I believe climbing gathers people of similar values. I feel good in the climbing community. I believe that the average climber is friendlier, more honest and more open-minded than the average person on the street. I like being surrounded by such people. I always like to say that climbing shaped my personality, but possibly it is more the climbers I have met who truly influenced my personality and character.
Firstly, climbers have passion. There’s a fire inside your heart for climbing up. Who has this fire, no matter the level, is a climber to me. Who does not possess it, no matter the climbing level, is not a true climber. It is this irrational craving for climbing higher, to make some obscure moves. You must have a little bit of an adventurer inside of you. We all go climbing because we want to experience something new. Even though we might be trying one single route for 1000th time, there is still something we can explore. In our minds it is the new experience of climbing, the flow of its lightness. Or the infinite fight.
Climbers are also creative. In order to come up with the best possible sequences, you need to think outside of the box. Some climbers use creativity only for their climbing, but most of them have brilliant ideas in so many different fields.
Climbing is an individual sport in the sense that when you are climbing, it is only up to you whether you will stick the next hold or fall off. But in a different sense, it is also a team activity. Sharing climbing and appreciating those moments with your friends is an essential part of it. It can be with your long-time friends or random dudes who you just met at a crag. It does not matter. We are all one family. We climb and we like it.
When I travel around the world, I get the chance to meet thousands of climbers. And it has been an incredible opportunity to learn. It is not only my chance for learning languages, but also for getting to know the world a little bit better through the climbers. Recently, it has been very interesting to visit countries where climbing is quite an unknown sport and only practised by a very few passionate individuals. In the Balcan countries, where the wounds of war are still not healed, climbing is only just starting. It takes true pioneers to establish the first climbing routes or climbing gyms in the cities. Yet, the climbing scene is somewhat even more exciting. Their sheer excitement about the fact that I came to visit their beautiful countries, to share their crags with me was awesome. I could only spend just a few days with them, but during that time it often felt like we knew each other for years. Their small communities of climbers hold strongly together and I do not think this kind of bond is that frequent in the climbing-developed countries nowadays.