Archive for January, 2013

An Icy Attitude

// January 8th, 2013 // No Comments » // Climbing

Just the other day I had the opportunity to go ice climbing with my good friend Erik.  The snow for skiing was poor so the local crags were a bit more crowded than usual and this forced us to go up into an area that already had climbers on the route.  Many climbers, especially locals, get a little possessive of the home turf and can at times be a bit cranky at the sight of other climbers, but this group on this day was downright hostile.  A bit behind as I approached with Erik, I could hear screaming and yelling pouring down from the cliff as our friend Skyler, who had gone ahead, was being berated by a blast of foul mouthed, foul tempered verbiage unfit for this post.

It was obvious to me that this person had issues far greater than sharing some ice.  This “brocal” (bro-local) was apparently stressed out by the blue sky, time with friends, fresh mountain air, and the enjoyment of a great sport – things which usually cause me to relax and detox any bad attitudes I may have, after all that is what is great about recreation.

After the avalanche of obscenities we decided to chill out by the side of the crag, organize our gear, have a snack and wait patiently for a turn on the ice.  We kept our cool, our attitude ice and not given to the sparks of rage nearby.  To my friends I quoted a scripture “a gentle word turns away wrath” from proverbs.  As difficult as it was we spoke softly and kindly to the demon possessed climbers which I think only inflamed their rage and confounded their small minds.  Fight fire with fire is one approach, but that approach would have certainly ended up in a physical tussle and with crampons, ice axes and the like I believe it would not have ended well especially for a blind climber.

In looking back at the day we ended up having a great time once the others had departed.  My reflection of that time has led me to examine my own attitude towards others and how others can represent opportunity if we have open eyes and arms.  I thought of the first time I met Erik as he and his dog, by invitation of my room mate came to crash on our couch.  What if I had been Mr. Crankypants and had gotten all bent out of shape about a dog or an unannounced guest?  Years of great friendship and many grand adventures would have been missed.

All this to say it reminded me to be open to others for not only is our reputation, even an organization for which we might work, at stake, but there is opportunity awaiting when we are willing to be open to others and sharing a little of what we have.  Who knows what doors others may open for us, or even what doors we may be able to open for them.  We can climb higher together, but some will most likely be left to climb alone.