It’s Time!!

Well folks, it’s time to get this show on the road!  See the information below to ensure the best possible experience at Homoclimbtastic 2013!  I advise you to print this for easy reference.

its time

start your engines, ’cause here we go!



8AM – 8PM      Check-In with Chris at Cantrell’s in Fayetteville

Go climb if you arrive early

Dinner OYO – Support Local Business!

Campsite Mix & Mingle


8AM                 Breakfast at Cantrell’s

8:45AM            Welcome and Morning Announcements

9AM – 6PM      Climbing

8PM                 Pies and Pints Pizza Night


8AM                 Breakfast at Cantrell’s

8:45AM            Morning Announcements and Ice-Breakers

9AM – 6PM      Climbing

9AM – 1PM      Whitewater Rafting

7PM                 Dinner OYO or at Cantrell’s Pub

8PM                 Homoclimbtastic Documentary Screening: Climbing With Pride

                        Campsite Games and Comedy Show


8AM                 Breakfast at Cantrell’s

8:45AM            Morning Announcements

9AM – 6PM      Climbing at Summersville

7PM                 Dinner OYO – Support Local Business!

8PM                 Presentation by Lisa Hummel for American Alpine Club

HC/AAC/NRAC Auction with Hostess, Porsche Ferrari

Dance Party all night at the Bar


9AM               Picnic Brunch at City Hall: Downtown Fayetteville

Announcements and Group Photo

12PM              Climbing

Campsite Night


10AM               Pack and Depart


time to climb


Checking in with Chris upon your arrival is important.  Please do not neglect this.

Times listed on this itinerary are tentative, but please make every effort to be ON TIME to the evening events: Pies and Pints, documentary screening, and the auction.  Direct from the crag or showered and clean, nobody cares one way or another.  Just show up.

Morning announcements can save you lots of headache.  Show up on time and listen closely.  This is where we will, more-or-less, determine what groups are going to what crags for the day.

Breakfast is provided by Nancy at Cantrell’s for $9 daily.

Saturday’s climbing destination is Summersville for fun group time.  Every other climbing destination is yours to pick.  Find a group going somewhere fun and hit the trails.

Whitewater rafting is $70.  Actual departure and return time may vary from this itinerary.

Cantrell’s and Homoclimbtastic now take PLASTIC!  That means you can bring your credit/debit card to pay for various sundries at the campsite and at the big auction.  Three cheers!  Hooray!

Support local business while you’re visiting Fayetteville.  This town does a lot for us, so let’s do our part to make that support reciprocal.

Pay what you owe.  Do not assume that things are free.  Camping, lodging, food and rafting are the major expenses you should expect during the trip.  You’ll want to bring extra for auction items!

Get to know, and exchange telephone numbers with the person driving you to and from the crag.  Carpools might take a piece of advice and STICK TOGETHER so nobody gets left behind.  Confirm and re-confirm carpool changes.  Nobody wants to be left at the crag in the rain all night with no food or water.  That would suck.

It might rain.  Plan accordingly.  There are climbing areas that are always dry and areas that dry quickly… do some research or pay attention at morning announcements.

Homoclimbtastic leaders are NOT climbing instructors.  Know what you’re doing or be sure you’re hanging out with someone who does.

Introduce yourself to new people!  There are over 150 registered climbers for this year’s event; make new friends… these new friendships can be amazing!

BE SAFE!  Wear a helmet when climbing, check and double-check your gear, wear a PFD when rafting, don’t play with poisonous snakes on the approach, use protection between the sheets etc, etc… remember that we’re doing potentially dangerous activities, so use common sense.

Relax. Breathe. Enjoy.  The schedule might vary a little—sometimes a lot.  Climbing trips aren’t perfect.  Enjoy your vacation and leave the stress behind!


climbing gear
(hardware: ‘biners, draws, belay devices, etc; software: harness, rope, shoes, slings, etc; bring what you know you need and everything else just in case)

climbing helmet
(this one is mega important because there can be falling rocks at the new—stay safe)

rafting gear including good shoes for whitewater rafting… loose shoes and sandals get lost

campers need camping gear… be prepared for rain!

cabin people need linens or camp sleep gear

(contrary to popular belief, we do not always run around nekkid in the south… it may be encouraged in some situations, but it is not always appropriate)

rain gear

toiletry items
(the bathhouse is centrally located on campground property)


rafts and pool/lake floatation toys

essential items for Saturday's outing to Summersville. don't forget sunscreen!

essential items for Saturday’s gator ‘rasslin outing to Summersville Lake. don’t forget your sunscreen!

picnic supplies (blankets, quilts, baskets, pillows, etc) for our sunday picnic brunch: think “mini pride picnic brunch in the park”…really try to go all out for this


picnic time

money for: lodging, food, auction, rafting, shopping at waterstone, groceries

friendly donations to homoclimbtastic are generously accepted

items for talent/comedy show


anything and everything else you can possibly think of

Looking forward to a great trip!  Safe travels, everybody… see you there!!

Registration now OPEN for 2013 Convention

It’s that time again, folks… time to register for the 2013 Homoclimbtastic Convention!

Mark your calendars for July 17 through July 21 to take a trip to Fayetteville, West Virginia to join the world’s largest group of LGBT rock climbers as we descend upon one of the best sport climbing areas in the nation.

How to Register:

Click here to fill out the registration form.  Fill it out entirely, otherwise it will take you back to answer questions you forgot.  That’s no fun, so knock it out.  When you see the confirmation page, you’re done!  If you are unsure about whether or not you can attend, fill out the form anyway and let us know later what your decision is.

How to Reserve Your Accommodations:

If you’re camping, let us know on the registration form… that is what reserves your spot.  Camping is paid for in cash at Cantrell’s when you arrive.  If you’re a pretty pretty princess like me and want to stay in a cabin with a shower and air conditioning, send me an email and let me know that you’re interested.  I’ll email you back with some info about the cabin reservations.  Cabin reservations are FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED, but I can only take cabin reservations from those who have registered. Note: there IS a bathhouse for campers, it’s not entirely wilderness camping.

About the Accommodations:

Tent camping is $9 per night (cash).  Cabins run from $70 to $210 per night (don’t scoff, you have to split it up, folks).  Cabins have a roof, AC, and fewer bugs.  There are some bungalows, some Deluxe Amish Cabins, the Country Cabin, and the Barn Loft-style Cabin.

Please remember to note: our accommodations site is CASH or CHECK ONLY.  We will not be able to use plastic (the kind you pay for things with, anyway) in any way, shape, form, or fashion.  You’ll have to go into town to use an ATM if you forget your checkbook.

Squeeeeeeal like a pig

Occasionally we will get emails from anxious yankees who are terrified of rain, Southerners, humidity, and Deliverance. We can’t promise that you won’t hear the faint pang of a banjo string, but we can definitely offer you a refreshing lake to cool off in that’s about ten feet from the climbing, food so good it’s escandalo, the hijinks of the Homoclimbtastic leaders and members, aaaaaaand world class sport routes (with plenty of trad routes to keep those with high ankled shoes occupied). It’s the South, y’all!

After You Register:

Hang tight and look for a confirmation email from me.  If you haven’t heard from me in a week or two, shoot me an email.

Stay In Touch:

Contact me if you have questions, I’ll be glad to help you out! Email me at  Follow us on Twitter @homoclimbtastic and @chrisavret. Like us on Facebook.

Get pumped, start training, and get ready for the best LGBT climbing event you’ve ever seen!

Taking over a whole town ain't easy, but if anybody can do it, we can!

Taking over a whole town ain’t easy, but if anybody can do it, we can!

See you at the New!

Get Your Calendar Ready for Homoclimbtastic!

There is something that you need to know.

Queer climbers will be invading the New River Gorge in West Virginia again this summer…

…and it’s going… to be… AMAZING!!!!

boss approved time off for homoclimbtastic convention.  fuck yeah.

got time off work for the homoclimbtastic convention. fuck yeah.


Write it on your calendar. In pen… and pink highlighter.  Write yourself a bunch of post-it notes. In sharpie.  Clear the time off with your boss.  Talk to your local queer climbing group about carpooling and/or flight options (it’s never too early).  Start saving up cash for the AAC climbing swag auction hosted by the fabulous Porsche Ferrari.  Start your training regimen.  Get ready… cause it’s going to be a blast!!

Check back soon for the registration form and all the other really important details that you’ll need to know.  It’s good stuff.

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.


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)

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 , 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!

Rumney Queer Takeover Part 1

Thursday afternoon I started my journey to New Hampshire with some very important business. I drove to Trader Joe’s in Bethesda where I live at the absolute last possible minute on a mission to get the unobtainable items for my good friend from Toronto. After a very successful run to the store I finally started my supposed 9-1/2 hour journey to D’Acres at about 2:30PM. Most of the trek was smooth sailing until about the last portion of Connecticut on I-91. The entire road was closed and the signs just said to find your own alternate route. I took the last exit before the closure and headed north, or at least I thought I was heading north. About an hour later I was back on I-91N near Six Flags at the beginning of Massachusetts. Another uneventful portion of the trip until route 4 in NH threw me for a loop because of lack of sleep and poor directions from google. Finally I arrived at D’Acres at about 2:30AM.

Friday AM: I woke up abruptly with the full sunlight at 7AM, downstairs I found an offer for breakfast and the 4 of the Toronto Mo’s who drove through the night to get here thanks to Anthony. I hitched a ride to the rocks and we ended up at Upper New Wave where we found Lambert and Twinky Spice who had also driven up from NY the night before. The option to climb 5.8 moderates was not appealing to me so Anthony and I set up on the 5.10c warm-up whose name I can’t remember. The 10 was more heady and difficult than the 11a that we did later, so perhaps not the wisest decision. The mindset for me was that there aren’t any climbs easier than 10’s at the New so it can’t be a problem, unfortunately the combination of lack of sleep and lack of outdoor climbing on my part leading up to this trip made for a pretty crappy first day of climbing


I had received text messages from Rio letting me know when he was arriving, and that he found some CRUX climbers at the crag when he arrived. Lambert, the T.O. ‘Mo’s, and I decided to take an early day since we were all worn out and didn’t want to ruin the rest of the trip from fatigue. We went back to D’Acres had pizza dinner and after asking where Rio was all night he finally arrived.

Saturday morning came only slightly later than Friday, but breakfast at D’Acres was awesome. I rode with Ken, Rio, and Andrew to the crag and soon after collecting my bag I basically stripped down to almost nothing. Donning only my gaysuit and hiking backpack, we followed Lambert up to Jimmy cliff. Justin AKA “Twinkie Spice” said he saw a bear cub which put most of us on edge. Strangely, Justin didn’t think anything was wrong with seeing a baby bear even though most of the rest of us could only think of an angry momma bear. We bushwhacked through to find the actual trail to Jimmy cliff and continued on with the other CRUX climbers. During the long hike, everyone had a chance to see the cute blue bathing suit walking in front of them, and I got lots of compliments. I decided today was going to be a good day.

We finally got to Jimmy cliff. Most people hung out to the right on the longer routes at Jimmy, while another contingent of the CRUX group headed back to Jimmy Left for some of the harder climbs. I lead Things I Never Learned 5.9, then saw some cool features to the right of the climb. After two different attempts I found the beta for the newly created Who Wears Short Shorts 5.10b for a First Alternate Gay Start, F.A.G.S. The rock looked bare at first but after two different times I sent the climb and aptly named it after my current apparel. Sadly there was something posted on Mountain Project early this year describing the same thing so it was not a true F.A.. The afternoon was almost awash from the rain storm that threatened the area, people on the crag saw pouring down rain just on the other side of the valley. We packed up all the gear in sight and headed down to Waimea.

After running a pointless rescue mission in nothing but my gaysuit I went back down to see what everyone was getting on.  The two main objectives were to climb either Flying Hawaiian(5.11b) with the nerve racking dihedral which I already heard that people too falls on youch! Or, the more moderate yet still classic Waimea 5.10d.   Naturally since I was already feeling a little tired I chose to hang out and watch people on Waimea before I got my turn on it.  I started to find my relaxed groove but still I got frustrated because I think I took just before the Jesus hold, AKA a super jug that you can rest on hanging by one arm if you wanted to.  There is a cruxy sequence just before Jesus that you have to just keep moving through and not think about the fact that you are pulling on crimpy small holds.  The climb is not over yet at this point but it gets significantly more manageable.  Once you pull yourself onto the slab it becomes a footwork game and thankfully the lower off is right nearby.

Sorry to cut this off randomly but this is a first for me and hopefully it has been a decent read.  Please post comments if you have any better perspectives like the view of my ass which is conveniently shown here for your viewing pleasure.


Part II to be posted at a later time

West Cost Labor Day Trip Report Part 2

Saturday morning was by far our earliest start.  By this time there were 9 of us, and most were up before me.  We ate a quick breakfast at the campsite, and before we knew it we were all loaded up and headed to the crag.  Gavin informed me that he had just talked to Mike, who had left San Jose at like 6am; Mike didn’t know how to get to the crag, but would meet at the campground at noon.  I acknowledged this and as planned we went straight to Area 13.  We spread out on the Left side of the Area 13 wall and began climbing all of the fantastic multi-star easy grade climbs.  One of my favorites was “Ugly, Fat and Mean, Come to Mammoth, Be a Queen.”  It was an airy arete with great holds everywhere.  On this climb, you don’t really climb, you fall into a methodical progression that requires almost no thought.  The holds are there, the clips are even, the feet are obvious, yet the climb is delicate: it was like dancing.  If I ever get the balls to solo a climb, this would be my first.  It’s easy, exposed, and would surely make me look like a Queen dancing up it with only a chalk bag.

Before I knew it, Gavin was reminding me it was afternoon.  For some reason, I thought that Gavin’s mention of Mike in the morning meant that he would be picking him up.  Needless to say, there was a miscommunication.  I pulled off my harness and headed back to camp, woke Mike up from his hour long siesta, and we headed back to Area 13.  The rest of the day was lazy and careless.  Everyone was having a great time, and there was plenty of PB&Js to keep everyone satiated.  So just before leaving, I nudged Mike and convinced him to go with me to check out Maltese Falcon.  Maltese is a 4-star 5.12a that is one of the more famous in the area.  Having never red-pointed a 5.12a outdoors, I had made it my goal to crush this climb during this trip.  So we left the group and walked off to find the Maltese Falcon wall.

Mike helped me sequence the climb, and off I went.  Clip 1 was pretty easy and provided a good rest.  The sequence felt good and I had only deviated a little, but before I knew it, I had clipped 5 of the 6 clips on this route.  I thought I had it in the bag.  I was going to blitz right past the outdoor redpoint for the grade and nail an on-sight, or at least I thought.  Clip 5 is right next to the crux.  A large sloper-undercling leads to a high left-hand Gaston lock off.  After 3 tries locking-off then retreating back to the rest, my forearms nearly screamed “take” for me.  After one hanging rest, the move seamed easy.  I was at the 6th clip, reached for the remaining draw, and it wasn’t on the side I expected.  When my hand reported empty, I shifted my weight to reach to the other side, and SLIP! Whipper!  After I finished, I belayed Mike as he sent with no problems.  “I’ll rest tomorrow and send on Monday,” I said to Mike.

Mike making quick work of "Dirty Dancing." 5.12b on Holy Wars Cliff.

We rallied the troops and headed back to camp.  Everyone seemed to split up at this point.  Some had to go into Mammoth Lakes for food and supplies for the weekend.  Others went for a shower.  Chris and David stayed at camp. Mike humored me by riding along to the hot springs.  And after a fruitless attempt to find the other hot springs in the area, we stopped by the one form the day before to find it packed.  “Spirit Wind” was there again, this time naked, and hilariously hitting on a group of 3 young uncomfortable-looking downhill mountain biker boys while ignoring the 3 middle aged women right next to him.

We were the first back to camp.  David and Chris already had the fire going.  We all cooked our own dinners and began to drink.  Chris began working on a blueberry cobbler, which he cooked with only a blanket and his farts (Dutch oven).

