a full recovery and I've been very pleased with my rock season this year, which was about average for the 10 years before the accident. I have learned a lot (particularly backing off poorly protected routes at or near my limit) and I hope to minimise injury risk from now on (I'm hoping the aforementioned accident is my only major one).

To the OP - I can't possibly imaging giving up climbing. Even if I can only lead V Diff, I will probably continue.

M


Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Mark Bannan:

<I can't possibly imaging giving up climbing. Even if I can only lead V Diff, I will probably continue>

Sums it up for me. I would really struggle psychologically to be faced with a possibility that 'it might be that I am never able to return to climbing' (cf. bouldery bits). Its been such a big part of my life...

Goucho on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> Will you, or have you, made a conscious decision to stop climbing? I can't imagine doing so, as a drop towards the bottom of the grade ladder (but enjoying the routes I do more than ever before)

I've given up climbing numerous times, but I always come back to it.

There's just something about being on the crags and mountains that's become part of my DNA.

Even if I reached the stage where I could only potter about on diffs or scrambling, I'd still do it just to be out in those glorious landscapes.
Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Goucho:

This is what I find worrying for the future. I'm not obsessing about it at all, and if it comes to it I will cajole, pay, blackmail family or friends to bath-chair me into the wilderness just to breath that air, to reminisce about what it has brought me, given me without charge over a lifetime.

But, I can't bear the prospect of never being able to go to those loved places again. On the positive side, I am not usually this maudlin' about this stuff - more reflective really.
Rog Wilko on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

> Sadly, a recent injury subsequent surgery means I'm unlikely to be able to return to climb at any sort of reasonable standard.

That's bad luck, but at the risk of sounding too trite, why not climb at any standard you can manage, reasonable or not?

A friend (who shall be nameless) used to climb with a good climber who did masses of famous first ascents (who will also be nameless). As soon as his (not my friend, who continues climbing into his 9th decade) abilities showed signs of waning he gave up climbing completely. It makes me glad I was never better than average. Come to that, was never even average.

Goucho on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> This is what I find worrying for the future. I'm not obsessing about it at all, and if it comes to it I will cajole, pay, blackmail family or friends to bath-chair me into the wilderness just to breath that air, to reminisce about what it has brought me, given me without charge over a lifetime.

> But, I can't bear the prospect of never being able to go to those loved places again. On the positive side, I am not usually this maudlin' about this stuff - more reflective really.

As we reach a certain age, it's perfectly understandable to ponder what happens when we get too frail or infirmed to do it.

Personally speaking, I'll cross that bridge if and when it arises.

In the meantime, I'll carry on getting out and just enjoying being 'up there'
tripehound - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Due to two rotator cuff and knee injuries my rock climbing standard has dropped from E2 to severe. My climbing partner of many years who was always keen to do new routes gave up when his standard started to drop. I always wondered why, but now watching people doing harder routes I think I can do that then realise no you cannot do that anymore which is a bit disheartening. However my winter standard has improved as its not so dependent on arms and twisting moves especially on ice.
I live in hope as I keep making " comebacks" until a shoulder starts to kick up again.
looking forward to winter.
bouldery bits - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> That's bad luck, but at the risk of sounding too trite, why not climb at any standard you can manage, reasonable or not?

We'll see. For me, the fear of re-injuring myself is too great - especially knowing that it will be much worse if I damage it again. I can't take that risk. Not climbing sucks. Not being able to walk or move properly sucks much much more.

Wayne S - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

There will clearly come a time when it's a bit too hard, but I would hope that's a steady reduction perhaps than a conscious decision. I guess that a lot will have to do with what a particular person gets from his/her pass time. If it's all about grade and measure than it would be easy to give up when improvement stops. For me it's about being out in the fresh air, in nice places doing something a bit challenging with a buddy.
Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Not a crowded Stanage then?!!
;-)
nastyned - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I frequently give up climbing mid route when I'm useless and about to die, but always change my mind once I'm at the top and back to being a rock god.
John R - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
Wouldn't even consider giving it up. I've been doing it for over 50 years with varying degrees of success. I've now had a knee and a hip replaced and my back is shot through with arthritis. I may never climb E5 again, but so what? I get enormous fun and satisfaction from doing routes of whatever grade in the right company and the right place. And I still go kayaking ( white water and sea), canoeing on sunny French rivers and occasional paragliding. My biggest concession to increasing infirmity has been to take up sand yachting for the days when the joints won't let me do anything else. I suppose it may all one day give me up, but until I run out of obliging partners I'm sticking with it. I find it doesn't pay to look too far ahead or to contemplate too many worst case scenarios. All the best, John.
French Erick - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to John R:

