If you spend much time around certain subsets of the population (e.g., climbers, surfers, paddlers, boarders, etc.) you're likely to come across the word "gnar," as in, "that gaston on the arête was pretty gnar," or, "let's shred some gnar." What does this word mean exactly?
Well, most dictionaries I've looked at have no definition for the word gnar... but the eminently popular UrbanDictionary.com defines gnar as: "A shortened version of the word gnarly, meaning high on the scale of dangerousness and coolness. Often used among the skateboard crowd."
Alright, so for something to be gnar things have to have a certain element of dangerousness and generally be impressive enough to enthrall the audience (even if its and audience of one). But does this mean that only the best climbers working at the height of danger can be gnar? Well, I think Chris Sharma deep-water soloing definitely qualifies as gnar. But I've also seen the elation on the face of a person sending for the first time on maybe a 5.10 route. Certainly 5.10 is nothing to sneeze at... but it's not the height of skill and daring either. Does this have any less gnar?
Purists can argue this one-way or the other, but my goal in this blog is to compile stories from my own life and the lives of my friends that embody the spirit of gnar. In so doing maybe I can make an interesting series of stories for people to read and at the same time answer a question for myself, "What is gnar?"
... I'll probably never thoroughly define gnar, although at periods in my life I hope to attain gnar, but in putting this blog together maybe I can at least elevate my understanding of gnar to supreme court Justice Potter Stewart's understanding of obscenity: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . but I know it when I see it..."