The most common question I get asked by curious non-climbers is, “Why?” By which I think they mean, “”What would compel a sane person to want to spend as much time as possible dangling off the side of a cliff?”
I could answer something along the lines of how you are never fully alive until you look down between your feet to see… nothing. Or, how standing on top of a mountain makes you feel simultaneously invincible and insignificant. Or, how there is simply no better way to spend a day than by being outside… But I won’t. What I discovered recently is that there is a very practical and sensible reason to be happy in high places.
A few weeks ago we were out on my daughter and son-in-law’s sailboat. We tacked just as a big gust caught us and handily fouled the foresail. In the aftermath (which involved a lot of flapping lines and waving arms and scrambling around to get the sail back where it was meant to be) we managed to send a spreader boot flying off the end of the spreader and into Finlayson Arm where it sank in hundreds of feet of icy cold water.
After procuring new pair, I was delighted to be sent up the mast to install the shiny new spreader boots. Securely fastened with rigger’s tape, they will help provide a smooth non-snagging surface for wayward halyards.
See? Slipping into a climbing harness and heading up, up, up is about the most fun a climber can have on a boat!
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