I'd never give it up. Just have your interest ebb and flow at the worse. I hope to be one of these old dudes you come across bumbling on diffs age 70! They're full of stories and they truly love climbing. I still hope to better my climbing grade before that though ;)
Wayne S - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
I don't know what you mean!
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I made a definite decision to stop climbing at the age of 57 because an eyesight problem (a macular pucker as a result of a car crash 24 years earlier) meant I could no longer see properly in 3D and, particularly, see small footholds or judge how far away they were. This made for a very dull, static, 3-points of contact, one-slow-move-at-a-time style, with no flow whatever, and all the movement and joy of the feeling of climbing thus gone. I had no regrets whatever – I'd climbed happily for over 40 years. I still walk/hill walk quite a lot, and have lots of other interests. Sometimes I think I may perhaps have kept going at it for too long, because to enjoy it you have to spend quite a lot of time every week doing it, training on climbing walls, etc. I get no pleasure whatever in climbing easy routes rather badly.
rgold - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I've thought about this some, as I've been climbing for 60 years now and am just about to turn 74. Now that I'm in my mid-seventies, I have to admit that thoughts about how much longer I can climb are inevitably conflated with how much longer I'll be alive at all, and what the consequences of both a short and a long life span might mean. Dying too soon and living too long are both possibilities, as well as some hopefully much happier options. But "options" is not the right term, since it won't be me who is doing the choosing...

Back in the present, one of the downsides of being old and relatively fit is that you are equipped with a "barometer" that is very sensitive to decline. I think that average people my age would mostly consider me remarkably fit and active, but everything I do contains reminders of how much has been lost. Three full decimal grades of trad leading ability---and counting---and slowness on long approaches and scrambles that forces my younger but sensitive companions to continually invent excuses for pausing and waiting for me when we are in the mountains.

Granted, I've been very lucky with injuries. Other than surgery for a ruptured ACL a few years ago, I've managed with just the minor complaints (eg epicondylitis) that afflict almost all climbers from time to time. But the ruptured ACL and the surgery did get me to give up bouldering, which is how I destroyed the knee tendon, as I think the potential for doing that again is high and there is plenty I can do that doesn't involve jumping awkwardly, even from moderate heights.

Patey's crack about climbers with declining abilities suddenly acquiring a fondness for the "greater ranges" resonates a bit. My introduction and involvement in climbing, at a time long before gyms and sport climbing, was all about exploring the natural world, and the connection to nature that led me to climbing as a way to enter the mountain world is still strong. This means I can envision a path before me---already embarked on---that will, in a way whose symmetry is satisfying, reverse the progress of my climbing career, working every lower on the difficulty and danger scale, while still maintaining the love of the outdoors that, even during my days as an active boulderer, was the bedrock of my involvement. In this way, I think I'm more fortunate than many modern climbers, who come to the sport for its intense athletic activity and tend to leave, from my perspective prematurely, when their athletic abilities inevitably wane.

When I was younger, I couldn't imagine giving up climbing, but age provides perspective and tends to make one more aware of reality. As I write this, I have no intentions of quitting, my plan is to just go on fading out. But a bad fall or any one of the indignities of old age could change this overnight, as many of my friends have already discovered. I don't have to have and in any case can't manage as many days on the hill as I used to have, but cherishing the ones granted to me is now in the forefront of my thoughts.

Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to rgold:

That's a really deep analysis and I can find empathy with a lot of what you have said. I'm particularly drawn to your observations about the level of intensity of some contemporary forms of climbing (in its broadest sense) and its relationship with someone's longer term participation. I certainly think that being exposed gently, from an early age, to the hills - Kinder, The Cloud, The Long Myndd etc) left me with a feeling that I'd not easily give up on that heritage.
Thanks
Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Gordon - not to diminish the impact of your physical difficulty, but I wonder whether having a clear judgement to make about such a factor made it easier (if that is not too dismissive or insensitive)...as compared to the gradual, inevitable descent into infirmity, and not knowing when, or when not, to pull the plug. Its more the latter that causes me moments of refection
Bulls Crack - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I've been climbing since 1980 - always keen - but after a divorce about about 12 years ago now I seemed, somehow to lose the wil. My grade declined in tandem with my enthusiasm and I felt nervous on everything and declined rapidly in a whorl of negative feedback. I tried other activities for a bit but still went out climbing now and then but struggled. Then one day on the Dales, just about to give up on a 6a+, I had 'oh come on I can do this' moment, did it with ease and got back to 6c by the end of the season, and was doing e1s and E2's the next year. And now, keen as ever, I'm looking to push on beyond 7b.

Still only managing E2 though!
Goucho on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to rgold:

Some very insightful thoughts there.

In particular the one regarding the reasons for climbing.

In my experience, the people I've known who've climbed primarily for the love of climbing and being in the mountains, have carried on into old age, whereas those primarily motivated by the difficulty and challenge (both technical and physical) have tended to give it up once their grades started to decline.
Martin Hore - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

No sign of giving up yet, despite a couple of dislocated shoulders and a back operation. I'm 67 next month and lucky not to have seen my standard drop more than half a grade or so yet (largely because I never reached a high standard in the first place). So I've still got to pass that milestone where I need to accept I'll never climb as hard again as I used to. But that will come of course. I'm thinking of setting a goal of leading all the Classic Rock ticks after 70 - anyone else on that pathway?
Martin
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> Gordon - not to diminish the impact of your physical difficulty, but I wonder whether having a clear judgement to make about such a factor made it easier (if that is not too dismissive or insensitive)...as compared to the gradual, inevitable descent into infirmity, and not knowing when, or when not, to pull the plug. Its more the latter that causes me moments of refection

Yes, it was definitely the first half of your sentence above. Quite sudden really, because the eye problem went from being quite minor to major in a very short length of time (the eye muscles of my good eye no longer being strong enough to make the necessary corrections, apart from the big blurry patch in my bad eye). I suddenly thought, this is no longer enjoyable, so I stopped.

PS. Extra comment re another comment above: I still enjoy being in the mountains.
Post edited at 19:09
Timmd on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:
> We'll see. For me, the fear of re-injuring myself is too great - especially knowing that it will be much worse if I damage it again. I can't take that risk. Not climbing sucks. Not being able to walk or move properly sucks much much more.

Since elbow injuries, I don't climb much anymore other than going to the Climbing Works and 'faffing about' every so often, as a way of spending time with a friend who climbs better than me, but outside of doing that, I've found that one can adapt to not climbing anymore, that other things can gradually fill the void which is left. It can even be that the appreciation of doing other things deepens over time, like just being outside in itself. It can take a while though.
Post edited at 19:18
Greenbanks - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I think some time ago I might have mentioned in a thread on UKC that one of my most disconcerting times whilst climbing was losing a contact lens on the penultimate pitch of Falconer's Crack (Borrowdale). It was unnerving in that I didn't have all-round vision, and I had trouble closing the R-H (no lens) eye (no idea why, I still can only wink with my L-H eye...) - so judging distance and seeing all the holds made for a miserable experience. Nowhere near the gravity of your situation of course, but it helps me empathise with what happened to you.
Neil Williams - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> Will you, or have you, made a conscious decision to stop climbing? I can't imagine doing so, as a drop towards the bottom of the grade ladder (but enjoying the routes I do more than ever before)

Some people seem to like closure - definitive giving up of things, selling all kit etc. I don't really find that, so even if I find I don't climb for a while for some reason I doubt I'd say I'd given it up per-se.
Fraser on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> I've given up climbing numerous times, but I always come back to it.

I'm curious to know what caused you to give up, albeit temporarily, each time. And also, what drew you back into the fold?

Rog Wilko on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to French Erick:

> I hope to be one of these old dudes you come across bumbling on diffs age 70!

In my experience if they're only (!) 70 they'll be doing at least VS.

paul__in_sheffield - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Mark Bannan:

> That would have to be a horrific injury - I'm 46 and I had multiple pelvic fractures and a hairline spinal fracture 16 months ago. I made a full recovery and I've been very pleased with my rock season this year, which was about average for the 10 years before the accident. I have learned a lot (particularly backing off poorly protected routes at or near my limit) and I hope to minimise injury risk from now on (I'm hoping the aforementioned accident is my only major one).

> To the OP - I can't possibly imaging giving up climbing. Even if I can only lead V Diff, I will probably continue.

> M

Hi ~Mark, as I said, I'll probably drop down to easy trad and sport because I love climbing and being out so much and have had it as the major part of my life for so long. However, the entry level to bouldering is so much higher, and I'm not sure how I'll cope with not being able to do it any more.
Rog Wilko on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Martin Hore:

> lucky not to have seen my standard drop more than half a grade or so yet (largely because I never reached a high standard in the first place).

I know exactly where you're coming from!
Goucho on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Fraser:
> I'm curious to know what caused you to give up, albeit temporarily, each time. And also, what drew you back into the fold?

Life, marriages, divorces, kids, business, drink, drugs, the usual stuff

I just love it.
Post edited at 20:02
Fraser on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Aah, too bad.

...and too good. ;)
Robert Durran - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I can't imagine ever giving up climbing or hillwaliking while I'm still capable of doing them. I take comfort from the fact that I'm now also very keen on photography in the outdoors, so I'll still be psyched to get out in the hills and do that as long as I'm able to to toddle around a bit or even barely toddle at all.
Rog Wilko on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to rgold:

I like your philosophical turn of mind and phrase, and can empathise with much of what you say.
As for some people giving up at the first sign of decline while others carry on a slow downward path - I conclude that this is a function of a certain personality trait, but I also feel that how you get into climbing is important too. As someone who came into it from below as you might say, through walking, it would be surprising if my outlook was similar to someone who entered the sport (?) via an indoor climbing wall. I am often taken aback by younger or less experienced clubmates who clearly see walking to a crag for an hour or things like time consuming descents from mountain crags as a waste of valuable climbing time. They don't seem to understand when I suggest that a day on a big crag with probably 1, at most 2 routes done will stick in the memory much longer than 8 or 9 routes at Stanage or a day spent clipping bolts on some indifferent sport crag. I sometimes wonder how many will still be climbing when they're my age.

One of my many mottos is don't grieve over things you can't do anymore but get on with enjoying what you still can do.
Pbob on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Many years ago I was mustard keen on climbing. Though never in any way talented, getting into the hills was pretty much my driving ambition. Then one day I had a near miss. Not a close shave with some objective danger (had plenty of those). I picked the wrong partner. He was the worst kind of idiot. Didn't know what he was doing but convinced people (including me) that he did. I found out just in time to avoid a very nasty and dangerous situation. I decided then and there never to put myself on a rope with anyone ever again. The risk was just too high.

It lasted six months. A mate dragged me out to the Peak on a nice sunny spring day and I decided I could climb again. A few months later I was climbing at Sheigra with a trusted friend and mentally put it all behind me. Unfortunately, the day after returning I smashed my leg badly playing five-a-side. Took me five years to walk without a heavy limp. I never thought I'd climb again. Five more years and I was able to stand on my tiptoes. I'm climbing again now (when family commitments allow), so all good in the end.
Ridge - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I'll try and give the alternative view to most on here, in that I gave up climbing a few years ago, (but haunt the place due to the really interesting and challenging views expressed on UKC, rather than enjoying the comfort of frequenting an internet echo chamber).

Climbing is in essence a very psychological thing. Yes, you have to train hard to climb to a high standard, but if your head isn't in the right place then all the strength and technique in the world won't make you a better climber.

Unfortunately my head is anything but right, in many ways. I won't try to explore the dark recesses of my mind here, but I'll try and articulate it as well as I can.

I've never been good at anything. Sports, academia, the arts, anything. Never utterly crap though, I was always picked second or third to last when teams were picked in the playground, so not too bad. So I'm pretty comfortable in mediocrity, but I went to the sort of school portrayed in 'Kes', where being less than mediocre didn't end well.

As a result of the above, I have to be at least average at something to really enjoy it. If not, then I find it just starts reinforcing the negative, depressive side of my personality.

