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


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