Devon Martin talks Suffering, Courage, and The Eternal...On Belay.

Devon Martin is a climber concerned with the philosophy of truth, beauty, and living life. He is the climbing/footwear lead staff at our Grand Ave. location, and spends his free time out in the mountains. In this article, Devon shares his experiences from the last few years of climbing and a primary lesson he has learned from each of these adventures.

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The truth is seen when the moment expands to the far reaches of the universe.

 

Caleb pulling up his buff in a feeble attempt to hide from the 60 mph summit winds as we top out on Mt. Hood.  The chance to find meaning in the aesthetics of our commitment to climbing this beautiful line despite the conditions drew both of us to the top.

You are unsatisfied with something in your life. So you go. Seeking a certain something that you do not yet have, you take on the suffering of the journey, that if you endure you may find that something at the end.

 

Michael looking for Zen on the Devil’s Kitchen Headwall. Seeking an understanding of this soft focus required for climbing, we committed to the journey. Rime ice on the formations around were collapsing, sending chunks of ice raining down on our heads every few minutes. We started without sleep at midnight, and by the time we were out of the couloir we were both wasted.

Now suffering is all you know, but if you give in, you will never find that something. Desire fuels your courage, and your courage absorbs the pain.

 

Chris, torqued from 20 hours of nonstop movement but still running up the final summit scramble of the Direct North Ridge of Mount Stuart. We kept moving no matter how many hours passed by. The pain was absorbed by our obsession with the beauty of our position among the mountains towering around us. Chris trusted his own ability, and as the crux moves came up, he committed to the moment without hesitation.

Suddenly you are faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Desire is extinguished in this moment requiring more than courage. It is time to trust in all you have learned in this journey and let go. Experience escapes the self. The moment becomes the universe eternal.

Now you may see the truth.

 

Left: Brett inside the immensity of the moment on one of the crux chimney pitches of Epinephrine. Fear was gripping both of us as we swapped leads on this classic route. Unused to the style and stone, our adrenaline surged, our hearts pumped, and our legs jackhammered showing our lack of trust in our footing. Keeping an open mind to learning how to operate in the unfamiliar environment was the only option. Both of us had to dig deep, be honest with each other, and have faith in our ability as we hammered forward into the unknown.
Right: Brett, anxious for warm food and searching for our descent in the blackness of night. Stressed and torqued from the last 10 hours of climbing we made many route finding mistakes on the descent. Through the bond of mutual faith formed on this climb, we were able to continually course correct when our exhausted minds took us the wrong direction. Experience faded into memory as we stumbled away from the towers of sandstone.

The moment ends and you are left with nothing but vague memories. You did not get that something you were looking for. But you have returned. You have changed. And you have glimpsed the truth for a brief moment of eternity.

 

All words and photos by Devon Martin. Come visit Devon at the Grand Ave. store to learn more about his journeys, and the right gear to get you there.