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.

YEEEEE-HAAAAA!

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.

Yowza.

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”.

“STOP THE FUCKING CAR.”

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.

DON’T FORGET – HIGH-REZ PICS!

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 http://hcc2010.lalgbtclimbing.org
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: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=13433344179&v=photos

Supertopo Trip Report, NRG 2010, Part 3

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Mike shows off his ape index on Fuel Injector, Kaymoor, 5.13

So Bubba City proved, again, the two rules of large group management, both of which I was previously determined to break.  No more!

Rule #1: Large-ish groups hate even moderately strenuous hikes.  Even when composed of people who, alone, will run uphill five miles in the snow.

Rule #2: Everyone is determined to stay together.

Kate on Tobacco Road (12a)

My plan was for people to break up and do their own thing on the last day.  By now, I figured, people would have picked out a crag and some people they wanted to hang with (romance!), and would resent a summer camp style schedule of the day’s events with too big of a crowd to mack on anybody.  Not so!  People wanted to move as a group and they wanted someone six feet tall with a beard and a huge stick clip to take them.  So after Bubba City turned out to be wet and everyone was all pissed off about trudging to and from the car through sludge and brambles, there was clamoring about what to do next.  We ended up, yet again, at Summersville Lake, I guess because everyone knew where it was and that it would be dry.  In the New, most of your decisions are based on what will or will not be dry.  And sometimes you go to the Meadow or to Bubba or wherever thinking you’ll avoid the crowds, and sometimes you do, but sometimes you get fucked, and so Summersville was packed.

Mike on the ledge of B/C, the Coliseum, 5.13b/c. Those are straight porn magazines on the left. On our next trip, we plan to add a copy of Unzipped to the B/C library. Don't throw it away or we'll cut you.

I discovered when we parked ourselves by the best arete route in the whole wide world, Under the Milky Way, that I had lost my Swiss army knife, which was very upsetting, because it was a gift from when I lived in Switzerland and it has my name engraved on it.  Which means that whoever found it and did not return it to me is a big mega douche.

Anyway so I had to borrow Connor’s knife to open my can of tuna.  I learned how to open a can with a knife from Dean, Chavez’ friend.  Dean is totally straight and totally twenty years older than me and he totally gives me a boner every time I see him.  I think the next time a guy older than me on the internet gets pissy because I blow him off, I’m going to forward them a picture of Dean, and say, “if you were once in the military and raced motorcycles and had a face like this, I’d fuck you too.”  Despite being totally hetero, I think Dean will help me get laid regardless, because he took awesome photos of me at the Red (and of Mike when he was at Kaymoor), and gave me the ever wonderful moment of vanity of being in a five star photo on rc.com with a comment that says “SUPER SICK!” and being the protagonist in a flame war between sport and trad climbers.  I’m tempted to comment on there that I’m gay and single.  Gay and single y’all!  (Can someone with an rc.com account post that in there? Please?)

Rio smoking on Tobacco Road, 12a

(Other Dean photography highlights: Dictator Chavez sending a wet Bubba City trad climb, and Dictator Rio literally smoking on Tobacco Road.)

Gay and single y'all!

We ended up at Orange Oswald again, doing endurance climbs. I asked Ann how she was getting home, and she said with me, which was fine, cause I had one seat open. But then I asked Leo, and he said with me, and then I asked Jasper, and he said with Leo, and I asked Mike, and he said with Jasper, and then I was like, “hold the fuck up, I don’t drive a clown car,” and “you motherfuckers better find someone else to ride with.” I had idle fantasies of having a drunken bisexual three-g with Ann and Leo so I was like, what the hell, they can share the seat in the back, they might as well get to know each other now, right? So it was us and Mike and Connor, and I put on a headlamp and did a little after-dark climbing at Orange Oswald.

Ken, on the trail to Summersville.

We only had three headlamps between the five of us, so we had to walk close together on the hike out. I had one of the best parts of the trip, standing on that one part of the trail where you’re on the edge of the water in view of the bridge, but at night, which I hadn’t seen before. It occurred to me that no commercially available camera could capture this without blurring the ripples, and that was why I felt it important to stop and look at it.  Marching back through the mud in the halo of a spotlight, nobody was speaking, concentrating on the ground, and I was happy, because this is the sine qua non of a good climbing trip–I didn’t have to ask if anybody was uncomfortable with staying past dark.  Alis doesn’t have to ask Odin, Noah, or Myau if they’re afraid to hack up a bunch of monsters in some cave somewhere, she just fuckin goes and does it.  (Funny story: after my oldest brother woke up from a two week coma, the first thing he asked for was the released-in-his-absence PHANTASY STAR III.  On my most recent visit to the emergency room, the most disturbing event was the realization that hospital TV’s no longer have A/V hookups.  What the fuck do children recovering from comas do now?  Watch HGN?)

