Big Shout Out To Rocks

It is a fact that if you are reading this, there is a 75 percent chance you have touched at least one rock in the past 21 days. With your hands, feet, bicycle tires, you have interacted with rocks in some manner.

One hundred percent of mountains are made out of rocks, and most trails feature rocks quite prominently. If something in the outdoors is not a plant, animal, water, or rock, it is dirt, which is basically a bunch of tiny rocks.

Rocks are good for all kinds of fun things:

  • You can walk on them
  • You can ride your bike on them
  • If you are a rock climber, you can crimp, smear, edge on their features, or jam your hands, feet, fists, fingers and arm-bars in their cracks
  • You can marvel at their hugeness
  • You can navigate a raft or kayak between them
  • You can build a fort out of them
  • You can take photos of them
  • You can skip them across docile bodies of water
  • You can make sculptures of naked ancient Romans out of them
  • or naked Greeks

Rocks and I had a big year in 2013. Not quite as big a year as my laptop and I did, but pretty big. I climbed several mountains, which I noted at the top were in fact really just big piles of rocks. I traveled halfway around the world to climb foreign rocks a couple times, and noted similarities to domestic rocks. I slept at least one night with some rocks jabbing me in the back, and only got hit by a couple small ones falling on my helmeted head at bullet-like speeds. I’m pretty sure I broke a bone in my wrist accidentally flying over my handlebars onto a rock in Sedona in March, and I get a little pissed about that, until I remember how many times I sat on rocks to eat lunch and energy bars. Then I’m like, Man, rocks are like my favorite thing to sit on when I’m outside. Obviously chairs are better, but I am not hauling a goddamn chair up to the top of a mountain every time I want to sit down, that’s for sure.

Sometimes people like to talk about things that changed the game in rock climbing. They mention cams, sticky rubber, chalk, and their favorite climbers, like the guy who invented pitons or the guy who brought sport climbing to America or the other guy who invented yelling “TSAAAAAT” when you’re trying hard. Hey, you know what makes climbing really rad? Rocks. I mean, when people are onstage accepting their Golden Piton Awards every fall, they really should thank the fans, their heroes, and the rock, for making it all possible. Big up to my man El Cap.

If you like rocks, the outdoors is totally the place to be. Mountains, for instance, contain a large amount of rocks, as you may have noticed if you’ve been up high in places like Colorado, Utah, California, or Montana. Seriously, try to count them next time you’re on a summit—you’ll be like One, two, three … aw, hell, “a lot.”

If you had fun in the outdoors in 2013, take a minute to thank a rock. And if you haven’t had a chance to interact with rocks recently, check them out this weekend. Yes, carpet and hardwood floors are nice, but no one ever built a national park around them.


Semi-Rad is brought to you by Outdoor Research.

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  1. I was skipping rocks along the Columbia River a few weeks ago and a crowd gathered, cheering our performance (I’m actually not kidding.) I’d like to give those delectably flat rocks a huge shout out for making me feel like a rock (!) star for five minutes.

  2. Nobody sits like this rock sits. You rock, rock. The rock just sits and is. You show us how to just sit here and that’s what we need.

  3. This morning it was snowing on the rocks around here, and I thought it was really pretty. But everybody is talking about how great snow is, and completely ragging on rocks. Skiers have no appreciation for how awesome rocks really are.

  4. It’s great how language has universally accepted the greatness of rocks.

    When you say, “this rocks!”, what you are really saying is, “this thing I’m doing/seeing is like a really hard (or surprising soft) bit of the earth that is sitting on the surface. Totally the coolest thing ever! Yeah earth guts!”

    I love how much we love earth guts. It totally rocks.

  5. I spent my first unplanned night out this summer on some rocks. At the time I cursed them for being cold and 0% good for sleeping on. But you are totally right, that rock gave me 1,300 feet of awesome. You rock, rocks!

    Also, ain’t nobody got time for hauling chairs up mountains!

  6. I’m a geographer and more times than not people ask me why like rocks… I have to tell them I do like rock a lot, but that’s not what a geographer studies. A lot of people in my life are geologists though, and I would just like to thank them for getting me interested in exploring rocks and their massive piles scattered around our planet. They make the best scenery out there.

    Great post,
    Ian Faulds

  7. Hehe – this article had me smiling. Rocks! Who would’ve thought there was so much that could be done with / about them. You’re off your rocker! (not really, I just wanted to say that) :)

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Article by: brendan