Why I…..With Joe
Here we have Joe Partridge telling us about his passion for climbing and what it means to him.
“Have you got me?” I shout down at Tom, who replies “you’re good, you’re above the pad”.
Not that it would have made much of a difference at this point anyway, but still. I needed something to settle my leg which was dead set on doing its best Elvis impression…
I’m at the top of Blown Away, a highball 7b (V8) boulder in Magic Wood Switzerland, and I’m bricking it. I can’t find a decent foot hold for love nor money, and all my ability to climb has evacuated my mind. Leaving me stranded five or six metres off the deck contemplating why on earth I do this stupid shit.
After what feels like an eternity, I finally commit to a foothold and hoist myself up onto the final section of slab and clamber to safety. Where I sit with my head in my hands and finally begin to breathe again. I’ve put my spotters through torture, scared the bejesus out of myself (yet again), and for what? Climbing for me often comes down to a grade, but it wasn’t about that this time.
I’ve not got a head for heights (you should see me on a rope), but I’m determined to get over it. So climbing tall lines which are outside my comfort zone are just a part of the process of overcoming this fear.
Climbing has been the only constant in my life over the past three years through some pretty trying moments. It’s the sole reason for some of the best times I could have ever hoped for. It’s my social life, it’s my job and it’s my passion. But most importantly of all perhaps, it is my greatest teacher. It is an endless pursuit of self betterment.
Through climbing you learn that failure is your best friend, the success is just a small part of the picture. You learn what it really means to try hard, and what it feels like to still not be good enough despite giving it your all. Then, if you’re lucky, you learn to sit with this feeling, and let it stoke the fire to go even harder next time.
My name is Joe, and this is why I climb.