Unfortunately, much as I loved those rare times when everything really flowed on a climb, the fear, the failure, the fear of failure just became a negative feedback loop.

That doesn't really matter in other physical pursuits. Just keep running until you puke, then keep going some more. Keep going through that whiteout, trust your nav. I just couldn't get there with climbing.

Probably the final nail was watching 'E11'. At that point I thought why am I even bothering faffing around as a very low grade punter and stressing about leading S/VS tomorrow? Time to accept defeat and move on.

Which is what I did. Possibly not the most uplifting of stories, but that's the way it turned out.
rgold - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

We had a related discussion about age and climbing over on SuperTopo...see http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2925386/Climb-Forever
Greenbanks - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to rgold:

Thanks. I smiled when reading the post in which a group of cimbers had dubbed themselves the 'Assisted Living Climbing Team'. Does that count as aid climbing, I wonder?
rgold - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> Thanks. I smiled when reading the post in which a group of cimbers had dubbed themselves the 'Assisted Living Climbing Team'. Does that count as aid climbing, I wonder?

Haha, I'm actually one of those climbers---the ALCT for short. Of course, the whole thing only remains funny as long as none of us is actually in assisted living.

As for aid, we haven't yet moved past trekking poles...

I might add, for those chronologically challenged folks from over the pond, that if you are heading this way for a visit, there are few places in the US better suited to growing old than the Shawangunks. The approaches are short, on carriage roads, with just a touch of a boulder field, and the climbs are steep and solid no matter what the grade, and not very long either, so you might almost think you're still the hard man you used to be, and you won't have to give up your afternoon nap.

Adrien - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I've been living in Font for three years now, living the dream as an avid boulderer. Climbing became an obsession and most of my life revolved around it.

In November last year I fell off a mantle and landed on my heel on a rock just beside my crashpad. I got really scared that I might have fractured my calcaneum; it appears not, and while I'm still a bit inconvenienced it's really not that bad and I kept on climbing at the same level as I did before the accident.

Then in June I fell off a highball, hand first, arm extended, and tweaked something in my elbow. I can climb, but not as hard as I used to. I feel weak and am not comfortable trying hard when doing certain moves for fear I might tear something. Despite seeing 4 or 5 different specialists I still don't know what's wrong with my elbow, and this nagging inconvenience just won't go away.

The worst part of all this is probably all the negative thoughts going through my mind. Should I just quit climbing? Do I even still enjoy climbing? Will it ever heal? How do I replace something my life revolved around (and should I)? I've taken up yoga and cycling, which I enjoy, but does it make up for it?

First world problems you said?
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Adrien:

> Do I even still enjoy climbing? Will it ever heal? How do I replace something my life revolved around (and should I)? I've taken up yoga and cycling, which I enjoy, but does it make up for it?

The most telling part of your post is the first sentence above. It's an extraordinary question, but at least you've pinpointed it and asked it. The last sentence I think also implies another deep truth – that, as a way of life, climbing can all too easily become a kind of ritual. My personal view is that as soon as any activity becomes primarily ritualistic it is well on the way to becoming worthless. It was a strange perception that I had also during the last few months I went climbing.
Timmd on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Adrien:
I find I still enjoy using my sense of balance and figuring out what body position to use, even if I can't hang onto what I used to be able to, and climbing overhangs, or anything with small holds which is vertical,climbing which 'uses my senses' if you like rather than my strength. I've always liked cycling, to that'll continue until I no longer can.

I think the biggest loss for me was learning how I'd closed off certain ways of having adventures in mountains through not being able to climb as hard, but life is so multi faceted, I've realised there's still a 1000 other ways of having adventures.

One needs to find other things which ignite the spirit...
Post edited at 11:47
ill_bill - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I cannot imagine a time when I was not thinking about going climbing.
I recently had cancer and the one thing I really wanted to do was to get back on rock again. 5 months after the operation I was back leading easy gritstone routes. Happiness!
I am now 68 and have been climbing for over 50 years. OK so I don't lead much above severe now but then I never got to lead many HVSs even when I was in my 20's. I am content to be climbing with friends at any level, anywhere.

True the walking is a bit slower now and the stamina is no longer there. But if the mind is strong you can do whatever you want.

