Should You Base Your Entire Life Around Bouldering | An Ethical Inquiry

The Buttermilks.

Today I would like to address a question that I know has been on many of your minds but that doesn’t seem to be talked about too much on the internet: Should you drop everything and base your entire life around bouldering?

Now, I know when most of you read this question your knee jerk reaction is: Fuck yes, are you kidding me? What else are you going to do? Get a job and a career and work in an office and hate yourself?

But I also know that most of you probably appreciate the nuances the answer to this question implies. For example: What does it mean to base your ENTIRE life around bouldering? Are you allowed to talk about other things? Are you allowed to date someone who doesn’t boulder? Are you allowed to THINK about other things? Are you allowed to participate in other sports, just as a “fun” break for bouldering or as cross training? Are you allowed to read literature that’s not bouldering related or not a bouldering guidebook? Are you allowed to watch YouTube videos that aren’t about bouldering?

This blog post promises the answers to all these questions and more.

But first let’s start with the person who, for whatever reasons, is DEBATING whether or not to give his/her life over to the dark lord of bouldering. Now, I’m tempted to say this person is already too far gone. If you’re DEBATING whether or not to give your life over to bouldering, you don’t DESERVE to give your life over to bouldering. In fact, you don’t deserve to ever again touch the following substances: granite, sandstone, and volcanic tuff (and also derivatives of these substances like the mythical granodiorite 😻😻😻😻😻). Schist you’re allowed to touch. You can touch all the fucking schist you want (I tore my LCL climbing schist). But let’s for a moment give this person the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say they’re debating turning their life over to bouldering because they got into it fairly late in life, they have a gaggle of kids, a demanding job, blah blah blah. OK, I mean, it’s not that hard. The job? Quit it. The kids? Throw ’em in the river. Or better yet move the whole family into the van, and that way the kids will start bouldering at a young age and they can grow up to be the next Drew Ruanas and Alex Puccios and you can live vicariously through them when you’re at the Buttermilks and they’re demolishing V16 and you’re flailing V4. And if they DON’T get good at bouldering, you can throw ’em in the river.


OK I kind of lost my train of thought.

Oh yeah, we were talking about convincing someone who is the on the fence whether or not to turn their life over to bouldering.

You know what? No convincing. Let them live a life of sin (aka not bouldering). It is not our job to convert people to the light.

Let’s get to the questions posed at the beginning of this post:

What does it mean to base your ENTIRE life around bouldering? 

It means that when you wake up you watch a bouldering video, and then you do some hangboarding, and then you grunt a bit. That’s basically it.

Are you allowed to talk about other things?


Are you allowed to think about other things?

Absolutely not.

Are you allowed to date someone who doesn’t boulder?

Good one.

No, seriously, bouldering should be your ONLY criteria when it comes to choosing a partner. But how hard he/she/they send doesn’t necessarily need to be the main criteria. Stoke level is much more important. Is she willing to get in a car and say, tomorrow, drive 16 hours to Bishop? She’s a keeper.

Are you allowed to read literature that’s not about bouldering or a bouldering guidebook?

Yes. Maybe. Kind of. You’re ALLOWED to read other books, but each night you should open up to a random page of your Joshua Tree Guidebook (the Bishop guidebook is also acceptable), pick a random problem, and pray to it. Pray to the dogs of granite, the dogs of quartzite, the dogs of beta, the beta dogs, the dogs of Lone Pine, the dogs of Nevada, the dogs of heel hooks and the dogs of bouldering pads.

Oh also Karl Ove Knausgaard and Roberto Bolaño get a free pass.

OK, well there you have it, I haven’t really addressed the question posed in the title of this post AT ALL, but I haven managed to talk about bouldering a bit and to ramble for 800 words. Thank you for coming along on this illuminating journey.

See you in the climbing gym.