Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How To Be A Dirtbag Climber

Every day 500,000* outdoor enthusiasts put on rock shoes for the first time.  With every new climber, differentiating yourself from the rest of the patchouli stench of the frat boys and small sports bra wearing girls becomes more difficult.  Dare to be different by embodying the true essence of climbing- be a dirtbag. Here are a few tips on how:

Look The Part

Buy synthetic pants made for climbing the North Face of Gasherbaum V.  Rip holes in the knees and make a slight tear by the right rear pockets.  Sew crooked stitches to mend them.  People will think two things: offwidth mountaineer and haute couture. Wear loose clothes made from thin fabric.  This will make you look skinny and poor.  Buy your wardrobe at Urban Outfitters’ Labor Day Sale.   
"I just ran a train on that problem! Choo-choo!"  The knee  brace adds a bit of personality to this Dirtbag's NSync meets Chris Sharma look

Accesorize with the hottest fashions. The chalk bag purse is the latest and greatest item to hit Derelict fashion. Dirt bags need a place to keep their headlamps, the carabiner with your keys, and condoms.  Biking home from a hipster bar?  Pull out your 18,000 Lumen headlamp from your trusty man-purse, clip that magnetron keychain to your single speed bicycle, and hold tight to your Gore-Tex condoms. You may need those when you’re big spoon on the Fitz Roy Traverse.  Who cares if you spent $75 dollars on Manhattans? So what if the nearest crag is a hundred miles away. You got a chalk bag man purse.

Have the Gear

New Harness. New Rope. New crashpad. New rack. New Shoes. Eight pairs of new shoes.  Two of the same kind and size.  Everything new.  Then buy a Sprinter.  A new one.  The tall model.  The long one. The longer one.  Outfit it with solar panels to charge your cell phone booster.  Speakers.  Swivel seats.  Wood interior. All wood interior.  Forgot pine.  Use cedar, cherry, mahogany.  Carpet. Granite counter tops. Memory foam bed.  Refridgerator for cold Pelligrini.  Extra space for unused cams, a portaledge for Hueco, and a place for your loofah.   
A Colorado Dirtbag parked this Sprinter in Indian Creek for 3 weeks


Honestly- nobody cares how hard or if you even do climb. The best dirtbags rarely leave the confines of the internet. They spray. Be stoked that grandma gave you her old Canon 5d Mark 3.  Take a selfie hang dogging a sport project. Email it to your iPhone 5.  Post it to Instagram. Hashtag it. Hashtag the grade.  Inflate the Hashtag grade.  Hashtag everything. Literally #everything. #mylifeisbetterthanyours Remember that one. Update your 8a card.  Misspell Bunny’s Crack.   Call it La Dura Dura. It’s only a couple letters.

Update your Twitter account by chopping up Robert Frost poems.  Make them into haikus. New Facebook Status: ERMEHGAWD I saved $500 on my plane ticket to Rocklands!!! 12 day lay over in Font!!! Dirtbags can afford two thousand dollar plane tickets but are insanely stoked when they save any money.   So go with three exclamation marks on any post. Minimum. 


Being able to travel all the time is a luxury few people can afford.  The school teachers, the carpenters, the working class warriors at the crag will wonder how a dirtbag can pay for a yearly trip to Spain. Distract their trust fund assumptions by talking about your “work.” Describe your career path as that of a fresh-faced social media guru with a passion for budget travel, exploring the outdoors, and promoting the art of the American road trip. That reeks of authenticity. Complain about your lack of funds.  You survived a whole week off seven pints of chocolate milk.  That’s $7.70.  Hide the $350 dollar Whole Foods Christmas gift card from Aunt Janice. 
Never forget to wear lots of expensive clothes with nice logos while you act like a vagabond #NEVERSTOPSLEEPING

