Making The Most Of Your Climbing Opportunities

By Bryan Gilmore, 24 March 2014

  • DATE

    24 March 2014


    Bryan Gilmore


    Rock Climbing

Things were about to change. My wife got into grad school in Boston starting in January, and I had an alpine trip to Patagonia scheduled to leave in early November. Long story short, I had to try to cram all of my "unfinished business" into a short, finite time period.

Having goals is great, but danger comes from having too broad an array of goals. Instead, you need to be very specific. I lived in the San Juan mountains of Southern Colorado for the last decade and I basically wanted to do everything. Well, seasons would come and go and if I didn't tick something off the list, no problem…there was always next season. Wrong!

I had just built my garage with an amazing woody training wall, content that my mountain home base and training facility would help me achieve my long list of local goals, when my wife applied to her graduate program. In the blink of an eye, it seemed, we were planning a trip to Argentina, arranging to have my mother-in-law help out with our daughter, trying to sell our house, flying around the country for grad school interviews, flying to Patagonia, tying up loose ends. The list went on. Things went from cruise control to out of control and my poor list of goals pretty much got scrapped.

I somehow found a way to focus what little free time I had to nick a few items off that long list. But there's still a lot more I wanted to do, and some I'll be revisiting. I spilled a couple of my secrets, knowing conditions were perfect and it was eight years ago that I last saw ice in that chimney! I'd be lying if I told you I'm not disappointed in myself for passively letting time slip by. On the bright side, I did send my hardest boulder problem to date, climbed the amazing Morning Glory on the Ophir Wall, established some amazing new pitches in the Black Canyon, and scrapped my way up some great early season ice. But more is always better, and now I just have a list of things I wanted to do.

Well, no more whining. I now live in Boston, just down the road from pretty much every premier crag in the northeast. I’ve got a new journal, I'm making a list and really concentrating on the routes that inspire me. And I encourage you to do the same. Sit down and be honest with yourself, what is it you want to do? Now write it down in pen, put it somewhere you will see it often, and don't put it off.

Bryan Gilmore


​Bryan started climbing at age 16 in his high school outdoor program (yes they did exist in the 80’s). But, didn’t really learn how to climb until much later. So, in reality – he has been climbing for far less time than pure mathematical law would like you to believe… say, 10 years. Traditionally eschewing everything except ground-up trad climbing, he luckily stumbled upon some friends that had heard of this great thing called sport climbing and has since seen great personal growth in all the varied disciplines climbing has to offer.

While he enjoys long, remote alpine routes as much as any narcissist, Bryan’s true quest in life is in searching out the best cup of espresso. Among his favorite route list in his journal is a similar list of the finest coffee shops he has stumbled upon. One day he hopes to publish the “50 Classic Cafes of North America”.