The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

Everyone gets into climbing for different reasons. For me, it was a bit of a slow process, but there was an obvious turning point; a time when it went from a reason to go camping somewhere new and to see new places, to everything in my life revolving around it.

My first time outside was a New Year's Eve trip to HorsePens 40. I mainly went because some of my friends were going, and it seemed like a fun way to bring in the new year. I remember heading home with barely any skin on my fingertips, and I think I went a couple more times that year. I can remember the precise moment when things really changed for me: A last minute trip to the Red River Gorge with some friends I had made through climbing. It was the last day of the trip and I had really started to get a feel for the place. One of them suggested I try Wild Yet Tasty, one of the classics at Left Flank. I tried it three or four times and it came down to one move that I was falling on about halfway up the climb. I can still remember the hesitation and staring that hold down, thinking to myself "If I don't grab this hold, it may be months before I'm back here again to try this".

That trip, and specifically that climb, changed things for me. Weekends started to be planned around climbing trips, vacations started to be planned around larger trips. Eventually I quit my job, moved to Kentucky and spent the Fall helping Lago Linda Campground make pancakes on the weekend and climbing as much as I could. Fast forward almost eight years and I'm living in Chattanooga and still planning my life around how much I can go climbing.

I've always been drawn to a camera and its ability to capture these incredibly precise moments. 1/500th of a second is such a short time but it can hold so much. If someone would have been there to capture the moment just before latching that hold years ago, the photo would have held the start of a journey that has made me happier, healthier and probably more more confident than I would have ever been without it.

The photos captured here are of some friends that have been climbing for a while, so I doubt they hold the value of such a journey—but you never know when something big is about to start.

Climber and photo enthusiast living in Chattanooga, TN