Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

The Highlight Reel…

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.

Relishing the day's highlights back at camp after a day of sending out at Little Clear Creek, TN, this past Labor Day.

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?


7 Responses to “The Highlight Reel…”

  1. Benito

    So, after my Asheboro trip this past weekend, I promptly got my key stuck in my car. The ensuing key rescue effort set me back 20 bucks and 3 or 4 hours of frustration/ praying. My friends along for the trip (Javier, Emily, Caleb, Eric, Aaron, and Johnny C. ) waited patiently for hours with me until the locksmith showed up to surgically remove my door; madness. Anywho, while we waited I suggested the Highlight reel, since I am, ostensibly, from the Lineberry lineage of such prosocial interactions. Suffice it to say, everyone loved it and it instilled a feeling of cohesiveness and overall merriment among the crew. Thanks Erica and Steve for a tradition that I have continued to observe, holla!


  2. Benito

    correction…200 bucks. yowsa!!!!


  3. The Lineberry Highlight Reel definitely deserves a Shout Out! It’s a great way to recap fun moments or special accomplishments of a climbing day – or any day for that matter, I’ve found myself doing the Reel a lot, especially when traveling… I really like how it makes you recall moments from the day and hold on to them a bit longer than you maybe would have otherwise…
    Thanks for sharing this fun tradition with us!


  4. Miriam

    I love the highlight reel! Thanks for sharing the tradition.


  5. Just wanted to say, I caught this on Twitter before leaving for Jtree, and we ended up doing it at the Third Annual Jtree Tweetup one night, thanks for the great idea!

    Hope to see you at one of the tweetups some time (or just out climbing).


    • Wow so glad to hear the tradition is spreading! Would love to hit a tweetup one of these days. Thinking of heading to Owens River Gorge this spring – is that near you at all? (My Cali geography is not the best…)

  6. It’s not that near me, I’ve only climbed there once in fact (if we’re doing that long of a drive we usually just go to Tuolumne or Yosemite). But let me know closer to the date, I’d love to go back there!


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN