Musings of a gay climber who wishes he was in the New…

Reposted with permission from Owen, our displaced New England climber!

******************************************************************************************************

So the good part about being in New York in the summertime is that, unlike summer in SF, I can wear tank tops all fucking day long. I went straight to day drinking from leaving the ex’s new apt and picked one up on the way to change out of my sequin dress. But that’s basically where it ends.

The bad part is that I’m not in The New, where it’s surely way fucking hotter, in every conceivable sense of the word.

I first found gay climbing via Flame and Flash as a total fucking noob. It was a year ago. Mikey reached out, and was patient while I had my little gong fest on a 10a in the gym. Then he gave me hard-on while he redpointed 13b. But I digress.

Never had I met as diverse and fun group of people than when I met the FnF guys. That of couse until I went to Bishop for HC West.

We arrived, stocked up on beef jerky, and headed straight into MY gorge (Yes they named it after me, and yes Rio, please go after the oral sex reference)

I met Chavez, and St Louis Crew and then headed to The Great Wall of China. Tim Ketting was actually wearing a harness (seriously, and not even the kind used to get railed). Rio introduced himself right after lowering off of Aurora (he was scared as shit and laughing his ass off), and Connor kept pushing me up harder leads so I could properly get my then twinky bottom lead head on right. We kept crushing for the next 4 days and raged the next four nights. I hung out with Thomas and Matty, crushed it with the heelhookers , Marlyand and Texas, and got into rescue mode for a near epic.

Somewhere between the acknowledging one of the trip’s defining memes (“Bird poop, don’t fall, gay climbing…”) and gorilla gay-bar-ing Rusty’s saloon, I realized that this scene was larger than fucking life.

We headed back to SF with quick stopover at Matty Lamos’ Mom’s house so we could have coffee and look at the hilarious high school photos on the wall (add 30 pounds and 6 inches of hair. Despite how hot he is now, those were pure. fucking. gold). I ended up in SF with torn hands, a shit ton of fond memories, and no STI’s. It was epic.

I promised myself I’d make to the New, and for reasons that only leave myself to blame, I didn’t get on top of my shit and make it down.

So as I sit here, refreshing Grindr and Adam4Adam, getting ready for a days worth of meetings all over a humid, schweaty, sticky Manhattan and read the Facebook posts, I’m filled with a warm chest full of… *sigh* regret.

I really wish I could have been there.

I try to explain to family and non-climber friends what this oddly named queer climbing thing is all about, and it’s honestly hard to put into words. They typically ask why we need our own climbing club, and if we’re that oppressed, or something. No, granted, Uh-Merica isn’t uniformly that accepting, but the question misses the point. What shocked me about Homo Climbtastic was how such a diverse group of guys and (yeah, fucking represent!) girls the sport of climbing attracts. Better still, how 50+ of us can unite in these random po-dunk towns where Sarah Palin could likely do OK at a book signing, and not only rage, but earn the respect and praise off the locals. Heads up Rick Stantorum, the gays are taking a big, slippery whipper into a town near you.

So for those of you that went, I’m jealous. And for those of you that are reading this but never did go, trust me, next time there’s a meetup, be it Rumney, the Red or fucking Red Rocks, you get yourself there.

Climb safe, crush hard, bottom powerfully.

Miss you all.

Owie

A Late but BIG Thank You!

Hey hey all,

So, I know. This is totally late. Almost a month! But, after Bishop I totally partied with the SF crew for my Birthday shenanigans!

Anyways, I just wanted to send out a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everybody who showed up! Seriously, its because people take that leap of faith to meet a crew of seemingly normal ‘mo climbers that makes HC what it is. I tried to meet everybody so it was so awesome for me to finally meet more of the West Coast crew! I know I’ll never forget guerilla gay baring Rusty’s and trying to make sure nobody got lynched

Above all, I genuinely hope everybody had fun no matter where and what they climbed. Owen’s, Happy’s, Sads, Buttermilks, or the POW march to the Druids.

I do have an ask though. We’re always trying to make these trips better, more fun each year, so I would LOVE to have some thoughts and suggests on what was awesome and what you could do without. Here is a bit of a complain/love link (aka a survey)

http://goo.gl/MfEdB

So while Tim took some great photos, I’m sure EVERYBODY else did too. Chris B has set up a photo FTP site, so follow the steps here:

Please add you photos to the group share site:
Option 1: Add yourself
1) Go to http://hcc2010.lalgbtclimbing.com/ , then register yourself.
2) Accept the link that is emailed to you and set your password then login
3) Click on the “HC BIshop” Album
4) Create a new album
– Click “Add” -> “Album”
– Name the album your FULL NAME
5) Click on that ablum to enter it
6) Click on the “Add Photos” link.
7) Click “Select Photos…”
8) Select your photos and click add.
– I’d suggest doing this in groups of 50-100 photos at a time, just in case there is a problem

Looking forward, I hope you’re all gearing up for the BIG trip to West Virginia. Looking at all the emails and numbers, etc. I am like 99% sure we are going to exceed last summer’s attendance numbers! Again, making this the BIGGEST, FUNNIEST, CRUSHING-IEST CREW OF QUEER CLIMBERS, EVER!

