If I lived in the early 1980s and climbed as hard as I do now, I’d be the best rock climber in the world.
Today I am lucky if I can outclimb the kids on the local climbing team.
Same grades, different status.
It’s true on a regional level as well – I have higher status when I climb at Smith where there are fewer people climbing at or above my level, than when I climb in Rifle where people climb 5.14 every day.
Limits change between places and status changes with it.
Which is why our self-esteem must be linked to more than our climbing status.
We (and everyone around us) come out ahead when we expand our self-esteem beyond the climbing-status game.
When we link our self-esteem to being the most supportive belayer we can be, to being welcoming to visiting climbers, and to giving back to the sport we love, everyone wins.