Climbing- The Meditative Sport

SUU is home to hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts. Like many of his peers, Scott Adair moved to Cedar City for one specific reason: to rock climb.

IMG_2879With the university located so close to national parks and other wilderness areas, there is always a place to climb.

Growing up in Logan, Adair and his family have always been surrounded by mountains. Almost all family activities required being outside.

He and his five siblings all learned several sports at a young age. When he was 14, he became interested in rock climbing. After placing second in a climbing competition, he found himself seemingly addicted to the sport.

“With five guys and one girl in the family, things always get competitive,” Adair said. “[Rock climbing] is nice because you don’t have to compete with anyone except yourself.”

When climbing, Adair says he is his own main opponent.

“It’s nice to see that progress in yourself,” he explained. “Each move feels like a tiny accomplishment. Getting to the top is nice but when you execute a tough move you can just feel it… Knowing your body is capable of that is very rewarding.”

IMG_1040Since being at SUU, Adair has focused his free time on “multi-pitch” climbs. A traditional pitch, or route, averages about half the length of one rope (80-120 ft). Adair’s recent climbs, however, are often over 2,000 feet high.

The individual moves on these climbs are not as intense as shorter routes, but like a marathon, the taller the wall, the more endurance is required to complete it.

“The nitty-gritty of each move isn’t very difficult, but it’s more about conserving energy,” Adair said. “It’s both a mental and physical challenge.”

Rock climbing’s combination of physical exertion, problem solving, technique and safety awareness might seem overwhelming for some. For Adair, climbing does the complete opposite.

“The biggest reason I love to climb is because it’s very meditative,” he said. “It is kind of like a therapy… It helps me calm down and the combination of everything it requires really puts me into a more focused space.”

IMG_2896This form of “natural therapy” has proven helpful in Adair’s college life. Though busy working and preparing for medical school, he has recognized how important it is to get outside.

The stress that comes from school is so immense, it really helps me to get out and climb,” he claimed. “It sounds weird because you’d think school work drains you. But for me it makes me energized and anxious, so climbing is a way to bank that anxiety. I can unleash that pent up energy.”

With graduation right around the corner, Adair is aware his time in southern Utah is limited and hopes to schedule in as many adventure climbs as he can before he leaves.

Story By: Ansleigh Mikesell
Photos Provided By: Scott Adair