Climbing with existentialists

This post is written by Nathan Tableman–he has a blog at www.tableman.com.  Like many Homo Climbtastic attendees, he got a prestigious degree that he does not use, and works in software infrastructure offshoring or god knows what, and now primarily uses his marine zoology training to maintain his home aquarium.

The sun was setting off in the distance, the sky was orange, the air was humid, we were dripping with sweat and I was worried a 3″ inch spider and his 8 buddies would stay over there. I started to laugh a little and rightfully, Chavez, who I was belaying up a 10 something thin crack with a vicious start asked me, “What’s up? Things ok?”

Chavez

We had both made it up the 9 in the corner about an hour before after I failed to replicate his start and came up with another way to get to the shelf about 8 feet up in the air on the first move.

I replied, “yeah, this is just an amazing moment. I am incredibly happy I came, the sunset if beautiful, and the rock is amazing. I am having the time of my life, I am so glad I came to Homo Climbtastic.”

Nathan

I got a grunt in reply and the rope had a little slack. He had just pulled another move.

It was getting dark. When Chavez arrived at the anchor, we slowly setup everything needed to rap down, double checking work, moving slowly. It was the end of a long day and we both wanted to go back to camp safely. We had decided to do the climb a little alpine style in case Chavez couldn’t do the 10, plus the full exit was this crazy roof corner at 11b.

Climbing is the most physical embodiment of existential philosophy I can think of; to paraphrase Sartre, man makes his own meaning and my absolute favorite, Kierkegaard: “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

Here is your protagonist in the midst of each passing moment; with the input of the rope, the climb, the spiders, his hands, the conversation, the smell of climbing all day, the heat, the sunset…it was all far too much to take in and make comprehensive meaning. Instead he focuses on the moment, the feeling of the moment, the happiness, the excitement, the being in the life he is leading. Here on the rock. Focused. The rest, the enormous details, to be recorded using the sensitive emulsion of the mind, archived for tales to be told later and deeper meaning to be extracted, created, and refined over a lifetime.

The conversation continued as I said, “What is funny, is that I was thinking of not coming because I am that classic tech-geek-nerd-introvert who can easily spend 5 days reading and not notice anyone else.” I think Chavez replied, “Well I am glad you decided to come and not be anti-social.”

Out of mind

In retrospect, I didn’t really mean what came out of my mouth, but we were both getting hungry and it didn’t really matter at this point.

Earlier that day, before the rain, I was with Joe, Jeremy, Henry, and others at Beauty Mountain working on a 10 start when Jamie chimed in with some beta on how to handle the move and setup the rest of the climb. The conversation started, if I recall correctly, because I liked the pink toe nail polish Jamie had on. The beta was spot on and I nailed the start first try the next time I did it. Later in the trip I would find myself having a conversation out front of the bar where I asked her a million questions about crack climbing, because I had done a couple crack climbs and found myself becoming very into it. The holds and style were completely new to me and it lit up my brain.

Joe, Jeremy

I am a newish climber, my first trad lead was in March of 2012. I had top roped before outside a couple times, and about 9 months of gym climbing. Nearly all of my experience is at The Gunks, not vertical crack land. I have some alpine routes under my belt as well, up in Maine at Katahdin and Whitney-Gilman (um, I lead the Pipe Pitch!) and other routes at Cannon Mtn in NH, but again not like these successive one pitch fun cracks starting at 8 and heading upwards.

Henry

Jamie said to me, “I noticed that your crew was a set of incredibly analytical climbers. Analytical climbers love cracks and cracks love them.” She then went on to teach me some good hold techniques to try amongst other great tips and tricks. On the side I mentioned I had googled her earlier, knowing she was formerly known as Jim Logan, she is incredibly famous climber and an accomplished architect, but was more than modest when I said, “it isn’t every day a guy like me gets beta and lessons from like likes of Jim Logan!”

Nathan belaying

Earlier in the year when I thought about coming on this trip, I was nervous about the idea of not climbing at an ability level that would make it fun and throwing myself into a mass of strangers. However, as I climbed each weekend somewhere outside, anywhere outside, I found myself able to lead and follow routes that would make this possible. Moreover, I soon realized that climbers are weird people. It was like that children’s book where the bird tries to find what kind he is. I am weird. I accepted this at 6 when walking on a family friend’s farm and said friend warned me, “Do not bother desiring normal, you will never be normal. The sooner you accept this, the happier you will be.”

