Op Ed: Climbers, Clients, and Elitists

The first time someone ties on a pair of running shows and moves faster than a walking pace, they are a runner.

The first time that someone straps on a pair of skis and points 'em downhill, they are a skier.

And the first time that someone ties into a rope, they are a climber.

They don't have to know about pyramid training to be a runner.

They don't have to know how to parallel turn to be a skier.

They don't have to know how to rescue their partner from a crevasse or lead a rock pitch to be a climber.

They're still a runner even if they hired a coach or joined a running club or paid to be in a 1 mile race.

They're still a skier even if they paid for a lift ticket and paid a lot more to take a ski lesson - or a private ski lesson.

And they're still a climber if they paid for a guide.

They don't need to know everything before they can claim to be a runner, skier, or climber.

Elitism is a good thing - it can be a bar that inspires others to work harder for their potential. But it serves nothing but ego to argue that these new athletes are somehow less deserving of their new titles.

Caveat: Be honest about what you have accomplished. If you hired a coach, instructor, or guide, please give them credit for their assistance. Be proud of your accomplishments, but step up to admit the failures - not to make excuses.