On Dreams and Dreaming


As a multisport athlete, a bracket I’m slowly and regrettably acknowledging, having big dreams is difficult and very important.  As my self-diagnosed ADD bleeds into my love of outdoor sports, I tend to change tack every 4 months and move into a phase of training and working at another sport (even if it doesn’t match the gospel of Mark Twight to try and be good at more than one thing ). My year tends to look something like this:

Jan: Alpine Climbing

Feb: Kayaking

March: Kayaking

April: Kayaking and Caving

May: Bouldering  and Caving

June: Bouldering and Climbing

July: Splitboarding

August: Splitboarding (a little bit of kayaking getting ready for spring)

September: Splitboarding and Kayaking depending on the weather… really amping up my training for summer

October:  Climbing and Kayaking

November: Climbing and Training for alpine climbing

December: Climbing and Canyoning as training for alpine climbing

Well, as you can see, I can’t sit still. It’s worth noting that I climb this WHOLE time, at least two times a week and often three.

The thing that seems to determine whether I stay psyched on a sport at any point in time though is dreaming. If I can’t see a goal in the near future for the sport, I find it very hard to get psyched to do it at all.

Noted alpinist Muggs Stumps (now) famously kept a photo of the then unclimbed Shark’s fin n Mount Meru hidden behind a Tibetan prayer flag pinned to the inside of his van, Micah Dash kept a photo of his Objectives as his desktop background and then there’s always “Sending Wine.”

Without these big dreams, and notably a reminder in your everyday life, it’s hard to keep putting in the yards or miles in the gym or where ever your ‘test lab’ is to get to where you want to get.  If you never read about the epic trips you don’t think you could do, if you don’t place yourself there in your mind then you will never do them.

Any great climb starts as a line in someone’s mind and then in an artful act, becomes a line on the earth. Some then become lines in a book, an expression others can see and feel for themselves.

The difference to me between the weekend warriors and the ’real climbers’ doesn’t lie in ability, sponsorship or even the number of days a year you climb, It lies in where the motivations come from. The dreamers, readers, planners and then doers are the real climbers. The guys (and gals) who see a photo of a peak, and place themselves there, in their minds are the real climbers. Climbing is not just tagging  along on trips forever. If you really want to progress as a climber (or kayakers, skier etc) stop just following what your mentors think are good lines and find your own.

Pin a photo to your desk and dream big.

Postscript: Sending Wine

Sending wine is a tradition I first heard of a while ago, a tradition that I really like. Before you can have sending wine, you need a project, a dream or a goal. Then you buy a bottle of wine. Good wine, wine you like. It could be a beer even. Write the name of your project on the bottle with a permanent marker. Now you have no excuse to forget.

Send your project and you can drink your wine. Easy as!

I’ve seen Simon carry round a bottle for a while now ( three trips between Sydney and the Grampians can’t be doing it much good) but it’s not about the quality of the wine, It’s about the symbolism, and I’m sure even vinegar would be sweet by the time Simon is done with his epic project.

Because sometimes, waiting, failing, learning and dreaming make the doing all the more worth it.

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4 thoughts on “On Dreams and Dreaming

  1. Do you ever feel like you’re too focused on too many things at once? Outdoor/extreme sports can cost a lot of money. This summer I stopped spending money on skydiving so I could afford to buy a new cross country bike. I feel like I’m always making small sacrifices like that because I never choose just one sport to focus on.

    1. Sometimes I feel that way. more often when conditions for one sport are great but i’m psyched on another. When it all comes down to it i’m way too ADD to stick too one. Im fell liek im converging on just Climbing, Paddling and Splitboarding slowly though.

  2. Nice Post. The last time I bought a bottle of Sending Wine you convinced me that my project was “as good as sent” and the bottle was no more… One of the many dangers of Sending Wine.

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