Do you walk by a doorframe and immediately feel the urge to hang from it? Do you feel the little yellow calluses on your fingers approximately 16.3 times per hour? Are you the guy/girl in your friend group that uses words like crux, beta, dyno, and stoke in everyday verbiage?
If you answered yes to any, or all, of these scenarios then you might have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome (OCS). Obsessive Climbing Syndrome is common in men and women ages 7 to 93. Although Obsessive Climbing Syndrome is a new, rare, disease it is easy to self-diagnose and is treatable if symptoms are noticed early on. Common symptoms, in addition to the ones listed above, include, but are not limited to:
- Spending all your money on shiny karabiners, “nuts,” “cams,” and “draws” and calling it an investment
- Freaking out over the new Reel Rock Film every autumn
- Naming your pet after your favorite climbing crag or some climbing jargon
- Moving to a new state just to be close to your favorite climbing crag
- Washing yourself with biodegradable soap in a river and calling it the best shower you’ve had in a month
- Have been mistaken to have an “illegal white powdery substance” all over your hands and face when it was climbing chalk
- Plastering stickers of your favorite climbing cities, shops, and breweries all over your car
- Getting your hair or beard caught in your belay device. (This is not a symptom. If this has happened to you, chances are it’s time for a haircut and/or beardcut)
Those living with Obsessive Climbing Disorder may not show symptoms until their teens, 20’s, or 30’s. Once symptoms show, consult a doctor right away. Most begin to show symptoms in their early 20’s when they’re on a date, or just hanging around someone of interest.
Talk to your doctor if you think you have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome. Since it effects both men and women from the time they’re little gym rat kids just getting into climbing, all the way up to the older generation that said you weren’t a real climber if you used chalk, you probably have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome to some degree if you enjoy climbing.
Many sufferers of Obsessive Climbing Syndrome have gone on to live healthy, fulfilling lives. Most will end up dedicating an entire room in their house to storing their gear. They call that room their “Gear Room.”
If you suspect your friend has Obsessive Climbing Disorder, confront him/her directly. Ask something like “Ted, why did you name your dog Dyno and your cat Moab?”
Ask your doctor what Obsessive Climbing Disorder medication is right for you. Quit worrying about grades, rock quality, who has the best beta, or how hard you climb and get back to climbing just for fun. If you see stars and/or are bleeding from the ears, chances are it’s not due to Obsessive Climbing Disorder. You probably took a big whipper and slammed your head against the side of the wall. In that case, you should’ve been wearing a helmet.