Dear Climbing,

We’ve been seeing each other for over six years and this letter is long overdue. But every day, my heart beats wildly for you. You have brought me to some beautiful places. Because of you, I have experienced some breathtaking views and met some amazing people.

But most of all, I love how you bring out the best and worst parts of me. You take everything I have mentally, physically, and emotionally and yet you offer a safe place for healing. You’ve been there for both hard sends and hard falls (both the kind the break your foot and your heart) and ultimately, I am a healthier, happier, and more driven human because of you.

Nature becomes a great equalizer and through climbing, we’re able to channel emotions through something physical. I love the way the mind and body connect as well as the connections we build with other humans. Finding ways to unplug our lives and instead of looking for the release, letting it find you. Embracing it fully and then resurfacing. Seeing what kind of person we can become when we resurface.

I have climbed to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. I’ve been scared of rattly gear climbing up dirty, crusty 5.9 cracks. I’ve returned to earth by headlamp after rappelling fifteen pitches of pure granite. I’ve eaten cold ravioli out of cans because I was too tired to cook a real dinner. I’ve slept under stars that set the sky on fire on the clearest of nights. I’ve listened to the sound of coyotes howling yip yap songs across the valley and then fallen asleep to the sound a crackling fire in an untamed desert. And then I’ve also fallen asleep to the sound of pure silence entombed in my sleeping bag, my dog sweetly curled up next to my legs and tucked in at the bottom. Because of these experiences, I have become the person that I am today.

They say that experience builds character. I say it builds whole chapters of your life.

So far, we have had a few great chapters together these last few years and I look forward to the adventures to come. Yes, there will be times when things don’t go as planned and life is strange and feels scary, sad and disconcerting. We all have those moments. We all break down but there is always strength to be drawn from your mountains. Thank you for sharing your strength with me—every day, I am becoming a better person because of it.

All of my love,


50 thoughts

  1. Wonderful letter. Funny, I’ve been thinking about getting into climbing, having only done it once in Oregon, when I was dating my boyfriend (now husband). He was a big sport of climbing. This letter has me desiring to sign up for beginner classes. Thanks

  2. Love your love letter, Kathy. Like you I love altitude (although not climbing but just hiking). I like your passage about climbing that brings the best and worst from you. I was afraid of heights for the longest time and hid it from everyone. Including from my first hiking buddies who took me to Half Dome. This first challenging hike changed me forever. Many others followed and although I will always remain careful in the mountains I am no longer afraid of heights and love the feeling of pride that altitude gave me.
    Really great post. Thanks for writing it and to Cheri Lucas Rowland for sharing it on Discover.

  3. Beautiful especially the part about sleeping under the stars or with your dog by your side. It must’ve been amazing!

  4. A dangerous hobby I’d say. Lol. But life has taught us danger could be lurking in any corner even where we deem “very safe”. That said- your love letter reminds me of relationships. It takes us places, creates beautiful memories, adventures. We also encounter rough patches at times, dangerous situations too but our love and passion for it, keeps driving us with unusual determination and passion for more- the wonderful moments outweighs its dangers just as your mountains climbing- I guess. A wonderful write-up author. Thanks for posting.

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  6. Beautifully written, I think every one should write such letter’s to there most passionate friend which motivates them to get up everyday and go on. All the best for your future endeavors.

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