We knew the man as a force, a smiling face in the face of big ice, cold nights, high winds, and frightening leads. But we also remember him sharing ice cream, bending his glasses back into something halfway functional, and failing to control his wild hair.
While the dirtbag may be a dying breed, the insouciant idea of the dirtbag has captured much of climbing's soul. Living out of the truck, climbing every day, dumpster diving, scraping by with nothing but the fervor to climb. This certainly existed but in parallel to the hundreds of climbers who fed their addictions as weekend warriors. And where do Ron Kauk's Ford Broncos, John Bachar's Gillettes, and Chris Sharma's perfumes fall into the reimagination of the dirtbag?
So what do we do, climbers? Do we abandon the temples of rock climbing to the hordes? Do we focus on education? Do we enforce regulations? Do we tell bereaved families that their son or daughter should have known better? Do we limit what is considered grounds for lawsuits? Do we avoid the Fifty Classics? Do we stop writing guidebooks? Do we seek ever further adventures, necessitating going harder? Do we give over to the guides leading folks from Maryland up Forbidden Peak? Do we adopt the pernicious attitude of "I was here first, and I can't share?"
Ahh, the New Year--time for family and food and drinks...and resolutions...gar. Usually I fill my resolution card with tasks that would be miracles to accomplish, then I promptly forget them, since they are written down somewhere and that somewhere is then lost. So, I wanted to write them down here, where I can digitally check... Continue Reading →