I kinda feel ashamed when I set out to race the clock. I love climbing because I love being outside, seeing beautiful places, and exploring my own physical limits. Ego driven competition is for meathead sports and macho show-offs.
But I love speed climbing, and especially trying to break records on my favorite routes! So how do I reconcile this contradiction?
Why I like climbing speed records:
-When at the crags, climbing fast means climbing more. Or maybe just getting back home in time for dinner instead of epic-ing all night.
-In the big, remote mountains, with short and uncertain weather windows, speed in essential to success and safety. Moving efficiently and quickly over complicated terrain is the difference between sending (and sitting out a storm back safely in base camp) and fighting off hypothermia in a snow cave for days.
-Quantifying speed (racing the clock) allows you to measure improvement, and prompts you to think creatively. If you try hard on a route, yet still don’t get the time you want, you’re forced to reevaluate your strategy and consider innovative tactics. Perhaps you’ll simul-climb, shortfix, take lighter/less gear, or simply break up pitches differently.
It’s not about ego and one-up-manship, it’s about training and having fun. Records are silly, but we all find silly ways to motivate ourselves.