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I’m gonna do this over and over and over forever!’: Overlapping fields and climbing practice.

In this article I explore some of the aspects of shared doxic principles between outdoor fields and how these contribute to agents becoming interested in ‘high-consequence’ climbing styles. I argue that people who come to be high-risk climbers do not become involved for the purpose of participating in risky activities, but instead move into climbing through ‘overlapping fields’ that share practices and dispositions of climbing. Becoming a climber is a process that occurs gradually and imperceptibly, with much of the groundwork for an appreciation of climbing laid prior to actually taking part in climbing practice. In this paper, based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork and 35 interviews with climbers, I demonstrate that participants typically have been members of easier to access and less risky outdoor sports prior to their involvement. These activities share some of the skills required to become a climber, or at least are complementary. Once this initial engagement with the practice has occurred, individuals become involved in less risky forms of climbing practice. These allow climbers-to-be an opportunity to form an appreciation of the basic safety systems of climbing. With this understanding, it then becomes possible to navigate through the trajectories of climbing practice, often bringing with them greater acceptances of risk and danger.