Hell, being gay, lesbian, trans, whatever you are, makes us all acutely aware we are different. Sometimes too often. But in the end, I thought; I like to climb. Maybe these people will be weird and like to climb like me. Worth a shot. I am going.

Jeremy, Nathan

I hope this is not shocking to anyone: Every single person I met was weird and thank goodness for that!!! The denouement; the conversation where some of us were talking about how the world is not designed for oddballs. We are all supposed to play by the rules and being gay means you opt out in some ways and that is liberating.

Walking with Joe over to Happy Hands (another crack!) and without thinking too hard, I went on up. Sun dappling the crag, and thinking to myself that trad lead 9′s are work for me when they are not cracks, let’s see about this one. I was pretty certain the crux was about 75% up where the wall got smooth and the crack opened up wider. My hands were wet and I chalked up often to keep them as sticky as I could and because I was nervous. I notice I chalk a lot when thinking about a hard move. The heat was stiffing, but I was feeling good.

I did it. Yeah, done.

Joe had to clean some of my gear that I got stuck, for which I still owe him a beer or two. Thanks Joe! Other than that it was awesome. One more crack, done…

In our own little trad world, we recognized the time and packed up to get back to camp, clean up and attend the presentations and festivities for the evening. I, along with many others, would be heading out in the morning. It was like summer camp was over and real life was waiting for us at home. I hadn’t put on real clothing, nor real shoes, all week. I had little desire to change that.

Jeremy at Cantrell’s campground

The American Alpine Club Probably Hasn’t Seen a Fundraiser Like This

So, I was looking at the American Alpine Club’s web site today, and I learned that in regard to the campground they are building at the New River Gorge, they are giving front page billing to the horses pulling out logs.  Very studious looking horses:

“I’m hung like a horse. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m average. Maybe not quite average. But when I see the other horses on the nature shows, I don’t think anyone seems to enjoy it anyway. Maybe we should talk about this log we’re both pulling here.”

I wonder if the AAC has been made aware that we are throwing them what is probably going to be the most interesting rock climbing fundraiser ever.  I can’t even tell you yet all of the reasons why it’s going to be interesting, but let’s look at the evidence that is admissible…

First, it’s being hosted by a drag queen:

Werk!

Our very own, Porsche Ferrari.  We didn’t even have to hire one, we already had one.  See those climbing arms?

But that’s not all!

We at Homo Climbtastic were concerned that it wouldn’t take long for other climbing clubs to throw fundraisers with drag queens–they do perform for dollar bills after all–so we made sure that we got a drag queen who can wear stilts:

When they told you that Barbie was a lie and that it was anatomically impossible for you to have long legs, they were just lying to make you feel better about yourself.

We really can’t risk being outdone.  If I had some non-stilt-wearing drag queen, and then Tyler Wilcutt went and got a stilt wearing drag queen for Beg Borrow & Steel, I would not be amused.  He may climb way harder than me, but fuck if he’s going to throw a better fundraiser. (His fundraiser pays for the permadraws I cheat up at Fosters so I encourage you to go to his too.)

So we’re taking over the Cantrell’s pub in FAYETTEVILLE, West Virginia, on SATURDAY NIGHT, JULY 28th, 2012, from 7:00pm on to 9pm (or so?) with an AUCTION to benefit the AAC campground and its two studious horses.  Not only will we be auctioning climbing swag, but also Homo Climbtastic tee shirts, all to benefit the AAC.  And it’s open to the Fayetteville community at large, so we’re hoping all you local residents out there will come join in on the fun.  Perhaps you’re straight and looking for something entertaining to do besides hitting up the Oak Hill Dairy Queen, or you’re gay and the other 8 people on Grindr aren’t looking.  Whatever the reason, you should come and hang out regardless of whether you want to bid on stuff.

And if Porsche isn’t enough to bring you out, well, A) fuck you, but B) we got more! Lots more!  We also have…

Madaleine Sorkin and Lizzy Scully.  Picture of Lizzy:

Lizzy knows that it’s important to be color coordinated when climbing dihedrals. Otherwise, you might as well just stay home.