I am planning to repeat some mountain classics next year, and maybe even some that I have not done before.
Adrien - on 09 Oct 2017
Certainly climbing has become a bit ritualistic lately: most of the time I'm doing it because I don't want to lose strength and technique; before the accidents I was constantly making progress (climbed my personal best just two days before the first fall) and that stopped abruptly, so it's hard adapting to a different reality where I have to find something else in climbing than merely pushing the limits. (Which would be a lot easier if I had access to longer routes, as I find climbing easy and low boulders quite dull.)

I think my brain has a hard time processing all these extremely contradictory thoughts (one minute climbing is my life, the next I can't be bothered going out). On the plus side, I enjoy cycling a lot more than I thought and I now take the bike to go climbing, so my carbon footprint has dropped significantly!
Greenbanks - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

Some people I know have spent a lifetime working in a job they absolutely love - they have been committed and passionate about their work. I have witnessed 2 quite different approaches to 'retirement' from them. There are those who reach a 'stop' point and down tools, remove themselves from a particular professional environment and move over to a completely different life interest. Others refuse to do this, retaining an association with their previous working life, in some capacity or other.

Maybe this same thing is reflected in climbing - though judging by the responses it seems that most are inclined to carry on regardless until the 'end'.
Stuart en Écosse - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I decided to stop when I found myself like a frightened beginner seconding routes I used to solo in a relaxed manner. It felt like it was time do stop as I was quite ambitious and driven, (and had a massive ego that I'd never admit to) and it was important to me that I climbed as well as I could, so I found what felt like the permanent loss of form, entirely due to head issues, impossible to contemplate. But, I can't let it go inside and still think about it all the time. Rock climbing in particular for me is like that ex you can never move on from. Hence my continued presence on here, and my occasional but persistent idle threats to start climbing again.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

One advantage of being freelance, having a succession of creative jobs, sometimes being well-paid, others completely skint, is that you never 'retire' – it's an unfolding adventure. Climbing was always a kind of adjunct that wove in and out of that main life thread. Now I'm just concentrating on pure creativity (with regular dollops of the great outdoors to provide 'extra oxygen').
Greenbanks - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

<One advantage of being freelance, having a succession of creative jobs, sometimes being well-paid, others completely skint, is that you never 'retire' – it's an unfolding adventure>

This summarises things at present for me - and a bit like my current climbing: feast or famine. With both work & climbing it seems its either feast or famine...but I don't think I'd let either go
Timmd on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
> Some people I know have spent a lifetime working in a job they absolutely love - they have been committed and passionate about their work. I have witnessed 2 quite different approaches to 'retirement' from them. There are those who reach a 'stop' point and down tools, remove themselves from a particular professional environment and move over to a completely different life interest. Others refuse to do this, retaining an association with their previous working life, in some capacity or other.

> Maybe this same thing is reflected in climbing - though judging by the responses it seems that most are inclined to carry on regardless until the 'end'.

My Dad retired from - and pretty much dropped (theoretical) engineering because he'd had enough of the responsibility of managing his company, and people's mortgages and their families financial futures being on his mind, the people politics and querying of pay levels, and all the other things involved with growing and keeping a company going. He was starting to sense that his employees were more intelligent or sharper than him when it came to the maths, too, and decided that it was nice to end on a positive note, and not continue to go to conferences and have people talk about him not being as sharp as he used to be. He now enjoys driving his bright red MGA instead.
Post edited at 20:54
Eric9Points - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
I gave up climbing about four years ago after about forty years of doing it. That's why I rarely visit or post on this site any more. I think Goucho's observation that those who climb for the challenge or achievement being the ones that give up is probably about right.

In my fifties I found myself getting worse every year no letter how hard I tried and eventually it sapped my enthusiasm to the point where I emailed all my climbing pals and told them I was retiring. By that point I had no regrets in doing so and have no desire to climb again. It was something I was passionate about for much of my life but it's something in the past and something I can look back upon with fondness.

I still love wild and empty spaces and continue to wander about in them. I doubt I'll ever lose my love of nature which is what brought me to climbing in the first place.
Post edited at 22:49
Mark Bannan - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Hi ~Mark, as I said, I'll probably drop down to easy trad and sport because I love climbing and being out so much and have had it as the major part of my life for so long. However, the entry level to bouldering is so much higher, and I'm not sure how I'll cope with not being able to do it any more.

