The Meaning of Climbing

On January 9th 2021, We published a fun post titled Ask Carrot.  Essentially it was just Carrot responding to questions from our readers.  But one question went unanswered. 

 “What is the meaning of Climbing?”

Carrot responded: “I’ll make a deal with you, if you give me a little time to think about this, I’ll provide a much better answer than one I could provide here.”

This Podcast episode is our response to that question.

We were lucky enough to speak with four of the leading scholastic climbing commentators in the world on “The Meaning of Climbing”

Joining us were philosophers Dr. Bill Ramsey from UNLV, Dr. Stephen Downes from The University of Utah, and Dr. C. Thi Nguyen from The University of Utah.  Along with political scientist Dr. Debbie Halbert from UH Mānoa.

In addition to extensive publications in their respective fields, Ramsey, Downes, and Halbert each contributed to the Climbing anthology Climbing: Philosophy for Everyone.  Thi Nguyen’s book Games: Agency as Art along with a piece he published in The Philosopher’s Magazine titled: The Aesthetics of Rock Climbing are must reads.  Thi also hosts a spectacular blog titled Objectionable which is absolutely worth a deep dive.

As a philosophy professor, I may be biased, BUT this was my favorite theDIHEDRAL Podcast to date.  After our chat, all I wanted to do was climb and think about climbing.  I was in a daze analyzing the meaning of climbing and the meaning of meaning.  The conversation was so natural among this group of experts, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to share the discussion with you.

I hope you will enjoy listening in as much as I did, and of course this talk couldn’t have happened without our delightful and engaging guests.  

A huge THANK YOU for the time, effort, and honesty from Bill, Debbie, Steve, and Thi.

We also want to thank you for listening/watching the show. You can find the interview on theDIHEDRAL Podcast Here, on YouTube Here, and listed on most podcasting platforms including Apple, Spotify, and Amazon.


  • If you enjoy what you hear, please like and Subscribe where possible it helps immensely. If you have any climber/topic requests, let us know in the comments, and we’ll try to accommodate your ideas in a future podcast.

8 Replies to “The Meaning of Climbing”

  1. 🧗‍♀️ thedihedral, I love you guys and you know by now I’m not in any shape or form a climber. I’ve dabbled in the past free solo going from A to B, so I’m more your solid ground lover. So for my answer, I’d have to say that if I saw someone stuck on a cliff edge, I’d like to think there’d be an experienced climber willing to help, with good ropes and back up. That in itself is a good reason people climb and a meaning to it. However, if the climber also enjoys climbing, learns the ropes (sorry the pun runout) well liking what you do in life is always a bonus, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I Love this response. I just learned of a group that was hiking and it was night, and they were 5 hours from the next water station when they came across a van of climbers, who shared their water, made them some food, and helped guide the group to their destination. I think that helping aspect is central and your comment really brings that to life!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I imagined this to be true, so I’m glad about that central aspect of helping. Maybe other adventurous folks too have this, like pot hole cave explorers {{{shudder}}} “Nope, never doing that!!!”

        Liked by 3 people

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