I wasn’t sure what to expect leaving my home a few years ago, somewhere I was within driving distance. My love for the outdoors began in Pennsylvania growing up on family camping trips. I moved out West to be close to the mountains.

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – John Muir

Little did I know that the outdoors could help me relocate and find a new family in a city far away from home. The mutual passion for the outdoors has created bonds with outdoor friends. I have had time to think about relationships lately. You think long distance relationships are hard, long distance friendships are even harder, so I am thankful for my mountain babes and studs.

Outdoor friends share a bond fast.

Relying on friends to show up at bars or birthday parties is one thing, but relying on friends in the outdoors make you decide if it is fight or flight early on. Do they make similar, smart decisions that are not going to jeopardize my life? These friends end up being weekend warrior buddies.

They got your back.

When the climb or exposure is hard, they are understanding of the fears and have probably had similar road blocks. Not everyone moves at the same pace, but they always keep you in eye sight or are at a ropes length if traveling on a glacier. While rope climbing, trust is huge since they will literally catch you if you fall–or they are supposed to. If you get hurt, they take the weight off your shoulders and help you with your baggage.

Comfort is overrated.

Outdoor friends don’t pressure me to get married or have kids. They encourage the opposite: to push the limits. In work and city life, it is hard not to be distracted. Distracted with errands, how many emails I haven’t responded to or how my checklist continues to grow.

Mind over body. I try to escape mental road blocks and focus on a project instead of my mind wandering back to the things I need to do. I am in the moment with my stomach in knots. Adrenaline and endorphins keep me going.

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Standing a top of Gothic Peak.

Joining an outdoor climbing club.

Having some outdoor skills, I wanted to tine-tune techniques and learn. I joined the Washington Alpine Club over a year ago. It has helped me develop friendships and connections I wouldn’t dream would happen. From career networking to pure inspiration and stoke, I didn’t know 30 strangers in my class would share so much in a 12-week period. I go back and volunteer to continue to share my love of the outdoors and grow my outdoor family.

Stoke is contagious.

I haven’t smiled and laughed so hard than with my outdoor family. Worries seem to disappear as you look back on the different types of fun you had over the weekends. It could have been the worse trip of all time, but the love of the outdoors keeps us going back for more.

They’re there for you.

Need beta on a climb? Want to grab some brews? Outdoor friends are always willing to share their latest adventures. They are happy for you and either share in on the excitement or start to plan with you. You can be yourself and don’t sugar-coat your joy.

Besides, outdoor friends party like no other!

How do you bond with new friends?

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