Madaleine, just the other day, and by just the other day I mean two fucking days ago, sent a 35 pitch 13b.  Cause that’s just how she rolls when she’s prepping for a big queer climbing convention.  I know that’s how I start my day: “I’m gonna go climb something that Rock & Ice is going to report on cause it’s still a month until I co-host a climbing club fundraiser with a drag queen on stilts cause that’s just how I fuckin’ roll.”

Actually, for me it’s more like, “I’m gonna tool around in my bed on Grindr for two hours and talk to guys I have absolutely no intention of meeting anywhere ever and then maybe I’ll write some contracts and file a lawsuit and take a nap.”  Sometimes I play Mass Effect. Oh fuck you, I enjoy my life.

Picture of Madaleine:

Thirteens on trad you say? Don’t mind if I do! Why don’t we just do it thirty-four more times and make a day of it?

Lizzy is her partner/manager/love-muffin who, if there is any parallel to every other dirtbag/non-dirtbag climbing relationship that exists in the entire universe, keeps Madaleine from turning into that little monster in the Lord of the Rings trilogy shouting “precious!” when Madaleine sees two ounces of pesto remaining in a jar in the trash that she subsequently loses in her tent because there’s so many unemptied pee-bottles everywhere that you can’t see anything.  Instead, she’s probably living somewhere with running water and has no idea what state she’d be in if left to her own devices.

So, you have them.

Third, you have yet another co-host, Jim Logan:

The green route is ok, but the purple route is faaaaaaabulous.  Although Logan did the red route.

Ok, so obviously that isn’t a picture of Logan.  But it is a picture of a first ascent that Logan did that wasn’t repeated for 29 years, which, I assume, may have something to do with the fact that it’s one of those climbs where if you find out you can’t pull one of the moves halfway up, you can’t get down, so you freeze to death.  I thought cute straight boys were a great source of motivation, but obviously I should be giving them guns to shoot me if I grab the draws.

That the fundraiser is in the middle of the world’s largest LGBTQ and friends climbing convention in the world, with all of its wacky participants, is just icing on the cake.

Also Nancy is hiring a famous band to play music after.

So there you have it: the most shit-awesome climbing fundraiser you have ever seen.  SATURDAY NIGHT, JULY 28th, 2012, 7:00pm.  At Cantrell’s pub, in Fayetteville, West Virginia.

The War of Northern Aggression

For a few days in the middle of my Red River Gorge outing, I climbed with random heterosexuals.  It’s been a mixed bag.  For some, I’m a space alien, and when I say things like, “when you refill the orange juice bottles with tap water it tastes exactly like cum,” they look at me funny.

The better breeders are the ones who are a little bit weird in their own right.

My favorite may have been Judson, at Great Wall.  “I like that Texaco sticker on your helmet,” he says.  “That really tells those hippies to shut the fuck up.”

“You got it, Judson.”   Judson is from Winchester, where I ate once for my birthday at the best restaurant in town.  I had frog legs.  They taste like fishy chicken.

I think the reason we Southerners never claimed Kentucky as part of the South, aside from their picking the wrong side in the War of Northern Aggression, is that it still has too many people who act like non-Southerners, and say really non-Southerner things, like:

“I really like to visit out here to see how these people live, how simple it is.  We forget how to live simple sometimes,” as though we don’t know how to do anything besides work gas station tills and eat beef jerky while standing watch over our ill-kempt lawns.

Does the rest of America not realize how complicated our lives actually are?  Are they unaware that while they brag about the PSI of their espresso machine, we’re operating industrial scale moonshine distilleries in our basements?  Northerners get elated when they figure out how to adjust a grow lamp.  Our most poorly educated citizens can build a meth lab using the leftover parts of any pre-1998 Chevy, a plastic spoon, and a nine volt battery. You know who makes hydroponic marijuana farms in the South?  Children.

Meth causes you to go to Great Clips.

Judson: “Do you smoke?”

Me: “No.”

Judson: “I only smoke when I drink.  But I drink a lot.”

