In 2016 at the International Climbers’ Festival in Lander, Wyoming, we held a “love letter to climbing” contest. Ana Ally was the winner, this is her letter. Enjoy.
Banner photo of the author by Scott Keating
Climbing, my love. As I sit here, I struggle to find the right words to describe you. I am about to embark on a philosophical journey of the ages. The masters have all tried to tackle this. Tried to describe an ineffable beauty. But how do I even begin? Where do I start? Should I try to express how you make me feel?
How you influence my every dream. My entire existence. When it’s just you and me together, my hands moving along your rock hard exterior, slipping into your pockets, sliding between your two inch cracks. Nothing else in the world matters. Sometimes I wake up from a dream to find myself reaching in front of me, my hand in the air, curling my thumb in against my palm.
It only took one hand jam to know I was yours forever. One hand jam to know that I was completely and utterly in love with you. When I find myself in one of your jam cracks and I slide my hands in, I know I’m safe. I know you have me. I know I won’t fall out. Sometimes, I just want to feel my bare hands against your hard rock. I know it’s dangerous, I know I could hurt myself, but there is just something so thrilling, so titilating, about unprotected jamming.
Feeling you right there against me as I carefully place my hand inside you. Sometimes it hurts a little, but secretly I think I might love that too. Your every form, whether it be sandstone, granite, or limestone, has its own unique beauty. It’s own inspiring line. Without question, you are my one true love. Forever and always, through the crux, through the choss, and beyond.
Your love, Ana
Ana Ally (pronounced Ah-nah, like marijuana) is a climber, backpacker, and self-proclaimed nerd who just wants to spend her time laughing and playing in the great outdoors, collecting experience and exploring the Earth. Graduating college in 2015, she promptly moved into her Subaru, drove west, and hasn’t looked back.
This story is published in The Climbing Zine Book, now available.
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About us: The Climbing Zine was started in 2010 by Al Smith III and Luke Mehall. It continues to the day with the mission of representing the true essence of climbing. Our crown jewel is our printed version, but we also do the interweb thing, and Kindle.
We have also published six books: The Desert, Graduating From College Me, American Climber, The Great American Dirtbags , Climbing Out of Bed, and Squeak Goes Climbing In Yosemite National Park (a climbing children’s book) .