Sorry - maybe I misunderstood. Did you mean an injury that stops you bouldering? (btw, I wish you luck and hope this doesn't happen!)

Martin W on 11 Oct 2017

I haven't made a conscious decision to stop climbing, but I have done increasingly little climbing over the past few years. This has been due to a combination of work pressure/location, my regular climbing partners being distracted by other interests or commitments, or just moving away, and most recently a significant decline in the quality of route-setting at my local wall which meant that I stopped enjoying indoor climbing (which was at least the most reliable way to find people to climb with).


All of the above could probably be overcome if I put a bit of effort in, which suggests that my interest/motivation in the activity has declined. I was never a particularly *good* climber, nor was a I particularly motivated by grades, so there's no fear of "slipping down the grades" for me. If I look back on my past climbing experiences I couldn't really say right now that there's much of it that I miss, beyond the pals and the crack.

I am still reluctant to consciously admit to myself that I don't climb any more, though, so the gear is safely squirreled away in case the bug does start to bite again.

I do still go walking in the hills, and I get out on my bike more than I used to, so I still enjoy making my way about in the outdoors under my own steam. I haven't turned in to a complete couch potato!
Post edited at 15:38
Pursued by a bear - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I haven't made a conscious decision to stop climbing and I still think of myself as a climber; it's just that I haven't done any climbing for over ten years (indoors doesn't count, but I've not done any of that for a while either).

And, unless there's an unlikely combination of circumstances, I have done my last climb. But never say never; the unlikely might yet happen. But with an inability to walk far, to properly control what my right leg's doing and to grip anything meaningfully with my right hand, I suspect the game's done and that an exceedingly pleasant meander up High Buttress Arete (D) was where it finished.

But I'm not selling my gear and until I do, I've not given up.

T.
Seymore Butt - on 14 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

A very timely posting in my case this Greenbanks

I am In the process of thinking about whether I should give up climbing after over 55 years of being totally obsessed with the pastime I love.
The reason being I had a mountain biking accident 4 months ago that has resulted in the partial loss of use of my left arm and leg (damage to spinal cord in my neck apparently). This has made climbing very difficult to the point of impossible, even on relatively easy routes due to the lack of movement and strength in my affected limbs.
One of the dilemmas is, when most of your mates still climb, I'd hate to lose all the other interactions that you get from a common interest eg pubs and parties etc..
But one of the things that still motivates me to not give up is a quote I told the doctor in A&E when he asked why a 70 yr old was still mountain biking. My answer was "Never let the old man in". He just smiled and shook his head.

And another thing, I bought a new sports rope only 7 months ago.

Alan

Greenbanks - on 14 Oct 2017
In reply to Seymore Butt:
Good on you. I recall my Mum saying to me, after the first kiddie came along, "I suppose you're putting a stop to that climbing nonsense now, aren't you?". No chance.

So why let something that resulted from a minor outdoor activity like mountain-biking get in the way of your true passion?

Even when I get to the point where I no longer climb, the idea of being in the company of those that do will be an attractive one...
Post edited at 16:17
Chris Murray - on 14 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I used to row at school and Uni. I went as far as I could with the sport then gave it up because I'd gone as far as my talent and motivation would allow.

Climbing isn't like that. There's always a challenge no matter what grade you're climbing. For me, it's a sport for life. I've only ever been pretty mediocre, but as I've gotten older and struggled with injury, my grade has fallen a long way, even from my modest high water mark.
And, if anything, I'm loving it more than ever! I don't stress over grades, or shit myself wobbling above gear. I can look around, enjoy the movement, and have fantastic experiences, in solitude, or with friends.

I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I hadn't been introduced to climbing by my good mate Richard Bower (cheers mate!). Old. Grey.. In a very real sense, he saved my life the day he forced me to squeeze my feet into a pair of worn out PAs and dragged me up Surface Plate (HVS 5a).
Steve Ashton - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

> Will you, or have you, made a conscious decision to stop climbing? I can't imagine doing so, as a drop towards the bottom of the grade ladder (but enjoying the routes I do more than ever before)

I stopped climbing some years back when I looked inside the revolver barrel and did the math.