So anyfuck, it’s like 10:30pm when we get to the car and I’m pretty sure there ain’t shit open in Fayetteville so we headed to Summersville and Summersville, West Virginia, HAS AN APPLEBEES OPEN UNTIL 1 AM.  And they have TWO DOLLAR COCKTAILS UNTIL CLOSE.  She carded Leo but not me, although I suppose that’s expected, since people stopped carding me at 18.

Leo and Alex, who apparently looks forty

I wish I could say it was the cocktails, but I’m pretty sure Mike and Leo would have ended up arm wrestling even if they were sober.  Maybe they were sober.  Anyway they were arm wrestling at Applebees, and the waitress came over with my drink.  It had on the rim a pineapple slice, cherry, AND a strawberry.

“This looks beautiful!” I said.

“It normally comes with a pineapple,” she said, “but the strawberry and the cherry are my special touch!”

I could hear Chris in my head: “And by [redacted], I mean you can do anything!”

On her recommendation, I had my first Applebees meal which was not horrendously awful, but I forgot both the name of the meal and the drink, so I’m kind of fucked if I ever get screwed again into going to Applebees.  I don’t know why, but my carpools are inevitably full of people who are willing, no, excited about pulling into an Applebees.  I can skip showering for days, wear sneakers with holes, clothes from Goodwill, and eat peanut butter and jellies for weeks, but my upper class upbringing is inevitably betrayed by the reaction I have to being told we’re eating at Applebees.  People probably figure I just paid for the law degree with scholarships, until,  “Me?  At an Applebees?  Do you know who I am?”  That and the car.

(Editor: Miss Ann Raber notes that the drink was the “Baltimore Zoo.”) (Me: How does she remember these things? It was very delicious. Almost as much alcohol as you get out of one of those little vodka filled chocolates.)

We drove back toward Fayetteville.

The next morning, we ate at the Cathedral for breakfast, and I had the Dobson, like always.

Later, we were driving back home through north Georgia when I saw a sign that said “Boiled Peanuts” and so I was like “STOP THE FUCKING CAR” cause I love boiled peanuts.

No boiled peanuts!

But sadly, they were closed.  Connor still got out of the car to take a photo of the place, I guess because being in the south and seeing a wood shack with a tin roof and a rocking chair and a gigantic American flag and a wooden duck with a blue ribbon around its neck and woven baskets and produce on sale is like being in France and seeing a dude wearing a beret holding a baguette and a paintbrush and a cup of coffee doing a mime routine to Depeche Mode.

The next day, dad drove me and Mike and Connor to the MARTA station so that Mike and Connor could get back to the airport.  I gave them hugs at the turnstiles and returned to the car.

“Fuck, I’m depressed.”  I was no longer in West Virginia, Mike and Connor were heading to California, Chris was back in Honkyville, and I was scheduled to take the bar exam in a week.  The preceding week was no less of a reality than the next week’s reality, so it would be inaccurate to say that I was now returning to reality.  But I was returning to something.  Something significantly less fun.  And it wasn’t the obligation of work either–I brought my bar review materials to the New, to the Alabama canyons, my income tax books to the Red.  And I wasn’t leaving friends, I have friends at home. And there’s climbing in Georgia. So what was out there?  A state of mind?  A temporary suspension of Positioning Myself For The Next Thing?

A week and a half later, my father got a thank you note from Connor.  “He doesn’t know I’m sending him a bill for $150 a night,” Dad said.

Part of Connor’s letter said that “it was refreshing to see a father so comfortable with his son’s sexuality.”

Dad said, “I should write back to him, and say, ‘I appreciated your letter, but I didn’t understand the part about Alex’s sexuality. Is there something I should know?’  …You know, to fuck with him.”

“It could be seen in poor taste.”

“Ok, I won’t do it.”  But I kind of think he will do it, the next time he’s drunk Facebooking.  So I’m warning Connor now.

Dean. I'm not sure he would have allowed Tim to take this photo if he knew what I was going to do with it later.

Later, at Red Lobster, I asked Dad about emancipation in the sixties.  What was it like to have “Whites only” signs?  Did he even know what gay was?

