No items found.

  • Murderball: Two Longtime Friends Face Rockfall and Sudden Injury
  • Devil's Delight: Devils Head is Colorado's Treasure
  • Living With A Very Serious Climber
  • John Long's Favorite 5.10
  • The Rock Rambo: A "Tough Mudder" For Climbers
  • The Pirate: Adventures with Ammon McNeely
  • Call of the Wild: America's Hardest Crag - Wolf Point - Is Just a Vision
  • Berni's Tips for the Climbing Road Trip
  • What I've Learned: Heinz Mariacher
  • The Sasha DiGiulian Profile
  • What I've Learned: Chris Sharma
  • Durango Unchained
  • Tipping Point on Everest
  • Tales of Sickness: Pro Climbing is Neither
  • Climbing Deal Breakers
  • Alex Honnold's First Ascent in Memory of Todd Skinner
  • The Seeker: Said Belhaj
  • The Art of Losing
  • Tommy Caldwell: What I've Learned
  • Dave Graham: Looking Backward
  • To the Death: Inside Catalunya and Ridiculously Hard Sport Climbing
  • The Definitive Charlie Porter Profile & Interview
  • Sonnie Trotter's Favorite 5.10: Exasperator (5.10c)
  • Unbroken: The Alex Johnson Profile
  • What I've Learned: John Bachar's Last Interview
  • Bishop Bound: The Boulders and Beyond
  • The Eiger the Hard Way: Britain's Boldest Take on the North Face
  • Royal Robbins on the First Ascent of the North American Wall
  • Perfect Play: What It Took to Climb La Dura Dura (5.15c)--The World's Hardest Route
  • TNB: The Only Blasphemy
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
  • Return to Yosemite
  • TNB: What's the Problem?
  • To the Rescue
  • The Midwest Mindset
  • Point Break: Fight Over Fixed Draws
  • Soul Rising: In Pursuit of the South's Most Excellent 5.9s
  • TNB: The Jungle
  • Comic Relief
  • Shoot Like Simon Carter
  • TNB: The Hurt Locker
  • TNB: Eating People and the Real Seventh Summit
  • Rock Climbing Nutrition: Power Your Climbing With Whole Foods
  • What's Supp?
  • Top Digs
  • The Upstart
  • The Stone Garden
  • The Hard Way
  • The Eyes Have It
  • The Bond
  • The Better Half
  • Talk is Cheap
  • Ray's Roof Solo
  • Melt Down
  • Making The Grade
  • Landscaping
  • John Long: The Real Deal
  • John Long: Slaying Giants
  • John Long: High Times
  • The Stonemasters Climb at Pirates Cove
  • Jimmie Dunn
  • Is Mixed Climbing Legitimite?
  • In the Land of Myths
  • Getting High and Feeling Good
  • Generational Shift
  • G.I. YO!
  • Freaky Folklore
  • Empire Blocks
  • Divine Wind
  • Dave MacLeod versus Dave Birkett
  • Climbing Jobs, Benefits and Salaries
  • Climbing Jobs
  • Clever Levers
  • TNB: Chris Sharma and The Art of Jeep Maintenance
  • Charlie Fowler American Alpinist
  • Bastard Child
  • Avoiding Arthritis
  • Arco Climbing Comp, the Face of 2010
  • John Long: A Man for All Seasons
  • TNB: American Dirtbag
  • Murder At Cho Oyu
  • John Long: The Royal Scam
  • John Long: The Only Rule That Counts
  • John Long: On the Road
  • John Long: Nothing but Rubble
  • John Long: Mountains of Trouble
  • John Long: Legends of the Mind
  • John Long: Legend of Lord Gym
  • John Long: Guilty Pleasures
  • John Long: Channel Surfing
  • John Long: A Confederacy of Dunces
  • Tom Frost and Yosemite's Lost Climbing Photos
  • Moving Over Stone
  • Disco Dance Party on the Blob
  • Video Spotlight
    Chris Sharma - Back in Business! Second Ascent of Joe Mama (5.15a)
    Chris Sharma - Back in Business! Second Ascent of Joe Mama (5.15a)

    What I've Learned: Chris Sharma


    Photo by <a target="_blank" href="">Keith Ladzinski</a>.

    First published in Rock and Ice No. 196 - September 2011

    My purest moments of climbing were at Panther Beach in Santa Cruz—making up eliminates, climbing barefoot. You’re trying the hardest moves you can—you’re not trying to get anything out of it. No recognition, no redpoint, just unencumbered movement. That’s the essence of climbing. Pure playfulness.

    We put a lot of emphasis and importance on climbing and make it a big part of our identities. I’ve seen people beat their heads against the wall, turn climbing into this self-loathing thing. 

    I’ve never forced myself to go climbing, never been super disciplined. It’s something I’ll be doing my whole life, so I’ve always taken a long-term approach. Listen to your motivation so that when it comes, it’s genuine and natural and you’re having fun. That’s the key to climbing for a long time. 

    The most fun part of climbing for me is finding a new line, discovering the holds and the sequence. That’s the coolest part, when you’re not sure something goes and then you find a sequence that you could never have imagined. That moment of discovery. I think that’s where sport climbing crosses over into adventure—treading into the unknown, not sure what you’ll find and then you find the path that nature provides. After that comes the work: putting in the bolts and actually redpointing. That’s the slog, the grind. It’s fun, but it’s work.

    I’m a redpoint climber. Some people like to go onsighting. I like to work on really hard projects because they give me purpose and are always such big learning experiences. Biographie (5.15a) was the first big challenge I’d faced like that. It took me four years to complete, finally sending it when I was 20. Biographie taught me unwavering commitment. 

    We’re always looking to get something at a good price—I want to do this or that route in a few tries. In the end, a hard project takes a lot of work, getting to that point where you are totally committed, and willing to do whatever it takes. Once you reach that committed state, however, the send actually comes relatively quickly because you’re not worried about doing it on this try, or the next try. My best redpoints are when I’m not expecting it, just going for it without any attachment to doing it on that try.

    That said, it’s not like you learn these things once, and then you’ve figured it out and you’re free from all the mental traps you fall into during the redpoint process. I go through the same stages with every big project: becoming attached to it, then learning how to let go of it while still being committed to doing it. 

    This is the great paradox of redpointing. To be able to climb something at your limit, you have to want it more than anything. But wanting it more than anything can get in the way of doing it. 

    Obviously, climbing has to mean something. It has to be important for us to dedicate so much time and energy to it. But in the end, we’re all just scampering around on rocks. One rock might have slightly smaller holds than the other, but so what? Climbing is a trivial pursuit, but it’s something we do because in the moment it feels good. 

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article: