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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Welcome to the Dirty T: Rock climbing is a philosophy for one UA senior

    Courtesy of Austin Sobotka
    Austin Sobotka poses for a photo on Mount Lemmon. Sobotka believes rock climbing to be an essential part of a fulfilling life.

    “Do you ever have music in the background of your interviews? Is that okay?”

    Philosophy senior Austin Sobotka pressed play and “My Mind” by Portugal. The Man started playing.

    Sobotka was born a Canadian citizen, having been raised there until he was 10 before moving to Phoenix and eventually coming to UA.  

    Sobotka has a passion for climbing, which he has been doing for over five years. He started climbing around Phoenix in the McDowell Mountains after deciding to get some gear and go for it.

    Once he “found climbing,” there was no going back. 

    After asking if he climbs indoors, I immediately realized the question came across as asking a master concert pianist if they ever play iPiano. He laughed and proceeded to explain that the only exercise he does besides climbing real rocks is yoga. 

    When asked about injuries, Sobotka admitted that besides hurting his finger tendons, the only time he seriously injured himself occurred when messing around with friends and attempting to climb the side of a building. Sobotka fell off and hurt his wrist, but it was not until the next day that he realized the severity of the injury. 

    He had knocked it out of place and was told by a doctor he would probably not climb again.

    Thankfully, this prediction was far from the truth. 

    Sobotka still climbs about three times a week. On the day of the interview he had just done some climbing on Mount Lemmon. 

    Besides staying active, both physically and academically, Sobotka also works downtown at Maynard’s Market & Kitchen, drives a motorcycle and collects musical instruments.

    A guitar, a harmonica and a didgeridoo populate Sobotka’s collection, each having been mastered to some degree. 

    Back on the topic of climbing, Sobotka described a hobby highlight from a climb at Yosemite National Park. He had ventured to Half Dome with a friend, hiking and camping before beginning a climb for which they had not planned sufficiently. Sobotka and his friend ended up spending 20 hours hiking and climbing before eventually passing out in the cold with nothing but their gear and the clothes on their backs.

    Currently, Sobotka is working on helping a fellow adventurer write a guidebook for the Cochise Stronghold, another favorite climbing spot for him and other Arizonans.

    When asked if he has any specific climbing goals, Sobotka mentioned Cobra Crack, a difficult climb in British Columbia. YouTube is filled with courageous souls climbing Cobra Crack, and this feat is truly unbelievable.

    Though climbing is precious to Sobotka and fulfills an adrenaline desire along with a love of reaching higher places to meditate, he believes anyone can climb. All one has to do is find a local climbing gym and tell them you want to go on an outside climb.

    As a believer that the mental benefits of climbing far outweigh the physical, Sobotka does not plan on retiring from this sport anytime soon. He is always looking for climbs no one else has conquered and finding freedom in his climbs. 

    “I don’t know what else I could experience that with,” Sobotka said. 

    Follow Gretchyn Kaylor on Twitter

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