I'm not thinking about anything when I'm climbing, which is part of the appeal. I'm focused on executing what's in front of me.
I know that when I'm standing alone below a thousand-foot wall, looking up and considering a climb, my sponsors are the furthest thing from my mind. If I'm going to take risks, they are going to be for myself - not for any company.
I suppose being a bit of an antisocial weirdo definitely honed my skills as a soloist. It gave me a lot more opportunities to solo lots of easy routes, which in turn broadened my comfort zone quite a bit and has allowed me to climb the harder things without a rope that I've done now.
You might get run over; you might get hit by lightning. I mean, who knows? Each day, there is a chance you might die. And there's nothing wrong with that. Every living being on Earth is facing that same existential rift.
To be clear, I normally climb with a rope and partner. Free-soloing makes up only a small percentage of my total climbing. But when I do solo, I manage the risk through careful preparation. I don't solo anything unless I'm sure I can do it.
So many people condemn me for risk taking, but I find it sort of hypocritical because everybody takes risks. Even the absence of activity could be viewed as a risk. If you sit on the sofa for your entire life, you're running a higher risk of getting heart disease and cancer.
I often joke that I've just become a professional schmoozer. Like, nobody cares how well I can rock climb anymore. It just has to do with how well I can schmooze.
No matter the risks we take, we always consider the end to be too soon, even though in life, more than anything else, quality should be more important than quantity.
Anytime you finish a climb, there's always the next thing you can try.
My comfort zone is like a little bubble around me, and I've pushed it in different directions and made it bigger and bigger until these objectives that seemed totally crazy eventually fall within the realm of the possible.
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