Sunday we went to The Alcove, a section of the Main Island area.  The alcove has some great climbs, most are 5.10- with a few pumpy, but fun 5.11s.  We spent most of the morning and afternoon here.

Mark showing off some of the awesome thumb-catches at The Alcove.

At one point Justin wanted to get some pictures from above, so I gave him a belay.  By the time he had gotten to the top and screamed “off-belay,” I was already doing the bathroom dance.  So as soon as he was safe I took off, leaving Justin to think he was stranded.  When I returned, I jumped on the sharp end and headed up towards Justin.  Dana wanted pictures too, so she made Justin, who had climbed without a shirt, cook in the sun for one more climb.  But it was worth it, Justin got some awesome shots.

Dana crushing "Peanut Brittle."

It was warm on Sunday, so when someone suggested we bail and head to the lake for some cold beer, just about no one complained.  It took a little time to get everyone mobilized, so we got to the lake right around Sundown and the temperature was already dropping.  But on the bright side, we had beer!  As I recall, Dana and Derek grabbed the only full submersions in the lake.  The rest of us sat on a log drinking beer and began to clean the dirt from under our fingernails as we realized that we would not be taking lake baths like the two straighties on the trip.

Beers at Twin Lakes.

Sunday night was a repeat of Saturday, only this time we had eight times more wood to burn, mostly because the previous nights fire was fueled by David and his saw; he was able to procure copious amounts of fuel from a downed tree in the area.  So that night we burned the hardwood that I had purchased from the local hardware store, as well as the bushels that magically appeared at our campsite at some point during the day.  After finishing my dinner, I saw David looking up a the the trees far above the fire.  “Pretty, huh?” I said to him as the hot air from the flaming pit made only one section of the tree’s leaves dance in the otherwise still air.  “Pretty? I’m afraid they’ll dry out and catch fire.”

Throw another log on Gavin!

Well, we didn’t catch any trees on fire, but when we woke up Monday morning, we found two notices from the Ranger, one for leaving food unattended, and another for not dousing the fire properly.  Woops!  I was embarrassed.  I certainly knew better than that. So when the ranger rolled up as we were dousing the fire.  I took the brunt of the responsibility.  Luckily they were pretty cool and let us off with just the warnings.  Hilariously though, when I had walked back to Justin, Dana, and my campsite, Justin says, “That ranger just came by and complimented how clean our campsite was!”  I rolled my eyes and laughed.  At least we didn’t start a big gay forest fire, because that shit would have been hot, fierce, and unstoppable!  (Note to Roland, update the trip information to include proper fire conduct, i.e. bring a shovel and the last to bed douses and mixes.)

When we got to the crag on Monday, we all had planned to spend the day on Stoned Wheat Thin Cliff, however, only Justin and Dana ended up getting on the wall there.  They attacked “Pull My Finger” 5.10a, 17 bolts, 180′ 3 pitches.  The rest of us went to The Potato Patch.  Mike and I warmed up and strung up some TRs.  Although Eric had a few stiff lead climbs remarking, “I don’t know why I do that shit,” after Mike had given him props for doing a delicate slabby lower section with a sketchy first clip.  All the while we were watching Justin and Dana slowly making progress up their exposed climb that seemingly can be spotted from anywhere in the canyon.  After just a few climbs for me we all headed over to “Maltese Falcon” so I could give it a second shot.  This time I did worse.  I fell off the crux 4 times before I realized I had the beta completely wrong.  Oh well, next time I’ll get it.

About this time I saw Justin and Dana throwing the rope down off the top.  “I guess they’re rapping down,” I thought to myself.  I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ll say this, Nick and I ran up a 3rd class gravel field to free their rope after they had rapped only the first pitch.  We all learned that when you climb in large groups, something that could normally be a pretty scary situation is quickly solved with a little communication.

Justin and Dana screwing around on the top of "Pull My Finger."

Clarks Canyon, as described by, is “a beautiful climbing area with mostly sport routes.”  More accurately, “Clarks is fucking beautiful, and at 7000 ft altitude, I hope you don’t mind seeing your lunch more than once a day.”

