A year ago, I moved to Colorado. It was an onsight attempt, since I had never even visited before.
But I committed to the move and started route-finding. And while I’ve definitely gone off route more than a few times, this has been the best climb of my life. It’s been an intense year, and I’ve faced challenges and fears and sadness, yet I’ve also learned and grown and had so much fun.
When I first moved here, I immediately got a gym membership, because my climbing gym was basically where I lived in Boston.
I cancelled that gym membership in February when I realized I could climb outside pretty much year-round here. Last year, I climbed 36 pitches total outdoors. This year, I have climbed 364.
The first time I climbed outside in Colorado, I was so terrified on the approach that I stayed at the bottom, trying to psyche myself up for quite some time before someone came back down to help me.
Yesterday, I scrambled up that same approach with barely a second thought.
I couldn’t even clean sport anchors when I got here.
Now I’m a self-sufficient sport leader. I can set up a single-pitch climb and clean it when I’m done. I’ve led multi-pitch sport, become comfortable setting up my own rappel, and I can follow trad (while only losing a few nuts along the way).
And it’s not just my climbing that has changed.
When I moved here I lived in downtown Denver and spent hours on the bus to get around (though I appreciate that public transit could almost always get me where I wanted to go, even if it took awhile).
Now I live in Golden, closer to mountains and nature, and I have a car (though I do still try to walk as much as I can).
Most importantly, when I left Boston, I left behind a community of true friends. I still miss them all the time, but they’re still my friends.
And now I have a whole new community of friends who are just as special to me. If I hadn’t made the move, I wouldn’t have ever met them. And my life would be worse for it.
As I was reflecting on my year here in Colorado, I realized, although I’ve moved around a lot, this is the first time I moved without a reason, other than “it felt right.” And now that I’m here, it feels even more like home than I imagined it would.
I’m tied into this place. I love it here, and even when things are hard, I feel secure because my friends are checking my knot and supporting me.