If you’ve ever climbed with our family, then you’ve probably experienced the end of day mental pat on the back otherwise known as The Highlight Reel. It’s a long time tradition that Steve and I established years ago, back when we first started climbing. At first it was just something we talked about with each other on the way home from the crag. We gradually introduced it to our other climbing partners and it just sort of took on a life of its own… Here’s how it works.
After a hopefully long and fun-filled day at the crag, each person reflects on the day and comes up with two distinct highlights, a personal highlight, and a spectator highlight. Highlights are then shared with the group either on the hike out, over dinner, or my personal favorite, by the fire back at camp.
PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT: Your personal highlight is what you are most proud of yourself for achieving that day. It could be anything from getting up the nerve to lead an intimidating route, toproping a difficult route without falls, or even something as specific as making a particular move on the rock – whatever accomplishment makes you puff up a little bit on the inside.
SPECTATOR HIGHLIGHT: This one is where things get really fun (and sometimes out of hand, depending on the crew :)). Your spectator highlight is your favorite thing that you saw someone else do during the day. Again, there are any number of examples – watching someone send a project, seeing someone struggle on a difficult section but not give up, etc.
A not so obvious, but certainly key aspect of The Highlight Reel is that highlights are not always climbing related…some of my most memorable Spectator Highlights involve something funny that Cragbaby did, or some ridiculously funny mishap along the trail.
Although its admittedly a bit on the dorky side, the Highlight Reel is really just a fun way to generate comraderie amongst your climbing partners. Our entourage often consists of folks with a wide range of skill levels and climbing goals, and sharing our highlight reel is a great way for everyone to come together at the end of the day and celebrate successes of all types. I see it as an opportunity to not only foster positive discussion, but also provide a little more insight as to what makes your fellow climbers tick. So the next time your hanging out by the fire recapping the days adventures, don’t be afraid to show some love to the folks that kept you off the ground all day!
Can I get a shout out from any other Highlight Reel fans out there? Any other folks do something similar with their climbing crew?