Pick a Destination

Travel to a place where lots of other climbers hang out.  The Red.  Yosemite. Indian Creek. Squamish.  Rifle.  Never shower.  That’s essential to being a dirtbag right? No showers.  Be dirty because you’re lazy.  That’s so cool. Never climb.  Just hang out.  Hang out a lot. Be ubiquitous. #Imhereherehere Never forget #mylifeisbetterthanyours Be the first person to show up at the morning coffee spot. Be the last one to leave. Just say, “Dia de siesta.” Then roll your eyes, “that’s Spanish for Rest Day.” Stay too long on friend’s couches.  Move in with your climbing partner.  Move in with their parents.  Ask someone else’s mom to do your laundry. 
Max Hasson snapped this photo of two climbers who began their climbing day at noon and ended it at 1  
The most important part of embodying the dirtbag lifestyle is small ambitions. Quit when things become difficult.  Run back to your comfortable life.  Never dream of free climbing El Capitan.  Stop thinking of bolting new crags, of climbing new boulder problems, of inching past your limit. Stop thinking of  anything that requires years of commitment and utter obsession. Never get close to your dreams. Never try to be more.  Be a dirtbag climber.     

*fictional statistic

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Help Wanted: Personal Assistant/Executive Secretary

Job Title: Personal Assistant/ Executive Secretary
Reports to: The Last Dirtbag
Date: February 2014
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada and Yosemite, California
To apply, email
Please indicate the specific position you are applying for either in the email subject line, and/or in your cover letter; if sending in a general application, please indicate it as such. Try to keep the size of your email under 500K (including attachments).  Include a full body portrait Justin Bieber selfie. 
Your future employer
General Summary:
With my personal business as the Last Dirtbag of Climbing, exploding over the past few months, I’ve found myself with less time to attend to daily and minute activities.  I am currently searching for a personal assistant, someone who can act as my first point of contact for people both inside and outside the rock climbing and media community.

Essential Job Functions:
Daily functions run the gamut from executing strategic social media and digital intiatives to promote my personal branding to jumaring behind me on El Capitan free routes, cleaning my car, and doing my laundry.

Minimum Job Qualifications:
o BA, BFA or BS in Communications, Journalism, English or Under-water basket weaving.  Graduate level or PHD highly encouraged.
o 10+ years relevant experience in rock climbing personal assistant field.
o 2006 Medcedes Sprinter with all wood interior, built in granite top kitchenette, appropriate features for travel and a willingness to trade your van for my Saturn Station Wagon.
o Demonstrated leadership experience with the ability to mentor others.
o Working knowledge of personal computers with demonstrated experience in the use of social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, KIK, and LinkedIn Ghost Hunters edition
o Keen understanding of how to make me look really good

Compensation Package:
The new executive assistant will provide the employer with $8 an hour cash.  After the thirty day probationary period, they will pay $10 an hour cash with payment increasing to $1 an hour every thirty days to a cap of $25 an hour.  The assistant will also pay for dental, health, and vision insurance for their employer.   Initial work will be temporary with the possibility of full-time. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Suddenly Irresistible

Last night while I stuffed my face with a double patty burger, I realized that I had become 50% more attractive.  In the hour I spent hobbling from Goodwill for crutches, Walmart for an ankle brace and ibuprofen, and then into In N Out for a double-double, a half dozen women talked to me.  While I can’t count past ten with my shoes on, those numbers were double what I’d experienced in the past week of Las Vegas climbing.
Yesterday started horribly.  I woke to a text at 1 am.  Food poisoning rocked my climbing partner and he couldn’t make it out.  Bummed that he was sick and couldn’t climb, I texted my friends in Mesquite.  They were heading to the Phalanx of Will.  I jetted out there, cranking out the 90 miles as fast as I could, hoping to meet them at the campsite while they were still making coffee.  They were already gone.  I followed vague directions to the crag and got lost.   Frustrated, I steamed in my car.

I drove to the nearby Virgin River Gorge, where I knew there would be some climbers there.  Brian, a Salt Lake climber hiked the steep limestone warm-up.  I followed after him.  Half way up, I jammed my right foot into a pod.  The holds felt slick and I botched the sequence.  I fell with my ankle still in the rock.  It hurt.

“That looked bad,” Brian said when I lowered to the ground.  I stormed up the route again, then once more, trying to shake off the pain welling in my foot.

Vian joined us, climbed the route then set up a toprope on another warm up for me. I followed it apprehensively. 

“Maybe my ankle would be ok?” I thought.  I jumared up a fixed minitraxion line and established a toprope on Fall of Man. I climbed the route tentatively, my baggy shoes felt tight and the climbing felt hard.  My ankle swelled. 

Vian tried a couple of pitches and I hung out to belay.  The climbing had exacerbated the injury and I wouldn’t be back on the rock that day.  I hobbled the 15 feet between my pack and the belay. 

“You look really gimpy,” Vian said.  “Let me tape your ankle.” 
Vian grabbed a roll of athletic tape and made a few figure 8s on my ankle. I felt a lot better.  It was very nice of her. 

I struggled from the crag to my car.   My ankle felt extremely swollen.  It hurt a lot.  I thought about crying but walked instead.  I drove back to my friend’s house in Vegas. 

I got crutches, wrapped my ankle, ate a burger and then slept for a long time. I thought about work, what I could do to become more productive and how to make the most of the experience.    

A few years ago, when I fell soloing in Joshua Tree, my friend Greta made me a shirt with a picture of a walker on it.  It said, “Walker’s are irresistible.”  There’s a lot of truth to that.  While I was recovering from the 8 surgeries, people seemed so much more interested in hearing my stories and talking with me.  Maybe this evening, I’ll cruise by the Walmart McDonald’s.  The ladies there probably have lots of love to give an injured man.  My ankle will heal soon, especially if I take care of myself.  The crutches aren’t quite my old walker but they’re certain to add a bit to my charm.  

I'm suddenly irresistible.   

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Best Christmas Prank Ever: aka How I Am A Genius

“HO HO HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!  YOU”VE BEEN A VERY GOOD GIRL ANNIE! HO HO HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!”  Seven different Santa Claus impersonators called Annie within an hour and a half.  She panicked, unsure why her phone kept ringing with fake Santas from Los Angeles.

It started when I gave her a ride to the airport.  On the dash of my Saturn, I keep a collection of baseball caps.  My Retired and Loving It hat sits above the stereo and never moves.  My grey Patagonia hat comes out during climbing trips.  My Stihl Chainsaw hat only leaves the car when I want to look like a dashing lumberjack.  Of my 3 hats, it’s my newest and favorite. 

At 9am, I stopped at Annie’s house.  At 9:15, we drove towards SLC airport.  At 9:40, she sent me a picture from the plane.  She was wearing my Stihl Chainsaw hat.  She stole my hat from my car while I was being nice and giving her a ride to the airport on an early Saturday morning.  Over the next few days, she sent me pictures of the hat in California.  Here’s a picture of your hat on a Merry-Go-Round.  Here’s a picture of your hat at a yardsale, lost in a bunch of other hats.  Here’s a picture of your hat on a statue in a San Luis Obispo park.  The photos kept coming and I kept getting angrier.

After three days of taunting photos, I decided to fight back.  I sat done at my computer, went to Craigs List.  I clicked on Gigs and then Talent Wanted.  I typed away.

Santa Claus Voice Acting-$500 Casting Call

As part of a last minute Christmas event, our production company, Paramount Pictures, is looking to play a voice over of Santa Claus.  We want a 10 second clip of a “Ho-ho-ho” that sounds jovial.  We want to hear Santa’s smile through the recording. 

The most talented Santa Claus voice will be brought into the studio December 25th for a last minute recording of half an hour.

Transportation will be provided from anywhere within 200 miles of the Hollywood studio.  The voice actor will receive a $500 cash compensation for their time.

To save time on casting please call and leave a voice message of your best Santa impression to 555-555-5555

Annie Trujillo
Casting Director
Paramount Recording
6245 Santa Monica Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90038

I posted the ad and leaned back on the couch.  I laughed.  Annie was in for it- the “HO HO HO!”s would stop when I got my ha-ha-hat.  

An hour and a half later, Annie posted on Facebook, "Woah. Hacked for a casting call on craigslist.  I hope none of you did this as it isn't funny remotely."I laughed even more. I was a fucking genius.  I was brilliant and funny.  Maybe the smartest man in the room and certainly the funniest.  Sure nobody else was there but I couldn't stop laughing.