If Kentucky was entirely Judson, then we would give them readmission to the Southern estate.

But instead, they get caught up in ridiculous things that only non-southerners could get into, like grim wars over permadraws.  Judson would never get caught up in a 37 page flame war over permadraws at the Motherlode.  They are clearly in agreement that we HAVE TO DECIDE whether routes have steel permadraws or no permadraws EVER, because ZOMFG if someone puts up ALUMINUM draws and they stay there the sky will open up and flaming meteors of shit will rain down on us until we’re lit afire, trapped in some eternally burning portent of feces.  Or worse, the aesthetics of the Motherlode’s ampitheater will be upset by the permadraws; moreso, than, say, that goddamn overturned truck carapace blown up in front of it.  Which, by the way, is my favorite thing about the Motherlode, because it’s a symbol that at least somewhere out there in Kentucky lives a piece of the Southern spirit, the ultimate tenet of which is driving vehicles off cliffs at high speeds.  (Thelma and Louise, Smokey and the Bandit…)

Because in Arkansas, driving off a cliff to your death is a happy ending.

In the (actually) Southern climbing regions (e.g. Tennessee/Georgia/Alabama) where climbers climb while smoking and belayers belay while drinking, we would never cut each other’s throats over permadraws.  I debate the reasons for why we don’t fight over it.  Maybe it’s because we don’t have an internet forum.  Maybe it’s because we’re too busy rebuilding our meth labs when they blow up, or finding our family heirlooms when the house gets blown over by a tornado.

But I still wonder what happens to the northerners when they drive down 75 and discover the land where permadraws are made of webbing (heavens!) and aluminum (the horror!).  Perhaps they’ll start viewing us as some kind of very very large poor South American farming village whose only hope for economic freedom would be the tourism generated by retrobolting all of our routes.

Well, I say this to you Northerners, before you get too far down 85, 75, or too far east on 20: when the webbing gets worn, you replace it with webbing, and when the carabiner gets worn, you just stick another one on there, (unless you’re from here, in which case, you do whatever the fuck you want) or we’ll show you just how “simple” we Southerners are when it comes to expressing our anger; namely, by crafting an elaborate comeuppance; tragically interrupted when we drive off a cliff cause we’re so high on meth.   Because if you fuck with the Little River Canyon, you best look up and listen for a clutch letting out overhead.  If the sun is out, you may also look down, if you can recognize the shadow of a ’66 Thunderbird.  Your helmet is not rated for convertibles.

Sincerely,

The South.

Now how will you afford that Miguel's breakfast burrito!

And I fail to ignite a Supertopo flame war

License and registration, please.

I’m a loser.  On Supertopo, you can ignite flame wars lasting hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of posts long about topics as lame as the Compressor route fiasco, shooting bears, putting lipstick on bears, or having sex with bears, but, I totally failed to get a flame war going when I was trying to start one on purpose, and the subject matter I was dealing with is obviously far more controversial than what constitutes proper bear food (hint: you, unless you’re in a car, or are double wielding .44 magnums).

Subject matter being Homo Climbtastic going to West Virginia in July.  Supertopans primarily live out west, and prefer climbing in bitter, dry, cold areas.  Supertopans fear summer in West Virginia like Star Jones fears Nene Leakes:

Although Star Jones rebukes Nene’s approach to interpersonal conflicts as the product of a lack of education, Star just doesn’t know that Nene is reacting in the same way all of us Atlantans do when encountering manipulative a-holes:  Star: “At least let me know what you’re accusing me of.” Nene: “Shut the fuck up.”

Example: I have a summa cum laude English degree and people are still complaining that I sullied the gays’ relationship with our current governor when I kind of sort of publicly e-mailed him regarding my dissatisfaction with his campaign commercials and the most eruditic treasure from my lexicon was “big ole wad of donkey cum.”  (At least I can say that out of 1,350,000 results, my “big ole wad of donkey cum” is first on Google.)

Atlanta. Shut the fuck up.

