Why Do Women Cry At The Crag?

Paige Claassen:

Over the last few months, I’ve found myself sitting at the base of a project, crying, more and more often. Crying over a rock climb is the worst. The actual crying, reflecting on the crying after I cry, and the dread of knowing that if I fall I will probably cry – these are all humiliating to admit. Crying about a rock climb is even more disgraceful when all day, as I fall and cry and fall and cry, I watch people in the land below who are simply trying to survive. How can I put so much effort and value into something that in reality means so little?

The way each of us expresses our emotions may be different, but there’s no doubt that climbing has the ability to generate strong emotional responses in each of us.  As for me, I don’t recall ever crying while climbing, but in my younger days I know I reacted to failure in ways that make me want to cry just thinking about it today.

Posted In: Asides, Off the Board
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24 Responses to Why Do Women Cry At The Crag?

  1. Ryan September 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    The way she reacted in the recent “Marmot’s Lead Now Tour” video was just plain silly.

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  2. guidoprincess September 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    I get why you might cry, but just like throwing a wobbler, its still immature, pointless, and definitely not something to promote. Its just a rock climb, you are a grown person, get over yourself. This stuff, and the stuff Jen wrote all seems very very “scene” focused, like they spend way too much time thinking they are the absolute shit at their local sport crag. I feel like the majority of us think our sport is about having a great time in the fresh air and seeing cool places. If you find yourself crying, or screaming, or wobbling, or dealing with “men hitting on you” really often, you might consider reexamining the reasons why you climb, or at least go climb somewhere else.

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    • Narc September 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      I don’t know Jen at all, but I doubt this is what Paige thinks about when she is at the crag

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  3. leftyloverbean September 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Uhm, to be fair– she is out doing something REALLY awesome raising money for people and organizations who need it and trying to help promote the climbing community to rally behind something greater than just climbing… which is obviously something she cares about.
    And also, she has chosen to make this her career. I personally respect and admire her for her passion and dedication, and while I don’t know her, but I can assume that if she loves her job THAT much.. then she is obviously doing it right. I have definitely cried after a day at work when I feel like I failed at something I really cared about finishing or like maybe I’m not “good enough.” No matter what we do with our daily lives, we all have different battles.. and personally I think we need more people in this world who go through things with their WHOLE heart and mind into it. I don’t think anyone has a place to judge her on that.

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  4. rob mulligan September 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    I think that’s a really cool statement by Paige. Other women cry too, often men get really pissed. It’s one thing to have to let off steam as Adam Ondra does, it’s another thing to take failure personally and let out emotions that reflect that perceived failure.

    Paige should look deeper into the underlying causes or reasons and try to understand why it’s so personal. Best of success to her journey learning about herself. That’s something we can all take to heart. Just because one can “act” cool and contained doesn’t mean our emotional disposition is healthy, and it’s certainly doesn’t imply maturity.

    Any competitive sport (either within or amongst others) tasks our sense of self worth to the maximum. Being able to reach our max is what we often pursue, but doing so can be painful; at least Paige is honest in seeing the situation and that it’s something needing attention. Realizing how we feel about ourselves has nothing to do with the outcome of our efforts is a good starting point in that journey.

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  5. j September 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Crying over failure during a climbing outing strikes me as somewhat self-indulgent and juvenile, but I have to commend the author for being so forthright and honest about a situation/behavior that does perhaps not cast her in the best light. Such honesty is quite rare in climbing writing and I respect her for being so candid here. Marc Twight would be proud!

    -j

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    • Dan September 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      How can something that is clearly an involuntary reaction be considered self indulgent?

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  6. j September 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    Well, as she mentions in her own analysis, she is overly caught up in her own success/failure in a comparatively trivial endeavor, when people around her struggle for their very existence. And crying is not always involuntary; some actors can cry at will, and people can refrain from breaking into tears by their own volition .

    -j

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    • Dan September 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      That means that climbing is self indulgent, not the crying. And it’s extremely obvious in this case that she would rather not cry and is unable to help herself.