Connor, swishin' it up a bit.

West Coast Labor Day Trip report Part 1.

Coming off the high of the annual Homo Climbtastic trip to the NRG, Chris Black, Leader of LA’s Top Out Rock Bottom sent out an email to the other West Coast group leaders.  He suggested a late summer, early fall rock trip for us left coasters.  We discussed dates and destinations, and at least considered not wanting to steal any glory from the Labor Day Rumney trip.  But after realizing that all the likely Rumney trip candidates from the west were on the thread AND too broke to fly out (and furthermore that it was unlikely we’d steal any Rumney attendees) we decided on Labor Day weekend as well.  Now you would think it would be easy to find rock climbing in California that is not only hospitable during the month of September, but also approximately equidistant for both the Bottoms and the Flashers.  However, as it turns out, there is only one: Clarks Canyon.

Clarks is tucked away behind about 5-6 miles of single-vehicle-wide dirt road.  The approach is trecherous… for your car. The road has large rocks in the middle of the road, and bushes that threaten to key your car on either side.  It’s like playing “would you rather” with a masochist AND a rapist.  However, Gavin seemed to make quick work of the approach in his Celica (I’ll wait for the results from his mechanic before I make it official).

As a co-leader, I wanted to get an early start, so I headed out of San Francisco at 3:30pm on Thursday.  I took Friday off, and had the goal of getting 4 days of climbing in.  I rolled into Big Springs Campground late Thursday night, and surprisingly, there were still several camping sites open.  However, I recounted camping there before.  It’s primarily inhabited by enthusiasts of the all-terrain: getting woken up by the “rad-it-tat-tat” of a large 2-stroke engine is not exactly my favorite stroke to wake up to.  So I decided that I would continue in the dark down the not so well marked windy dirt roads to find the primitive “Clarks Camp”.  When I arrived I was initially thrilled that there were no other campers in the entire campground.  So I parked my car and set up camp.  The sky was clear and there was no moon.  I could see every star, but not much else.  There was no wind, and the only noise was the rustling my sleeping pad made when I would move slightly to turn the page in my book.  Then, abruptly, there were noises in my campsite.

I shut off my headlamp and began thinking to myself “There is a bear outside my tent! Holy fuck holy fuck holy fuck.”  I was all by myself; I, unlike the southerners from HC’10, did NOT have a gun; and I didn’t even think of bringing bear mace.  I was armed with a small red button on my car keys labeled “Panic.”  However, like most, I had never pressed it.  Nor had I read the manual, so I was afraid to press it: in fear that I could not turn it off, and that it might disable the ignition until the battery died sometime after the bear had already gotten used to the noise and chomped happily on my brains.  Once the steps seceded into the silence, and my heart rate had dropped below 200, I fell asleep clutching my car keys against my chest with both hands.

The next morning, I was reading: waiting for Chris and David to arrive.  I was startled by the same noise I had heard the last night.  I spun around quickly to see a bird rustling in the underbrush behind my tent.  I still maintain that it was a bear and not a bird.

Chris and David arrived shortly thereafter in a giant, red, gas-guzzling, stereotype-shattering truck: a 1979 Ford Bronco.  The both hopped out and claimed the large campsite a hundred feet away from mine, where most of the others would camp and we would have our fires in the evenings.  We all jumped in Chris’s truck, and rode the remaining 2 miles of washboard dirt road to the crag.  The Bronco, unlike any of the other cars on the trip, had no problem with this road… well… except for Chris’s occasional push of the dashboard back onto it’s fully upright and locked position after being rattled nearly onto his and David’s lap several times.  Never before had I felt the almost uncontainable impulse to yell, “YEEEE-HA” followed by a drawn out “Sonofabitch!”  But I contained myself.


The 3 of us climbed at Area 13, a great volcanic rock with slabby to vertical climbs filled with pockets typical of volcanic climbs.  And although not all of the holds were good, seemingly every hold had a small thumb-catch that would transform a sloper pocket into a bomber pinch.  Most of the routes were below 5.10, and were all classics with only a few climbs at or below a 3 star rating; most were in the 4-5 star range.  This, we decided, would be a great place to bring everyone tomorrow for a nice long warm up the next morning.

