The crampons fit awkwardly around my cheap walking boots but the satisfying crunch they make with every footstep elevates them to the best footwear I have ever owned. Up ahead our Chilean guide points out a deep crevasse and with nonchalance informs us that this will be our first climb of the day.
Three years later and I’m in the throws of a full on climbing addiction but one very different from my first day of climbing in Chile. I have become obsessed with climbing hard, improving and getting to the next grade. Many climbers talk about the two biggest attractions of the sport; progression and adventure as two mutually exclusive ideals. If you want adventure you have to accept that you will be a low grade bumpler who’s mearly playing at climbing and if you want to be an uber wad you have to exchange the sights and sounds of alpine peaks for a stopwatch and a bedroom fingerboard.
But does it have to be this way? It is so easy to slip into this way of thinking, you are either a boulderer who at the end of his climb has performed the most technically demanding move he is physically capable of but is only 5 metre off the ground or you are an alpanist who has done little more than walk slowly up hill but is on top of the world.
If you want to excel in aything you have to specialise, but I have always been a jack of all trades, I want to experience everything that climbing has to offer. I may reach for both and seize neither, I’ll have to make sure I have a good belayer.