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 The 3 Types of Outdoor Fun

Going on adventures in the outdoors is fun, that fact is undeniable. However, you might have noticed that not all outdoor fun feels the same. Sometimes, you and your friends encounter perfect weather while you’re out on a climbing route, the climb goes precisely as planned, and everyone laughs and has a great time—this experience is undeniably fun. Other times, however, everything seems to go wrong. Sometimes, you encounter horrible weather, the climb is scarier than you were expecting, and people don’t seem to be laughing much (or at all)—this experience is still fun, just a very different kind of fun.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, we’re introducing the “three types of fun” that you will encounter in the world of outdoor adventure. If you spend any significant amount of time climbing in the outdoors, you’re destined to experience all three types of fun.

Three Types of Fun You’ll Encounter Climbing Outdoors

Type 1 Fun

It’s often fun while it’s happening, but is not fun to talk about afterward.

Type 1 fun is like jumping on a trampoline or seeing a movie with your friends, and it’s a great time while it’s happening and it’s undeniably fun. In the world of outdoor adventure, Type 1 Fun occurs while climbing a nice route in perfect weather conditions. If you climb up your favorite route on a beautiful sunny day, you’re undeniably going have a great time. Type 1 conditions make you love nature and appreciate the outdoors.

While the adventure might be fun while it’s happening, telling people about your Type 1 fun is not going to be that interesting. If you return from a Type 1 adventure and people ask about it, you might say “it was great” or “it was perfect,” but you’re not going to regale your friends/family with the details about how fantastic the weather was—and if you do entertain them, they’re going to be bored. That’s because while it’s great to have Type 1 experiences, they don’t make for great stories.

● You onsite a 5.12 for the first time
● After some hard training, you cleanly climb the project you’ve been working on for a while
● Everyone laughs and slaps shoulders in the midst of the climb
● You never think –“I’m going to die.”

Type 2 Fun

It’s not fun while it’s happening, but it is fun to talk about later.

This is a spicy kind of fun that’s a bit unpredictable, and perhaps the most common type of fun you’re going to experience in the world of climbing adventures. Imagine you’re leading a long rock climb and the crux is run out, extremely technical, and more terrifying than you were predicting. In the moment of climbing this scary crux, you’re probably not going to feel like you’re having “fun” per se, and you might question why you ever chose to go climbing, to begin with. Assuming that you do survive the rock climb, you will have experience the true essence of Type 2 fun.

Surviving a rock climb is the purest example of Type 2 fun. You were not having “fun” at the moment, but narrowly cheating death is always entertaining to talk about after you climb is completed, and you’re safely back in your car. Type 2 Fun often makes you want to quit climbing in the moment, but the pain quickly subsides when you laugh about the fear afterword—and it makes for great stories among friends.

● You’re a little nervous during a big climb
● The crux of a climb scares you, but you overcome it
● You take a fall, but it’s not that big of a deal, and you laugh about it after
● The day was longer than expected because you got a little lost, but everyone remains optimistic and joking about their poor navigation skills
● You think “I’m going to die” but afterword you chuckle because it wasn’t that big of a deal

Type 3 Fun

It is not fun while it’s happening, and it is not fun to talk about after.

You might be asking yourself, how is that fun? Because if you’re on an adventure in the outdoors, everything is fun! If there were no suffering involved in the outdoor experience, then everyone would do it. It’s often said that mountaineers need to have bad memories, or they wouldn’t do what they do, and that’s best exemplified by stories of Type 3 Fun.

Type 3 Fun often occurs when you’re wet, cold, hungry, and tired. If you get lost on your hike back to the car after a long rock climb, your feet hurt, and you have no water—you’re probably in the midst of Type 3 Fun. In more extreme circumstances, when an epic adventure scares you to the very core of your being –like scares you so much you have nightmares—you’ve probably gotten a touch of some Type 3 Fun. Type 3 Fun will never be fun to talk about, no matter how much time passes.

If you want to climb big mountains, like the genuinely incredible peaks in the Himalayas, you’re going to need to be prepared for a hefty dose of Type 3 Fun.

● You think “I’m going to die” or “my climbing partner is going to die” and only through some miraculous divine intervention is no one injured
● After poor planning or unfortunate events, you have to perform a terrifying/sketchy rappel off of terrain you’d instead not use
● Anytime you’re extremely hungry, dehydrated, or dealing with a chronic injury
● Altitude sickness

Climbing is Fun!

Whether your fun is Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3, it’s best to remember that climbing is always fun. Even if it’s not the type of fun that you were looking for, it’s better to be out of the house and in the mountains then bored at home on your sofa. Most adventures include a healthy balance of all three types of fun, and the combination of all three is part of the climbing experience. Next time you’re out with your friends, bring up the concept of the three types of fun and see what kind they’re experiencing.