So after failing with Supertopo, I started a forum thread on RealJock.  That probably won’t work either, because the most popular forum threads there include:

I just can’t compete with those.  Also, the guys on RealJock all have abs that put the men on the cover of Men’s Health to shame, the result of a body fat percentage low enough to cause renal failure when leaning back against concrete surfaces.  To be fair, the abs/chests are usually an attempt to compensate for the face.  Or brain, or their brain’s face.  But nobody on RealJock cares about those.  Hell, when I get on there, it’s because I’m in that kind of mood where I don’t either.  If you get my drift.  And I think ya do.

Thus, I’m turning to you, Homo Climbtastic members, fans, and friends!  Post about us to places we’ve never seen, heard of, or posted to!  Or just get on the Supertopo/RealJock threads and start throwing flaming poo bombs!  Tell them you’re going to bolt all the walls on Yosemite with two feet spacing between each bolt and you’re spray painting them in bright pink ACROSS ARBITRARY LINES THAT AREN’T ANY GOOD AND YOU’RE GONNA DRY TOOL YOUR 300 POUND BODY UP THE WHOLE WAY TO GET THERE.  Also you’ll be on lead on aid hooks with an infant attached to you with one of those little infant carrying things, and accuse anyone who gets mad that they’re misogynists and that you already bought the crampons and you will not be a victim!  (Editor: Maybe a good spot for another photo?  Ra-ra: I couldn’t find a picture of a fat man dry tooling El Cap on aid gear with a baby attached to him, in case anyone feels like photoshopping one together for me.  Must be believable enough to trick the Supertopans.  Also, he should be wielding a .44 Magnum and be shooting a black bear trying to eat the burrito he left at the base of the crag. Editor: Maybe it would be more offensive if he were bolting while rapping? Ra-ra: Maybe he’s dry tooling, and the infant is rapping?)

Spread the message of our cult far and wide!  I don’t have the time, money, or skill to go chop the remaining anchors on the Compressor route or otherwise bring about climbing infamy the old fashioned way, so please, come up with something that would make me, Nene, and the rest of Atlanta proud!  We’re counting on you!

Stay classy, Homo Climbtastic!

You should see them at church.

Despite doing things in consistently poor taste every year we’ve been in existence, HC has suffered the umbrage of those who are shocked (shocked!) by the latest thing we’ve done.  This is because like the red light district of Amsterdam, or Brooklyn, or Janet Jackson, we have to do something every so often to prove that we haven’t lost our edge, and that at any moment, Justin Timberlake could expose our collective titty to millions of people.

Otherwise, the umbrage takers might think their harumphing has swayed us against being a constant affront to morality and the reputation of LGBTAQ people everywhere.  And umbrage takers are like mouses who take cookies: first, they ask you not to fellate someone at the top of popular sport crag in New Zealand and write about it.  Next, they’ll be giving you shit because the hem of your dress doesn’t go down to your ankles.  (Editor: Maybe they’re just upset by the quality of your tuck job?  Ra-Ra: You duct-tape a kilbasa to your taint and let me know if it stays there.)

When encountering the homosexuals, New Zealanders respond according to a very strongly ingrained cultural heritage, which is to offer them weed. (On a side note, am I really that tall?)

Thus, every year we have to do something perverse.  So this year, I thought, I’ve got it!  LUBE WRESTLING!  (Actually, Queanh thought of it. Blame her.)

Lube wrestling offers a great many advantages.  It takes something as gender exploitative as a wet t-shirt contest and makes it exploitative in an entirely fresh way.  In no other life circumstance will you have the opportunity to upload photos of yourself greased up and shirtless in a luchadore mask to Facebook without making yourself seem like a narcisstic crazy person.  And if nothing else, it allows you to manufacture long-standing feuds to build up hype, which may or may not include pictures of me and Jonny Mo’s head photoshopped into a Street Fighter II challenge screen.

You need big hair to look good in 8-bit. I considered asking J.Elyea to put other people on the other characters, but I became concerned that it would turn into a racial/gender stereotyping shitshow. Also Chavez doesn't have as much muscle as Chun Li.

But then, I had to get serious.  You could say, I had a reality check.  As much as I liked the idea of all of our climbers getting lubed up and holding each other down in bathing suits while everyone threw dollar bills on them, after which I could have some kind of Requiem for a Dream moment when I throw the dirty money in the air, shouting, “fooled you bitches, I normally do this for free,” I had a reality check while shopping online.

