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Rock Climbing is Too Hard. One Lifelong Climber Considers Quitting And Taking the Easy Road.

This feature by award-winning author Jeff Jackson first appeared in Rock and Ice, July 2020. We love this story and are republishing it here so you can get inspired, too. has over 3,000 articles and stories you can access with an Active Pass. Click this link to begin enjoying even more Rock and Ice content today.


I one-fell my Ultimate Project on a Saturday. A few days later, Michael Victorino, the mayor of Maui, issued the stay-at-home order about to take effect. I had cruised the first nine bolts and gotten to the rest fresh enough to trade out in the horizontal and think, This could be it. I might finally send.

I released the foot jam and swung like a tamarin, stabbed my toe at the shoulder-level horn out right and stuck it, locked down and grabbed a little sloping edge no bigger than a pencil and greasy as a Schüblig sausage. Boned up, flagged hard and started to cross when my fingers snapped off the edge and I plunged through the gulf, arms whirling, machine-gunning expletives, ungainly as a dodo bird.

After boinking, I pulled on without resting and sent the route to the top. Uncle Chris Janiszewski lowered me, and we bumped fists (remember bumping fists?).

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