Over the decades, I've mostly soloed. Not always by choice. At first, I couldn't afford the gear and didn't know anyone else who climbed. Then I worked weekends and couldn't find partners midweek. Later, I simply preferred the autonomy. As a result, I became super-cautious and never had a serious fall. It also meant I never got much involved in the social scene.

I had a few scares: high on remote mountain crag, unable to reverse and facing a crux move with a damp hold; having a shoulder muscle give way mid mantelshelf; feeling strength ebb halfway up a committing layback. Just recalling these incidents raises sweat on my fingertips, which shows that even when you physically stop climbing, the memories still grip your psyche.

The turning point came when a good friend and climbing partner was killed soloing. By this time, the blinkered passion for climbing had begun to wane as other interests took hold. Like others here, I had always envisaged dropping down the grades as I aged. But then the fear crept in. Not the fear that gives an adrenaline boost mid-move, but the fear that seeps into your soul before you even reach the crag. The sort of generalised anxiety you might get when finding yourself in the wrong job, the wrong relationship, or the wrong trousers at a disco.

I still have nightmares about climbing. Clawing up great tottering heaps of rubble where you can never find a solid belay or decent toilet. And on fine spring mornings, when I walk over the canal bridge near my house, I still can't resist hooking my fingers over a wrinkle in the warm gritstone.

At least I'm still alive, I think. Miserable, but alive.
Michael Gordon - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Steve Ashton:
Not trying to be funny, but could you not just give up soloing and take up seconding? Or bouldering.
Post edited at 15:04
Steve Ashton - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Not trying to be funny, but could you not just give up soloing and take up seconding? Or bouldering.

I could, but I'm too old and feeble and scared. And my boots have perished.
jkarran - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I've pretty much given up over the last year without deciding to after about 17 years climbing. No single reason, life and interests just change. Still think I'm keen to get out and do some easy stuff but it never quite happens. I guess it will when I really am keen again.
Jk
tombeasley - on 17 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I made the conscious decision to stop climbing almost exactly a year ago. I had just had an excellent weeks climbing in Font with my family and a couple of good friends.

For me it was a culmination of many reasons, a busy family, the time commitment (for me personally) to a sport to be fairly average, that it had all become much more part of a routine than because I enjoyed it.

I loved the 20 years I was a committed climber and achieved much more than I thought when I could when I started out and have had some amazing experiences with some great people.

I odiously miss the people, trips and the fun.

Since stopping climbing I'm now running much more, have helped form a local running group and parkrun, regularly train in the gym and have started mountain biking again, which I love.

I doubt I'll climb much again, and certainly not as committed as I once was. I love being in the mountains but tend to long to be running or on the bike now.

I do occasionally wonder how long it would take me to get climbing "fit" again.......
Dave Garnett - on 17 Oct 2017
In reply to tombeasley:

> I do occasionally wonder how long it would take me to get climbing "fit" again.......

Well, the answer is certainly longer than it used to when you were younger. Managing to keep a background level of climbing fitness going while you are busy doing all that other stuff that crowds in your life can be a challenge but I think it's the secret to keeping going. That, and being lucky with your health and avoiding injury.

I have a Significant Birthday next year but I'm busier than ever with work and other commitments. I'm managing to tick over leading about E1 when I can occasionally get out but trying to get on a bouldering wall at least once week. It's frustrating because I know my luck won't hold out forever and I'd really like to get back to leading a respectable grade before I find I just can't. But give up? Never.
mark s - on 17 Oct 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

I have just started again after 7 years off. It has made me realise I wasn't a bad climber before stopped.
I went to bodybuilding and lifting and went from 13 to 17 stone and no way on this planet is 17 stone good for climbing. I am finding it tough at the minute. More due to weight,15 1/2 stone now. Technique is still there though.
I used to solo sauls crack in trainers at the roaches , on Sunday I led it and had to do some pulling to get up it but I did.

If you are questioning giving up do it, you can always come back to it. I know I will sell between sports I do and don't doubt I will stop climbing again at some point.
Dave Garnett - on 17 Oct 2017
In reply to mark s:

We should go bouldering before you lose any more weight!
mark s - on 17 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I'm hoping my current weight will act like a slowly diminishing weight belt. When another stone has gone I will feel light as a feather

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