Luchadore masks are fucking twenty-five dollars.

And I would need at least four of them.

So, that was that, as far as the lube wrestling was concerned.  Sure, I was fine with spending twenty bucks on WalMart lube, and I figured someone somewhere would have a deflated wading pool sitting around, but my God, the luchadore masks!  You can’t borrow those!

Thus, barring the appearance of a generous benefactor willing to pay two hundred dollars to see extraordinarily good looking rock climbers get lubed up and wrestle, I’m panning the match.  This would never be an issue in a bar in Atlanta, but this is Homo Climbtastic, and these people divide up most of their money between gasoline and dry pasta.

People suggested charging admission, but HC never charges admission.  It’s one of the fundamental tenets of the Homo Climbtastic religion.  (#37: “Thou shalt not be an HRC dinner.”)  Now I’m trying to think of alternative ice breakers with an edge.  Possibilities:

  • Make acquaintances with six people who have either committed a felony, had group sex, or acquired scabies.  Preferably with one another.
  • Homo Climbtastic crossword puzzle: “Six letters across.  Triggered Danielle’s memory loss episode.  Starts with the letter ‘O’.”
  • Fill in the blank trivia:
    •  “Menage a…. 1) Kia.  2.)  trois.  3.) Honda Accord.  4) Jeep Wrangler.”
    • “Timmy sez… 1) pull hard!  2) I don’t have any cooldowns left!  3.) both!”
  • Turn to the person next to you, and ask if you’d be more fuckable if…
    • you had an eyepatch.
    • you were friends with Whitney Houston.
    • you weren’t friends with Whitney Houston.

As you can see, this is a dire situation.  Somebody help me!

He's only pulling hard cause he burned all his cooldowns.

Registration now OPEN for the 2012 Homo Climbtastic Convention

Wanna come to the largest queer climbing event in the world, at one of the nation’s best sport climbing destinations?  It’s July 26-29, in Fayetteville, West Virginia.  BE THERE OR BE SQUARE.

STEP 1. REGISTER NOW!  LIKE NOW NOW!

Fill out the registration form.  There’s no deposit, and you can fill it out even if you’re not sure if you’re coming.  Make sure you see the confirmation page–if you don’t fill out all the required questions, it’ll take you back to the form, and the unfilled, required questions will be highlighted in red.  If we run out of space for anything… people who registered earlier win.  Even if you’re a maybe, click that link and register.

STEP 2. RESERVE YOUR SPACE AT THE CAMPGROUND… SOONISH

Book under the “Alex Rowland” reservation by calling Nancy at Cantrell’s.  Cantrell’s offers tent camping, rustic bungalows, and fancy-pants cabins.  To make a reservation call 304-574-2500 or 800-470-7238.  They’re holding space for us with no deposit, but not forever… cabins book up much earlier than tent sites.  There IS a deposit to reserve your spot at Cantrell’s.

Experience Southern sandstone and other rock-hard bodies carved by God!

Then What?

Expect to get an e-mail from me (Rowland) within a week or two.  If you don’t get one, shoot me an e-mail.

About the Accommodations

If you’re interested in a cabin, check out the page listing the options with a roof, and note that the on-site cabins are the bungalows, the Deluxe Amish Cabins, the Country Cabin, and the Barn Loft-style Cabin.

Tent camping is $8 a night, so with a 50% deposit, you’re facing the loss of $20 if you end up not making it.  So go ahead and book the damn thing if you’re camping.  Plus I’m guessing Nancy will let you upgrade to a cabin if you decide to get all fancy-pants later.

Split up equally, the bungalows will run about $12 a night, and the cabins about $25. The cabins have air conditioning.

But it’s in the South!

Damn straight!

Dagummit!

We get lots of e-mails from anxious yankees, terrified of rain, Southerners, humidity, and Burt Reynolds.  Well, we can’t promise you Burt Reynolds.  But we can promise you a lake to cool off in about ten feet from the climbing, food so good it’s escandalo, the hijinks of the Homo Climbtastic leaders and members, aaaaaaand world class sport routes (with plenty of trad routes to keep those with high ankled shoes occupied).

