Part of what first drew me to climbing was the opportunity for meditation, the necessity to focus on my movements and to remain absolutely present within myself, denying my mind its usual, incessant chatter. This has been key for me, and is probably my main motivation for going back to the rope again and again – yes, I love being in nature, and pushing the bounds of my own physicality, and even the rushes of adrenaline have grown on me. But when I really think about it, my greatest gratitude on the wall is everything that is not there with me.

So alluring is this release that it is becoming difficult to prioritize the other aspects of my life, counterintuitively, when I consider actual meditation and other meditative arts. It has always been my understanding that similar strategies of those seeking peace are useful in bringing balance to one’s world, not throwing it entirely off kilter.

Yet I can feel myself slipping into a cycle of reward behavior and dopamine release that rivals every drug I have ever done. I am both gifted and cursed with a personality of extremes, the tendency to throw the entirety of myself into that which I love and to be consumed by my own fervor, to both live and die by the sword of my passion. Which of those this new obsession will be remains to emerge, but until then I set my course for the sun.

Andrew Tristan Lenec grew up at the foot of one of the East Coast’s most popular climbing destinations, and has still never touched any rock there. He enrolled at the New School University in Manhattan to study Creative Writing before leaving the city and moving to Hawaii, where he eventually received a degree in Music and was discovered by climbing. After spending time in Australia and the Pacific, Andrew moved to Boulder to pursue the sport and in a futile attempt to sate his wanderlust. He is currently an Instructor at ABC Kids Climbing and, when not working with children, can usually be found in one of the city’s many parks with his nose as far in a Kindle as one’s nose can be, because actual printed books are unfortunately too heavy and cumbersome to travel around with constantly.