Tyler is undoubtedly one of the best boulderers in the world, this is undisputed. Climbing with him is a dismaying feat most of the time and I think that there are two human reactions to seeing such a thing every single day. The dismay can be too much and it can result in personal trouble because of a loss of perspective on one’s own climbing, or, it can act as a source of inspiration. For me it’s most definitely inspiring and it causes me to try and raise my game whenever possible. Making the impossible seem not only possible but also easy is something I really do like to see. To the common bystander it probably looks rather ordinary, with a young man easily climbing up a bit of rock. It’s only when I step on to the rock that the bystander asks “why can’t that guy climb” when instead they should be asking “what have I just witnessed!?”.

A facet of climbing that I think is particularly wonderful is that it can be thoroughly enjoyed at any level. From 5 to 8C, when you do something that was genuinely hard or challenging the resulting feeling of surmounting your difficulties is wonderful. Knowing that you were tested and that you succeeded is a great feeling. In climbing this joy isn’t exclusively reserved for those who are amazing, it’s available to every single man, woman, and child. Difficulty is most certainly relative in this game, with an overall schematic of objective difficulty also existing. My brother occassionaly climbs, and he knows what it feels like to do something that once seemed impossible, and I’ve seen the reaction when he’s suddenly made the impossible possible. I’m sure his feeling will have been very similar to my feeling when I did my first hard problem in the forest. This is one of the greatest things in climbing – a solidarity of sorts.

However, there is something to be said about the joys increasing as the grades increase. Whilst there is no causation between higher grades and higher joy, there is possibly correlation. I think the causation comes from the fact that the more time we spend climbing, the more we improve. The more we have invested in climbing, the more we get back from climbing. Knowing that the hardest boulder problem you have ever climbed was the sum total of 5 years of effort, dedication, and desire can only serve to make the success even sweeter. I’m sure Doylo was beyond ecstatic after completing his pill box project after a Jesus like 40 days of effort. I’m certain that his joy was greater than had he done it in 1 day. The difficulty of the process is what tempers us and it’s what makes it better. In that way I think it’s less enjoyable to be a super amazing rock climber, because everything feels easy.

During this trip with Tyler I think the most psyched he has been has not necessarily been when he’s topped out the hardest problems. From what I’ve seen, the most coveted ascents have been those that he really didn’t know if he would be able to do. Those that posed a different or unusual challenge, those with history and those that were far more than the sum of their moves. In my mind, Karma and Duel were 2 moments when he really felt super good, and both are far below his physical limit.

The same is true for all of us. Overcoming a mental hurdle or a physical hurdle (or both) can be the most wonderful feeling in the world and every single climber is lucky enough to have this feeling available to them (for free!) all of the time.