This just in: there’s plenty to do in the mountains besides climbing them

By Meggan Wenbourne

An autumn sunset over Lake Tahoe – winning!

An autumn sunset over Lake Tahoe – winning!

2015 has been an interesting year for climbers and injuries. It seems everyone I have spoken to recently has had some sort of setback for the season, myself included. It happens to the best of us and sometimes at no fault of our own.  

Until very recently, I was very mopey about not being able to climb the way I was accustomed to climbing, which resembled something like anytime I had free time. When a person is recovering, that is not really feasible anymore and so sometimes you mope about it.   

I was able to speak with an old friend who is also coming back from an injury who brought up the fact that there is so much to do in the mountains besides climbing them. We, as Californians, are so spoiled having the Sierra Nevada range to play in that we often forget just how plentiful the options are in these mountains.

My friend brought up, happily, how he was able to accomplish all his objectives this summer season. Me, knowing he was coming back from a terrible leg injury and baffled that he was able to actually climb at all, asked what big climbing objectives he had ticked off his list. His answer made me realize how much more there is to the Sierra than just climbing. He was able to bag some amazing peaks (Mt. Whitney in particular) that did not require him to risk his recovery nearly as much as if he had climbed them. He got in some lightweight backpacking on the John Muir Trail and even got up to some high country lakes for some uninterrupted summer swims. He was able to still get outside and accomplish some amazing things despite not being able to rope up and climb.  

So, I learned something this weekend while still recovering, that it is not about roping up and climbing every weekend. As a human being, you have to learn to be flexible when life throws things your way. You can let it ruin everything, or you can modify and have some incredible adventures that you may not have had otherwise; the choice is up to you.  

I choose adventure.  

Meg-IndiansMeggan Wenbourne is an avid climber, mountain biker and backpacker who works and plays in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends her time traveling to the mountains as often as possible to get lost in the pine trees and explore the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada range and has recently developed an obsession with the desert and its red rocks. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, riding amazing trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.