See you all in 2 months in the dirty South!
Rio

A Press Release Only a Mother Could Love…

Betcha ya don’t read press releases like this everyday…

“On Bel-Heeyyyyy!”: GLBT Rock Climbers Head to Bishop

Homo Climbtastic (national group for gay rock climbers blah blah blah) is excited to land in Bishop in April for a 4-day trip. Two of California’s local GLBT climbing clubs, the Bay Area’s Flame ‘n’ Flash and the L.A. Heel Hookers, make frequent outings to the climbing lands of Bishop, but this time we’re welcoming our members from all over the country (well, including Canada, countries) to join up – north of 70 so far. There are hardcore boulderers and sport climbing addicts among us so we’ll be spreading out to the Milks, the Happies, the Sads and the Gorge based on poison picked. The trip dates are April 14-18 and we’re psyched to kick it and send it with the Bishop climbing community out there on the rock! If you’re trying to find us, just look for the group of climbers who sound like a series of outtakes from The L Word or Will and Grace.

Homo Climbtastic is a two-year old group, wrangled through Facebook and started in Georgia by climber and gay extraordinaire Alex Rowland. We’ve had a number of big national trips including last summer’s extravaganza at the New River Gorge in West Virginia. More than 60 homo climbers and friends showed up then, the biggest gathering of gay lady and man (and lady-man) climbers ever. Though come April, probably not anymore.

What Would James Franco Do?

So I admit it. I gagged. Despite years of practice, turns out I still have a gage reflex. In fact, it wasn’t even at the part I thought I would gage at. Nope, not at all. Not at the very end of it all, but right in the middle, totally unexpected. The whole thing wasn’t even THAT Long. In fact, I pretty much sat through the whole thing rather comfortably.

I’m talking about Danny Bolye’s latest movie “127 Hours” staring James Franco. While Mr. Franco isn’t hard to look at, the scene portraying Aron Ralston self-amputating his own arm was. And I genuinely gagged at the scene where Aron drank his own pee. True story of a true story.

But despite the details, I was struck by the concept of the movie. As an outdoor enthusiast, it provoked a tonne of questions (I’m Canadian, therefore I’m referencing metric tonnes). Would I be able to do what he did? What would I do in that situation? Was Ralston brave or a hero? Or was he a fool for going out into the wilderness without anybody knowing?

I really reflected on the entire story. It helped me realize that even though I am a rock climber, and to the average person a high-risk taker, I am a total pansy! I check knots repeatedly, I hate falling, I wear my helmet as often as I remember, and I hate it when Upton walks around the anchors without being tied into anything 3+ pitches up (heart you Robbie).

But its hard for me to see the point of taking unnecessary risks, especially outdoors. Why do it? Am I less of a climber if check my gear? Am I less of a climber if I tell my friends where I am going? I sure as hell don’t think so. There are still thousands of places and crags that I want to climb, and I’m going to need all of me to do it. Granted, I see the allure of venturing out alone, but to not tell family or friends is risk I’m not willing to take. Plus, the geek in me wants my next dream/big purchase after the GoPro Helmet Cam is the SPOT Messenger.

Thinking about the amputation, I don’t know if I should even say what I think I’d do because that is a situation I can’t related to. Sort of like getting pregnant and childbirth. Don’t want nor need to deal with, and something physically I don’t ever want to experience. But I’d like to think I’d fight to survive no matter what the challenge is, no matter the scenario.

And when you think about it, us ‘mos are used to fighting. It sounds a little lame, but its true. We fight prejudice and stereotypes everyday. With our family, at work, etc. So if you ask me, being a ‘mo at any day and age makes climbing rocks look really easy. Well, 5.12s are hard, but you get what I’m saying.

That’s a lot, and its pretty heavy, but feel free to disagree. But I think what I’m really just trying to say is that rock climbing and “hard places” are kinda easy, its life I find really tough.

Rio

American Alpine Institute Climbing Blog – Film Review: 127 Hours

SAVE THE DATE: HC’s 2011 Spring Trip to Bishop, California!

Bishop, California!
Don’t say we didn’t give you enough warning, because here it is! Start saving your pennies, book off work, and start looking for flights – Homo Climbtastic is heading to Bishop, California!

When: Thursday, April 14th to Monday, April 18th, 2011 (+/- whatever days you wanna stay)
Where: Bishop, California (Google Map)

While more details are in their way, just mark it off in your calendars for now. Facebook Event HERE!

Bishop is world famous in the climbing community for its spectacular problems in the Happies, Sads, and Buttermilks. Problems include Chris Sharma’s once-upon-a-time project “Mandala” V12, and what is arguably the world most photographed, best known boulder problem, the “Iron Man Traverse” V4. And that’s a REAL V4, not your inconsistent climbing gym V4s.

But don’t worry if bouldering isn’t your forte (it ain’t mine either), the plan is to also spend time climbing routes in Owen’s Gorge. Again, more details to come!

SO BOOK THAT SH*T OFF NOW!

Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project”

Some reposting from the Toronto group.

I’m sure you all know who Dan Savage is, so we won’t get into that. What you may or may not know is that a 15-year-old boy from Indiana recently hung himself after being intensely bullied (article here), being called “fag” and such. Dan Savage has started a YouTube Channel called the “It Gets Better Project” where he is reaching out to LGBT youth, letting them know that life gets better after high school. That, even though things are painful for them now, “nobody can touch you” after.

For me, I was lucky in high school. Yeah, I stood out, yeah, I was that guy also at an all-boys Catholic school, and yeah, there were comments about me. But it never really mattered. For some reason, I always knew that it would get better. Even by the tenth grade, I was hanging out downtown, hanging out with a very “diverse” group of friends, etc. I already knew that there was MORE out there.

But for those who are still in it. Dan Savage is right. It does get better. But don’t take my word for it, listen to Dan and his partner Terry.

http://www.youtube.com/v/7IcVyvg2Qlo?fs=1&hl=en_US

So all you queer climbers out there, you should know that HC will be collaborating on our own submission to the project. We’ll be getting video from across the continent from any queer or queer-friendly climber has something to say. Get in touch with your crew in your city, and let’s make this happen.