Climber on Wall Street along the Colorado River Gorge, Utah
Rock climbing is one of those sports in which the sum is definitely greater than the parts. Originally just one facet of mountaineering, it evolved into it’s own specific niche with the advancement of equipment and bold new techniques, which allowed the seemingly impossible to be conquered. But as any climber will tell you, the rewards are much more than just the satisfaction of getting to the top.
For many, climbing is as much a spiritual journey as a physical one. It’s often compared to ballet in the vertical in which a sequence of moves are carefully choreographed and the mind is sharply focused on the next position or placement of protection. And like a chess game, the participant must constantly adapt his or her thinking with each move as the climb progresses.
Because of this requirement of critical thinking it’s not surprising that climbing courses have been encouraged by large corporations across the country to help their employees develope not only trust and teamwork, but focus and attention to detail – disciplines which are critical to success in both endeavors. And of course, the more obvious byproducts of a day at the craigs is great physical conditioning and a memorable adventure with good friends.
Adding photography to the mix is a natural for those looking to capture high action in a natural setting. Whether you’re a participant or just an observer, rock climbers move at a slow enough pace that capturing the moments that define the sport is relatively easy. My favorite lens while climbing is a 16mm, which not only provides a wide field of view to include a good sense of place but has incredible depth of field to make sure everything from the rope in my hands to the distant mountains are sharp.