“Well, your great uncle was pretty open about it, as you know.”  My great uncle, aside from being a super genius getting attention in Virginia for using bootleg AT&T equipment to build his own working car-phone in the 1960’s, had a mansion with enough opium and heterosexuality-optional group sex to make Andy Warhol wince.  “The last time I saw him alive, (he died in his forties from heart problems), he was walking through the hospital with one of those rolling IV’s, with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other.”

What was racism like in the south?  “Well in a way, it was better there.  When I moved to New Jersey, I thought, oh, this is the north, it’ll be a lot better, but instead it was worse.  Also all the people there thought that since I was a southerner, they could talk to me openly, because of course I hated those blankety blanks.  Most of the black people I knew who moved up north moved back to the south.”

Southern belle Laurie (l), Kris

Even with plenty of friends from rural Georgia with thick southern accents who are hardcore queer rights activists, I still can’t shake that impression that the south is behind on the gay train.  Which is why Connor’s note surprised me, even though I knew it shouldn’t have.  When I turned on the TV as a kid and they (CNN, based in Atlanta) showed the gay pride parades, it was always a parade in New York or San Francisco.  Growing up, I thought up north, and out west, and in Europe, these were the places in the world where the gays roamed free.  The reality was, I discovered, very different.  RuPaul is from Atlanta. Atlanta’s ratio of Pride attendees to city population is about the same as San Francisco, and many times larger than New York (note crowd counts are notoriously rough).  The gay bars in Dallas have the mega-club real estate of East Berlin.  But prejudices are hard to shake, and my stereotype is that because the people out west are so ahead of the gay curve, of course they’ll be cool with their kids being gay, and of course, this isn’t really true at all.

Christy and Kris. Another of Tim's photos.

So if the dirty-dirty’s penchant for faggotry, lesbianism, and trannydom still surprises me, despite having so many things deflating my own prejudices, the Homo Climbtastic convention must be a real mind-fuck for its non-southern participants, some of whom have never been to the south before.   When an old pick-up truck with men in camo hats rolled slowly around the hostel corner one morning, more people probably expected a fag drag than the fucking hot guy leaning out to say, “hey boys.”  Of course, true to type, maybe part of the reason we’re all so friendly down here is because we’re all packing heat.  No seriously.  All of the southern carpools had guns.  Welcome to the south y’all!

Meli. Looks like she's either pumped or praying for death's sweet release. They are kinda the same.

Homo Climbtastic held the largest queer climbing convention in the world, but it would be overly reductive to describe its significance in this way.  This year’s convention again spawned new local climbing clubs.  It proved that the south, that queer people, that queer climbers, that you, can all be whatever the fuck you want.  It was an ephemeral suspension of the mindless drive to worry about the next thing.  It was a reclamation of athletics, a poster for a people shoehorned into a limited sphere of acceptable sports and performance.  It was an expression of humor’s centrality to meaning.  It was a portal to Outland.  If you weren’t there, I promise, you want to be present for the next one. It’ll be bigger anyway.

Alex Rowland

Supertopo Trip Report, NRG 2010, Part 2

The group at Roger's Rocky Top Retreat

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The next morning, we all swung by Roger’s Rocky Top Retreat, so that we could get a group photo with Fayetteville institution Roger.  I still don’t know Roger’s last name, although I keep meaning to ask him.  Roger was kind enough to put up one of our posters, which made me feel even more guilty about the fact that we were camping at Chestnut Creek (I lost that fight to people who require level tent space).  I suspect next year the appeal of forgoing quiet hours will swing the vote toward Roger’s.

We took over the entirety of Butcher’s Branch, and at the base of Flight of the Gumbie, Matt revealed that he had brought his dresses and wigs.  So there was really no choice but for us to do a drag climb.  I was going to climb lead, but the only open climb nearby was slab, and I prefer injuries I can explain.  These were five of my favorite photos.  I’m the blond.

…….I nearly sent the damn thing on TR, but between the last clip and the anchors my heels slipped off on the smears and I had to stop to slide them back on.

Kate from New York led some God-awful sandbagged 12b that raped me on top-rope, even out of drag.  John fell while clipping on Flight of the Gumbie and after a thirty foot fall and a not quite soft enough catch, rammed his ankle with enough force to go all blue and purple–which scored him the “best lead fall” win in the anti-comp and a free pair of Chacos.

John (l), Taylor

That night, the dictators picked up a to-go meal and discussed dictator things on the lawn, so I didn’t get to see what all the convention attendees got up to.