If you’re wondering how it is that a small town in West Virginia is so good at playing host to a queer climbing convention, well, there’s only one way to find out.

See you at the New.

Introducing: Poser Captcha

I’m just gonna be the a-hole on this one: climbing in a gym is gym climbing. Without further context, “I love climbing” or “I’m going climbing” or “I’m climbing on Wednesday” means you will be exposed to sunlight and the stuff you’ll be climbing on will be the product of geology.

The worst offenders in this category are people on online dating web sites.  Like OK Cupid, which is famous for their zillions of personality profiling “match questions.”  I’ve answered 236, and I still keep getting people who think flag burning should be outlawed.

You know I'm not quite sure why I didn't click perverts instead. I really would know better than anyone else on this.

So guys on OK Cupid or whatever buttsecks finding dating web site message to say, “I LOOOOOOVE CLIMBING!”

This is when you ask, “what kind of climbing”, and it all falls apart. Because in the gym, there aren’t multiple kinds of climbing, there is only one kind of climbing, where there’s a rope running up to the top and you’re wearing athletic shorts and socks in your shoes and climbing gloves (note: Julio can pull off athletic shorts, because they are athletic short-shorts, and the indentation of his penis is visibly large enough to create a veil of shame with enough mass that time slows down and light bends around it, but the chances are very, very high that you are not Julio).

Although I’m usually not a prescriptive grammarian, if you’re going to climb at the gym, “I’m going to climb at the gym” is the superior nomenclature. Because to us, when you refer to gym climbing as simply “climbing”, it’s as though we’re saying, “we’re gonna take our Harleys up the interstate” and you say, “I love biking! I own an 18 speed Trek! I, too, take it on the road from time to time.”

But even that isn’t an appropriate analogy, because biking (as in bicycling) is still cool. So maybe a more appropriate analogy would be, “I’m trying to decide whether I like a single speed for mountain biking or not,” and you replying, “well I love being able to adjust the friction in my spin class, so I would highly recommend that feature!”

Not that the people in spin class couldn’t totally kick my ass at spin class. They did. I was well short of whatever it was those people were spinning. Just like there may be some German girl who can crush all your climbing gym projects and offer you struedel afterwards. But if you put her on the Orb, she’d probably fall three feet, hit her head on the dirt, and start crying and demanding why there isn’t 200 square feet of padding. But then again, maybe not. Maybe I’m just trying to make Ann feel better about getting demolished by someone too callous to even offer her a 2nd place struedel. But by gosh, there is something absolutely special about taking 5.12 gym climbers outside for the first time. And by special, I mean retarded. And by retarded, I mean you’re amazing and you can do anything! Except climb outside, apparently.

I thought I had taken enough X for the techno music, but was it enough for the disco ball?

Now, there are those who have presented very compelling reasons why gym climbing is a sport that deserves recognition as its own inherent institution. And to them, I say, your photo of you on a 5.14 gym climb will be discarded by the editors of the Patagonia catalog for a picture of some fat jerk on a 5.8 top-roping outside and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. It is literally easier to collect the money to pay someone to judge your Klingon costume than it is to collect the money to pay someone to judge your gym climbing. You will find more opponents in Scrabble, Street Fighter II, and putting together castles out of popsicle sticks.

So, I am calling for an end to this tolerance of anyone referring to gym climbing as though it’s anything but a training device and a cruel impostor of actual climbing, A) because it’s just irritating, and B) because it’s fostered a massive delusion on gay dating web sites, which should be legally required to have a javascript mechanism double check people who click climbing as an interest with a test question:

“Do you know what lead climbing even is?”
“Have you ever worn a helmet because rocks were hitting you in the head?”
“Are your routes ever marked with anything besides tape or neon colors?”

A kind of captcha for posers. Poser Captcha.

This was by far the least offensive of the captchas on google image search. You try it.

Poser Captcha could really be extended to all sorts of things. Want to indicate an interest in biking?

“Do you even own a bike?”
“You don’t. Be honest.”
“Are you able to even take the wheel off of a bike?”
“When someone buzzes you on the roadway, do you smash their rearview mirror with your bike lock before or after photographing their license plate and uploading it to facebook?”

Comment thread idea: Poser Captchas for your own interest areas!