Chris chaulkin' up at Area 13.

As Friday drew to a close, and since the three of us constituted “the group” thus far, we decided that visiting one of the hot spring tubs would be an excellent pre-dinner activity.  So we headed out and checked in, via text of course, on all of the converging Bottoms and Flashers.  Dinner was to be at 7:30 in Mammoth Lakes.  Now 6:30, we were racing to squeeze in our hot dip.  We arrived at one of the tubs in a grassy field a few miles from the Mammoth Airport.  There were 4 men in the tub, and 3 were getting out.  So we jumped in and started chatting with the one remaining man.  He had long hair, and wore a old cowboy hat.  He identified as a “local” although he also said that his camper was just over the hill.

The scene couldn’t have been more picturesque: there were a few large bull wondering around in the amber fields as the orange sunlight beaming down on the vast landscape was cut in half by the towering mountains to the west.

The local started to tell us about how he was camping on an indian burial ground.  He knew this because he had spent the day digging a hole for his second-hand recliner to nestle.  And he told us about his “friends” that put on a show for him after kicking back in said recliner.  One was black, one was white, and all the women were “hussies”.  The black one and the white one got in fights often, but the white one always seemed to win.  “The white won had all the power, naturally,” he said.  We all shot a look at each other as if to say, “We’re not in the city anymore.”  The local saw this non-verbal communication and qualified his statement, “I’m talking about cows, of course.”  We all laughed.

When asked what the local does for work, he rambled off about “unlimited funds” and “giving back to the world.”  Which I think meant not much more than, “I have a nice truck, possibly because I won the lottery” and “I sit in this hot tub and act like a crazy hippie.”  He then insisted us on “showing us” by taking us on a spiritual journey that was supposed to help us live in the moment.  It was so silent that for the first time that I began to hear the Enya-like music coming from his truck, as if on cue.  Chris and David looked scared, and I decided to provoke the hippie by reaching out and grabbing his extended hand.  He told us all to “reach in, close your eyes, and feel your ass.”  I think Chris was about to reach for his because, the hippie qualified, “feel your ass against the tub… your legs warmed by the water… etc etc.”  It was actually quite fun to think about all of the things he listed from the wind that seemed to gust almost at his will, and the sunlight on our faces.  But at the same time, we all knew this guy was crazy and we had to get to dinner.  So I told him we had to leave and asked him his name.  “I have many.”  So I asked for his favorite. “Spirit wind” he replied.  I almost cried trying not to laugh.

At dinner, the group expanded one carpool at a time: first Mark and Derek, then Gavin and Eric.  Justin and Dana met us at the campsite about the time we were throwing around Gavin’s magical illuminated disk. (This is not a euphemism.  Although I’m not sure it could be, it sounds like it is.)  We all set up camp and went to bed, eager for the climbing that tomorrow would bring.

Gavin's Magic Disk

Trip Report: The Super Secret Place

todays trip report requires a bit of discretion.  the place we went to has what the climbing community coyly refers to as “access issues,” so there is an understanding among the people who climb there that we not discuss where it is, how to get there, and so on.  because there are a lot of routes, the benefit is that you can climb there on a sunday, get on a bunch of classics, and not see a single goddamn person.  but the main benefit of no crowds is not, as you might guess, the ability to get on popular routes without waiting.  no, the real benefit is that you can climb naked. as pictured here.


ok, so we didnt really climb naked, and this picture was taken purely for the blog.  which may have made heterosexual cohort zach uncomfortable, although i couldn’t truthfully tell him that our trips weren’t normally like this.

Heterosexual cohort Zach. I'm not sure why we didn't have any pictures of him shirtless at the crag, but maybe Matt didn't want to give him the impression that we were perving. Which we were.

although not naked, i did in reality spend the entire day in underwear, flip flops, sunglasses, and a helmet.  the south is hot y’all!

If you saw how far up that second bolt was, you'd have top roped that shit too

given that i cant publicly disclose even what state it’s in, me and laurie decided to refer to this climbing area in the open as as The Super Secret Place.

