10 Climbing Deal-Breakers

This article originally appeared on Climbing

Back in 2007, my friend Rolando (Rolo) and I were climbing at the Patio, a short sport area in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. I’ve always felt like I’m an efficient, goal-oriented climber who doesn’t waste time at the cliffs, and who aims to get in as many pitches as possible. I strive to be streamlined with my processes, minimizing time spent prepping for climbing or dithering with attendant activities in favor of actually spending time on the rock. This has earned me the label of “impatient”–and I’m OK with that. It’s who I am; it’s how I’m wired. But Rolando, a hyper-driven alpinist and rock climber with accomplishments like a free solo of the Naked Edge (III 5.11) in Eldorado Canyon, the one-time speed record of 6:49 on the Tetons’ Grand Traverse (VI 5.8), and the first ascent, with Colin Haley, of the Torre Traverse (VI 5.11 A1 WI6) in Patagonia, may have me beat.

That day at the Patio, as we wrapped up after a morning of climbing, I slowly coiled the rope in order to lash it to my pack.

“Here, give me that!” Rolo said, snatching the rope out of my hands. He threw the cord over his shoulders and, in a blur of motion, had it sorted in less than a minute. We didn’t have to be back in town at any particular time–when he wasn’t climbing, Rolo hung out at his house reading, drinking mate, and petting his cat, and I was still unmarried, without kids or a house to take care of. No, Rolo just couldn’t stand to see me coiling the rope so slowly. This was a new level of “crag impatience,” and I stood there in awe until he flung the rope back at me, tightly wrapped and ready to carry out.

“OK, good, let’s go,” he said.

For once, I had been outdone. It was a thing of beauty, an education in how I might take impatience to the next level. Since then, I’ve striven to up my game. In fact, as I’ve aged and the demands of life dilute my free time, my lack of patience has only gotten worse.

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