climber

All posts by Chris Barlow

Alias

Chris Barlow

Hometown

Boulder, CO

Motivation to Climb

As grandiose as it may sound, climbing is for me the perfect metaphor for life. We work toward goals, learn from failure, manage the risks, and sometimes - through some hard work and daring - get to experience a brief moment of transcendence. Much like in the rest of life, the quality of the experience is only as good as the quality of the people we climb with. As much as I’m driven to continue pushing myself to face new challenges, it’s ultimately about what I share with my partners and the friendships and community that climbing builds.

Most Memorable Climb

In 2004, my buddy and I climbed a new rock route on Huamasharaju, a peak in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. After topping out the wall, we scrambled and kicked steps up the final snowfield to the summit and then slowly descended the same snowfield. We rigged the first rappel down the wall just as the sun dipped below the horizon. Needless to say, it was a long descent in the dark. When we finally got to the base of the wall and began hiking down to our camp, probably close to midnight at this point, we discussed whether or not we were having an “epic” and, after a long and circuitous debate that analyzed the various criteria for having an “epic," agreed that we were not. The climb itself was incredibly big and committing for me at the time, but what I really remember was the satisfaction of doing something so big, something so “out there,” and having the fortitude and trust in my partner just to keep moving back to camp, and even having a pretty absurd conversation along the way.

Favorite Climbing Spot

There are a few areas that I keep coming back to: Red Rocks, Yosemite, the Obed River of Tennessee, and the South Platte of Colorado, because I love the climbing in each of them. Still, the spot that I feel the most drawn to, partly for the climbing and partly for the aesthetic and lifestyle associated with it, is Indian Creek. There’s something about the rawness of the country, the wildness, contrasted by the enthusiasm and warmth that it cultivates in climbers that always seems to draw me to the Creek.

Bio

Chris has been climbing since age 11. Without doubt, the pursuit of climbing has been the single greatest driving force in his life. Chris has traveled extensively to climb, from North Carolina to California, Washington to Texas, British Columbia, Mexico, and the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. He loves nearly every aspect and challenge of climbing, from bouldering to remote alpine big walls, with a special love of hard traditional climbing. Chris loves the complex challenges trad climbing offers: having the strength to do the moves, the ingenuity to protect the pitch, and the focus to manage the risk. Recently, Chris has become more interested in the creative aspects of climbing with an ever growing love of exploring unclimbed terrain, whether it’s bolting new routes at a local crag or pushing a new line up a remote bigwall. Professionally, Chris is a high school teacher. While his main subject area is English, he has been fortunate enough to work in schools where he also can share his passion for the wilderness and climbing with students. Ultimately, Chris thinks that climbing is about having fun with good people, sharing the common challenge of pushing past our perceived limits and exploring new possibilities.

[full bio]

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