Laurie, on the other hand, Just Says No to top roping. And says yes to sexy back.

even among the regulars, people dont know the name or the grade of 3/4 of the routes there. fortunately, we had the most recent revision of the bootleg topo for the area, which you too can obtain if you’re willing to forgo your sexual orientation for a few hours.  (Editor: Does it really take that long to fuck (redacted)?  Me:  Yes!  You only wish you could have.  And you can’t print that name here.)  suffice it to say, the dixie dyno’mos will stop at nothing to get a bootleg topo.  but dont ask us for it, because we think that’s a right of passage everyone should experience.  certainly better than whatever was involved in joining your fraternity, if only because we have the dignity to skip the cracker and admit that the paddling was enjoyable.

The downside of the area is the occasionally spartan bolting (better than no bolting) which demands creative stick clipping and sideways mammer-jammering.  So half the time we climbed anything we were tied into another rope and swinging around to clip the next route over.  Still, despite the heat, and the spiders, and the mammer jammering, the route quality is stellar and the grades challenging.  The latter probably explains why someone abandoned this pair of (Redacted) brand climbing shoes at the base.

Looking for a good home

Matt said, “Maybe you shouldn’t badmouth (Redacted) in case they decide to sponsor us?”

“If that happens, I’ll just delete all the references to (Redacted), and help them come up with a new ad campaign.  I can see it now.  (Redacted): Better than Montrails!”

“Maybe if they give us free shoes they’ll just spray paint their logo over a pair of good shoes like they did with (Redacted Redacted).”

Check out those guns

On the way home, we passed a sign next to a gas station that said “boiled peanuts”.


The boiled peanuts sign was underneath a sign that said AMERICAN OWNED.

Thumbs up for the bottom sign, not the top one

The “American Owned” signage made me and Matt feel a little uncomfortable, because it’s the equivalent of “NOT FOREIGNER OWNED.”   In any event, one would assume that if you’re going to take particular pride in your American-ness, you would take particular pride in the pièce de résistance of southern cuisine, boiled peanuts.

NOT TRUE.  Those peanuts were hardly boiled, and if I was driving, I would have turned that car right around and chucked that styrofoam cup hard enough to blot out at least the second half of “American”.

Also, I demand to know what the hell the female equivalent of “Extenze” they were selling is supposed to do.

The male "extenze" makes your penis longer, so we can only presume that the female "extenze" makes your... uhhh... this seems like a discussion more appropriate for the comments section

with the trip just about over, i thought about my goal that morning, which was basically to find a place with bolts with no more than two hours of thorny bushwhacking, and to waypoint the shit out of everything on my GPS.  after we left, i was sad i didn’t have more time to get on harder routes, so it was kind of funny that we debated going to sandrock instead the morning of.  so, moral of that story, if your group is five or less, grab that motherfucking machete and move toward the abyss.


Yo yo ‘mos and faux,

Just a reminder that you can upload a set of your full-rez pics from the trip! And if you want others, you can access them too. Like this personal favourite of mine where everybody appears to look normal:

High-Rez Photo Sharing
So we know there has been some Facebook connections and tagging orgy-ness going on. But in order to share the High-Rez images, CJB has set up a microsite where we can share the REAL photo files. This means we can print poster size images of our most ridiculous moments. Instructions are as follows:

Go to
There are a couple ways to upload to the server.
Option 1: Add yourself
1 – Go to the server, then register yourself.
2 – Accept the link that is emailed to you and set your password then login
3 – Click on the “hcc2010” 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
Option 2: FTP
1 – Add all your photos to a ZIP/TAR/GZ with YOUR FULL NAME… IE: “JohnSmith.Zip”
2 – Open your FTP client and point it at the server.
3 – There’s a username and password, but we can’t put it in the public blog, so email us if you want to do it this way
4 – Upload the file
5 – Your file will be processed by an administrator over the next few days.

If you’ve already uploaded photos to Facebook, no worries! The only thing we ask is if you can take a minute or two and add them to the Group photo pool. Feel free to also add them to each cities’ respective group pool.
You can see the photo pool here: