“Why do you climb?”

Every person who labels themselves a “climber” as the foremost aspect of their personality has been posed this question. In my experience most who have dedicated their lives to the vertical realm cannot produce a simple explanation. The answer lies buried deep within the heart of each individual lifer, and to articulate such a concept means ascending into the philosophical world. Somewhere near the core of my own ideology is the magical feeling of inspiration. It is the light that ignites my wildest ambitions and most vigorous motivations. My reason begins with inspiration. And nowhere else in the world have I seen a single-pitch route more inspiring than Doubloons. 

Black Diamond Presents: Doubloons
Video: Bobby Vannoy

Doubloons is the pinnacle of aesthetic perfection. When I first peered down the hill which the climb proudly sits upon, I began a multi-year relationship with the route. I felt giddy with excitement to someday experience the natural beauty of the line. I wanted the sensation of fighting the exposure and wind as I teetered on the edge of its knifeblade arete. I wanted to stand on the narrow tower’s summit, overwhelmed by the size and extremeness of the alpine valley I overlooked. Most of all however, I wanted to overcome that unfeasibly blank feature.

The challenge that Doubloons offered was my driving inspiration. Projects that push oneself toward the edge of viability are more than mere rock climbs. They symbolize a journey to the center of the soul, an overcoming of self-doubt. The first two years I tried Doubloons, my mind was more underprepared than my body. Pessimistic about the difficulty of the line and the effort required (both physically and mentally), I made little progress. Doubt was winning. During the summer of 2023 however, my philosophy for climbing began to grow. I felt more inclined to try a route because of the personal challenge it offered, not the number attached. I began to see climbing as an art—a spiritual journey rather than a performance-based sport. My progress on Doubloons reflected this shift in perspective.

The day I sent the line, I felt no pressure, no anxiety to achieve. Rather, I embraced the vertical dance—tuned into the power of my position. As I tiptoed past cruxes and moves which had represented very real personal setbacks, I knew the sensation of overcoming something deep within.

And yet, even after I stood on the summit and reeled in the gravity of that experience, I felt a profound appreciation for what Doubloons had become outside my personal life. The same features that drove me to climb the route brought together an entire group of people, a community. Not only other climbers driven to have such an experience, but creators inspired by the line to reveal its beauty to the world. Through their lens many more will become a part of this moment.

My process with Doubloons began with inspiration and turned into so much more. Through each attempt, each new friend, and every fiery sunset spent at the route, I began to understand my answer to that impossible question. Experiences such as the one I had on Doubloons are why I climb. They are metaphors for life—an expansion of consciousness on so many levels. 

--Chris Deuto