"We live in Lawrence, Kansas, my friend, a small college town lost in a sea of plains. If by local crag you mean a two-hour drive to some crumbling, dripping limestone in Missouri, then sure, that's our local crag."
Simon Richardson shares his inspiration: Giusto Gervasutti. "As a teenager, consumed by a newfound passion for mountaineering, I had a voracious appetite for climbing books. I read my way through the school library and then the local town library, seeking out more adventures and experiences on the written page, so that I could gauge my own faltering beginnings in the sport."
Kelly Cordes and Masatoshi Kuriaki share their inspiration. "High Alaska, the classic from Jonathan Waterman, started it all for me. But different writings have influenced me in different ways at different times. For me, influence has come from photos, words and people."
There are over a hundred lines in the Ouray Ice Park, but—if you're actually looking to climb—any veteran's recommendation is: "Wake up at 6 a.m., claim a line, and lap it all day. Best of luck." Yet competition morning, January 12th, was different, if only for a few minutes.
"It may sound strange, but it was as though a period of my life was ending this spring. At first I was grieving for the past and very lost, but eventually I had to learn how to let go, and I entered a new life."
There are a multitude of reasons we climb—more often than not they are expressed in pithy, sound-bite phrases like Mallory's "Because it's there." Within, Mike Robertson offers a reason more satisfying.