Saturday, I joined a group of 14 HC’ers to go rafting with the Rivermen.  The head guide was kind of a douche, and totally not rolling with our faggotry, but the two guides who were actually steering the HC boats were fantastic and all about being stowaways on our queer train.  One of them, Shea, steered her boat over to my boat, guided by Abbi.  “Hey,” she said, “what do gay horses eat?”

Matt started to yell, “haaaaay,” but then Shea interrupted, “HORSECOCK!” and HC’s next official inside joke was born.  For the remainder of the day, all we could yell at each other was “horsecock!”

Abbi's holding the red bag.

We had lunch at the Secret Sandwich Society, and I got the Ulysses, which was really good, and so were the chips, although the mac and cheese tasted kind of funny.

That night at the campground, Connor expressed to me that maybe I should play bad cop a bit more with the quiet hours, because “we are,” he said, “whether we like it or not, representing all gay people.”

“I think it’s a bit late for that,” I said.

Dad called me on the phone to talk about mom, whereupon I learned that it had only taken a few hours for photos of me in a dress to show up on Facebook.

“I saw your pictures on Facebook,” he said.

“Did I look good?”

“Maybe you should have shaved.”

Late Saturday night ended with smores, and therefore, a chubby bunny battle.  Laurie egged me on to go up against the other dictator named Alex, Alex Chavez, and so we were stuffing marshmallows into our mouths one by one and saying “chubby bunny.”  I got up to about 7, with marshmallows oozing out of my mouth, when I saw a good opportunity to forcefully make out with Alex and hump him on the ground, as pictured here.

We ran into campground owner Brian in the bathroom when we went to wash the marshmallow off.  “We had a chubby bunny competition get violent.”

The next morning was a group breakfast at the Vandalian.  The food was amazing, as usual, and we had the anti-comp award presentation.  We gave away the goods from Chaco, Prana, Black Diamond, Friction, Beta Clothing, Aveda, Waterstone Outfitters, and drag superstar Pandora Boxx.  Tim, who took most of the photos in this report, got a prize for being our favorite ‘mo photographer.

Tim. Yeah, I would have, but Jon got to him first

I got a prize too, but I forgot what the category was, if there was one.  On our last trip to the Red, we debated out loud what would happen if porn star Levi Poulter showed up, and we decided that if he did, someone would have to get a pair of kneepads as a prize.  So Kelly obtained a pair of kneepads and Bedazzled (TM) them, and that was my prize, although Levi never showed up.

Kelly (l), awarding me (r) Bedazzled (TM) kneepads.

We got worried later, after the anti-comp ceremony, that maybe we were too crude for the Vandalian, so I texted Porter to be all like, “I hope we weren’t too crude,” and he wrote back, “no, it was xxxpected,” and so all was well.

Homo Climbtastic at the Vandalian

Just as we stepped outside, Deadpoint Magazine arrived for an interview, so I stood on the street corner within the auspice of a tape recorder. He asked, “Why did you start the club?”

Usually, when confronted with this question, I respond, “I started this club to find tops, remedying social iniquities was just collateral damage.”  But I was concerned that DPM’s readership wouldn’t know what tops were (straight male climbing mag readers are usually bottoms) and so I hedged and said something like, “to have fun” or whatever’s quoted in the article.  The tape recorder didn’t pick up me leaning over and miming a blowjob.

DPM, I’m pretty sure, was more interested in the social justice-y aspect of HC, which dances in tandem with our tendency to act ridiculous.  I usually have trouble speaking seriously of social justice and the challenges stemming from discrimination faced by the queer community, e.g. the 800% suicide rate, which DPM brought up.  I let the others talk about discrimination present and past. For me, HC was/is about creating a new world, rather than working on an old one. Like Opus’s departure for Outland, I figured everyone I liked would eventually follow me in.  The most I would do for the old world would be to Bedazzle (TM) the portal so it would at least be easy to find.

Standing there on the streetcorner, I realized I had come a long way.  When I was in my teens, I think I felt ashamed of the crude gays in the dresses and the hotpants, because if only all the gay people would just act like straight people, talking normally, buying life insurance policies and houses and getting married, being responsible, and fitting in with gender expectations, and not being crude, THEN the straight people would accept us.  Two martial arts and many pool table hustles later, I finally realized that straight people didn’t worry about what other straight people were doing or whether they were properly representing other straight people, and if they weren’t taking collective responsibility for 2 girls 1 cup, I didn’t see why I had to prove shit.  All I really wanted was for people to be free to do what they wanted.  Up to and including climbing 5.10 in a dress. (Next year’s goal: send Apollo Reed in drag.)