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  7. frag September 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    I don’t see whats wrong with crying… climbing is an extremely intense mental and physical activity. There are many ways to deal with the stress imposed by climbing, and I don’t see crying as any less valid than throwing your shoe, a loud yell (or a few…), or simply blowing a long ass raspberry. The greatest pressure comes from yourself, and not being able to meet your own expectations is as many of you know, extremely disappointing.

    In fact I actually disagree with her when she describes it as trivial… she has built her life around this activity. It is anything but trivial, it’s essential.

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    • Bert September 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      I agree.

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  8. Jamie Emerson September 13, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Paige’s analysis of her own thoughts and emotions regarding her approach to climbing is interesting and well worth the read, but I find it unfair to suggest (as the title of the post seems to do) that all women feel as she feels, simply because she is a woman and so are they.

    From my experience women do cry more at the crag than men do, but the title of the post is a bit misleading because the question is never answered. An analysis of why women cry at the crag would address perhaps differences in hormones between men and women, or perhaps some data on social norms in the way men and women are raised.

    While Paige does a great job of explaining her own reasons for crying, it’s not clear from the post why these reasons apply to all women, or that they are any different for men.

    It’s an interesting subject and kudos to Paige for addressing it in an honest and sincere way.

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    • afield September 13, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      Jamie-
      While Narc undoubtedly has his own reasons for any title choice on the site, I think in this case it might a a response to something incipient in Paige’s post. She points to recent writings two women, and considers her own reactions at crags in the same light as these. The question she actually raises centers around emotional reaction to climbing, but I think because of the way she arranges her post, Narc’s (mis)interpretation is understandable and perhaps even forgivable.

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      • Narc September 13, 2013 at 10:56 am #

        The title is the exact one used on Paige’s post

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        • afield September 13, 2013 at 11:02 am #

          mea culpa

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  9. Jon Britton September 13, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    If you don’t get these burst of positive/negative emotion from climbing then you’re just not trying hard enough 😉

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  10. Cody Jones (@DrJones13) September 13, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    All she is doing is pointing out in a philosophical stand point why should I care about the smallest of things that has no meaning in the larger picture of life in general. This isn’t a debate about why girls cry and boys don’t. The human race is just like any other animal in the animal kingdom. Survive. Why does her mind allow her to cry when there really isn’t anything to cry about. If she was starving for a week because she couldn’t get any food; this would be a reason to cry. But to cry over a climbing fail should not be a catalyst. Everyone questions their existence in life and begs the question why? This is just a moment in her life where she struggles to find meaning and struggles with this question of whats the point?

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  11. Javier LaFontaine September 13, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    The women are delicate. It is why they are beautiful and why they cry. I love the women and do not mind so much when they cry. However, when the men cry, I wish to puke.

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  12. ronnance September 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Just adding a thought from my Zen Buddhism immersion days:
    There are 3 ways to vent stress–anger, crying, laughing with anger being the most detrimental and laughter being the healthiest. Hope this helps someone.

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  13. ronnance September 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    Well now I have to add this thought: after reading my own post, a sweet Yin Yang analogy occurred to me. Since crying and expressions of anger are viewed as feminine and masculine respectively, those two parallel the halves of the Yin Yang symbol. Thus laughter might just be the sinuous line which separates the two and the remedy for both sexes.

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    • Ryan September 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      I like this line of thinking, ronnance. Off topic…but you you have any literature that a noob like me could read (Zen Buddhism related)?

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  14. chris schulte September 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. Paul Reps?
    anything by Alan Watts- very entertaining. Check out his podcasts (archival from the 60s and 70s, and the best way to pump high Wattage)
    DT Suzuki is excellent, but can maybe be a little overwhelming for the beginner.
    The Way of Ch’uang Zu is technically Taoist, but nearly overlaps Zen ideas.
    A plain ‘ol tiny Shambala Pocket Classics- Zen Buddism. Great start!

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    • Ryan September 14, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Thanks, Chris!

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  15. yomama September 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Crying is kinda hot

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