Earlier this week I had the pleasure of running into some fine gentlemen form New York at Rocktown. An ambitious crew, they set their sights early on The Orb. After tossing around on a few easy(er) problems they spotted me around the other side of a boulder, introduced themselves and asked if I knew where to find the classic Soap on a Rope.
I obliged their request and one of them say’s “It’s a 4 right?” Coyly I reply, “That’s what the book says.” If you followed the above link or have climbed the line you know a bit better. They quickly gathered sufficient evidence to make that judgment call themselves. Though the problem wen unsent by the crew, a good time was had by all. The New Yorkers shuffled desperately through the guidebook in search of some more vertical terrain that would be “easy” (ha!). They read off a few high profile problems to which I chimed in, “yup, tried it… it’s hard.” After a few of these they asked.
"Is everything just hard?" I found my reply to be more than sufficient,
"What you see is what you get. Welcome to the south gentlemen!"
At any rate, small talk struck up between burns and one of the fellas commented on a car in the parking lot with dress shirts hanging up and a heap of camping gear in the back. Yeah, that’s mine. I readily disclosed a bit about my lifestyle and come to find out one of their crew was also on a 3 month vacation adventure
"dirtbagging"`. I, on the other hand, have no real end in sight. The longer this goes, the more sustainable it feels.
As I explained to the norther guests, of course living on the road was a huge, scary, dramatic change at first. However, the longer this drags out the longer it feels like it could go on. For example, if I’ve made it (almost) three months without losing my job, starving, or maintaining relatively respectable hygiene, then there really isn’t any reason I can’t do it for six moths. Once that is accomplished, especially in the south, you’ve made it through both the throws of summer and winter and why the hell not keep going?
Anyway, one of the norther gents commented that “You’ve got it made” in regard to “quick morning sessions” on the boulder field before heading to work in the afternoon / evening. That was the first time I head the term “cleanbagging.” Interesting in deed and it gave me a bit of pause. I’ll have to put a bit more thought still into it. If you’ve read many of my posts you know that I’m not exactly the prototypical dirtbag for either the stone master or present generation of climbers. Like them I am homeless and love to climb and make every effort to spend every minute doing so. However, unlike them I have a job that I love and if you were to catch me “during normal business hours” you may very well confuse me with another of the Bourgeoisie.