Nikon sells a filter that's capable of removing the unicorn rainbow in front of Waterstone, but we didn't have it

We posed in front of Waterstone for a group photo, yelled “horsecock” in lieu of “cheese,” and then everybody went to Bubba City, which turned out to be a little bit of a disaster.

On to Part 3.

A correction: Well, a pseudo-correction, as I left something open to misinterpretation; Connor’s comment was only in regard to quiet hours, he wasn’t suggesting that we tone down our swishyness, just that we not be assholes by keeping the campground awake all night, whether by drag show or by alligator wrestling.  (Although that does give me a new idea for next time…)

Supertopo Trip Report, NRG2010, Part 1

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

West Virginia's Rte 19, Rowland, Connor, Chris

After a long and illustrious history with Supertopo, I write for them a trip report, as requested, describing the goings on of Homo Climbtastic’s excursion to the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Now, I’m not quite sure what to say–I hate reading descriptions of trips in climbing magazines. I’m not sure if it’s because their trips fail to involve climbing in drag, or their descriptions suffer a painful lack of brevity–so for the sake of interest, I endeavor to address both. Maybe failed in the latter respect.

The first matter involved getting our carpool together, assembled from me, Chris, Mike, and Connor. We had to pick up Mike and Connor from the airport, because they flew in from San Francisco. It throws me for a loop that I now know Mike and Connor, given that I nearly went to Berkley for law school, and so knowing them gives me the fatalistic impression that no matter what I do, HC causes my life to turn out the same way and with the same people no matter what. (HC = god = chuy.)

As usual, we stopped at a mid-range chain restaurant, O’Charplebee’s Tuesday, for a mid-trip lunch. The waitress asked me what I wanted to drink.

“I would like the girliest cocktail you have.”

“A Peach martini?”

“I’m a Georgia peach. Therefore yes.”

I was soon buzzed. The waitress came back, took our food orders, and asked if I was ready for round two.

“What would you chase this with?” I asked.

“Well, I’m a beer drinker, so…” she shrugged.

“Well if you were a nelly gay bottom on the way to a gay rock climbing convention in West Virginia, what would you chase this with?”

“A strawberry martini.”

“Done.”

Chris (r) in sun hat, Summersville Lake

We stopped at the Fayetteville Wal-Mart on the way into town, so that Chris could pick up a sun hat and so I could pick up tuna. I set up my tent at Chestnut Creek, and briefly debated whether I should clear a space for a midnight visitor. I decided against it. Now that HC is huge, I’m usually too busy with trip management to mack on anybody, and I promised myself I was going to stop dating climbers. By the first day, all of the gay neuroses were on display–am I butch enough? Am I too femme? Am I single-handedly proving to the world that homos are responsible enough to adopt children? If I’m gay and a member of a religious or racial minority, do they cancel each other out? But fortunately, as is the Homo Climbtastic spirit, most of us were there just to have a good time, and whether we reinforced or shattered stereotypes was a casual byproduct of doing whatever the fuck.

The first day, a bunch of us went to the Coliseum and worked Apollo Reed. “I heard this was the most popular 13a on the east coast,” somebody said. Ann Raber, in the tone she uses to feed gumbies through a tree shredder, said, “yeah, it’s a classic, which means it’s probably well protected and soft for the grade.” And if that didn’t suck the wind from my sails after I got through the first crux, watching her later flash that section certainly did. Whatever. I still feel good when I see Ann crush something, because I’m pretty sure I’m the subject of her massive sex-crush, and if she climbs that hard and wants to do me, I must be pretty hot.

Rowland clipping on Apollo Reed

Mike sent Apollo on his first attempt of the route that day, which would later score him the “Best Send” win at the anti-comp and a free pair of Chacos. Rather than shower, we just stayed as late as we could get away with at the Coliseum before we headed over to Pies and Pints for dinner. They cleared out the back patio for us, so that the 40 or so queer-ish climbers that had arrived the first day could talk about double penetration and the dangers of getting a yeast infection from scissoring within eight feet of the children’s playground. (They might as well know the dangers of scissoring now. As compared to AIDS and pregnancy, the thought of cheesy discharge being pretty much the worst risk of sex makes lesbianism the most appealing of the sexual/gender orientations, so they should know early enough to start taking hormones before they grow sex organs.)

Raber, Rowland, Rio, and Connor, near the Pies and Pints playground

On to Part 2, which includes drag climbing at Kaymoor.