Busteni, Transylvania, Romania. Home to one of five Ice Climbing World Cup events.
A year and a half ago I made the drastic decision to drop out of school and get my GED, with the thought of following my passions for climbing to some place great. For about a month after the decision was made, I would drive past my old high school and scoff at the kids inside being taught, what was to me, meaning-less crap. That feeling soon wore off, and I moved to Bozeman to “advance” in my climbing “career”. I began taking climbing very seriously, and forgot about the joy I used to get from it. It became my job. I decided to move back to Billings and take a break from it.
I didn’t climb at all for almost two months. It was a total, beautiful detox. I then started back up again as soon as ice climbing came back around. Every morning before I went climbing I reminded myself that I only do it for fun. That passion of coarse re-surfaced, along with new-found confidence.
Sometime in November I got asked to climb in the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival’s first speed climbing competition. I of coarse said yes, as free stuff was offered no matter what you place in the comp. I lost in the first round to none other than my dad. Imagine that. But afterwards a man named Marc Beverly approached me and asked me a simple question-“Have you ever thought about competing in the world cup?” I laughed nervously because the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind, being that the first time I really dry-tooled was exactly one year before. He told me he wasn’t joking, and to just call him, and we would talk about it.
Later that week I called him expecting him to tell me a little about the world cup, and maybe see if I wanted to consider doing it the next year. Instead, he asked me if I was serious about it, I replied yes, and he replied – okay, well you better get your passport. It wasn’t until then that I realized he was talking about going this year.
So in the next week I did all the logistics. I applied for my passport, got a hotel room, figured out ground transportation, and bought a plane ticket.
Now I train.
I train just about every day, taking one or two days off a week, depending on how broken down my body feels. I also completely changed my diet, cutting out almost all refined sugar, and refined flour.
In a matter of two weeks, my life changed. I see my parents less, and climb a hell of a lot more. Running laps on very steep dry-tooling routes until my arms feel like they are falling off, then when I get home I do intense core workouts, always hanging from the tools. I figure as long as I hold on to the tools, I won’t fall.
The challenge through all of this is remembering why I do it. I have committed my life to climbing just about 100%, but it doesn’t mean anything if I am not enjoying it. The pressure of being seventeen, and expected to climb at world cup level can sometimes become over-whelming, but when it does, I just remember those times climbing with my dad, or Forrest, or Parker, or my many other climbing partners when the world seems infinite, and nothing can go wrong. As Lowe said himself – “the best climber in the world is the one having the most fun.”
So wish me luck in Romania, and keep checking in for more updates!