No, darling, you don’t miss him…you miss the near-death sexperiences.

OK so you’ve dated a climber, and, after having some herbal tea and talking with your therapist, you’ve decided that relationship just wasn’t for you.  Because you’re just better than that.  You’re worth more than that.  You deserve someone whose idea of a vacation involves room service and maybe a massage, not some self-centered narcissist with a death wish whose idea of “time off” is going to (insert river name here) gorge and climbing 13 hours a day.  Stand up for yourself!  Be the person you need to be, heal from this experience and move on, wiser and more capable of dealing with adversity in your relationships!  Now if only you could achieve an orgasm with your new love interest, that accountant you met at a trade show in Orlando…

What the fuck ever, this ain’t Cosmo and I’m not giving out any more GODDAMNED dating advice.  But Rowland was telling me about this article he read in some fucking book or what the cock ever.  Evidently, people who experience extreme stress (ie:  20 foot fucking lead falls) have an unexpected side-effects.  Like being really really really horny.  And guess what?  When you’re dating your climbing partner, you have those near-death experiences with one-another.  So it may be that you wind up having the best sex of your fucking life while dating another climber.

I need to add here that we’re NOT talking about clucking…Homo Climbtatsic does not endorse this type of lewd behavior.  That’s not to say we think there shouldn’t be MORE of it, we just don’t want to be responsible when it all goes horribly wrong for you.  Besides, we’ve all received fellatio while being lowered off a climb, and it’s totally fucking over-rated.  If, however, you’re making a video, we’ll totally watch that shit.

Think about it…have you ever cleaned a trad route & gotten to that totally run-out crux section right at the very end of the pitch only to realize that the piece you’re about to clean is actually an old chicken nugget with a sling wrapped around it?  Have you ever taken a 20 foot whipper only to realize that the gate on your fucking quick-draw at your last bolt…yes, the one you just fell on…blew, and you only survived because the rope happened not to fall out of the biner?  These experiences lead to some pretty serious emotions, and probably some serious arousal later in the day…if not immediately afterward.  Jon told me that, while he did not feel arousal immediately following his (now homo-world-famous) whipper, it was “no fun” having a near-death experience without having someone to take it out on.

Though you can see only terror in his eyes, Jon's probably insanely horny in this pic.

So, sugar, listen to me:  You do not miss that ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend climber.  In fact, breaking up with that person was probably the best thing you’ve ever done.  You do, however, miss the post-near-death-experience sex.  I recommend autoerotic asphyxiation if you’re not ready for another relationship, or, if you’re emotionally available enough, try to find someone who’s willing to experiment, maybe a little role-play with a loaded gun.  It’ll be safer, and odds are good you’ll wind up with someone who’s a little more sane than your garden variety climber.

HC featured on Towleroad, ProjectQAtlanta, ClimbingNarc

Whenever I post about HC getting posted about elsewhere, I think of a This Modern World cartoon where one of the characters says, “I’m blogging your blog!” There’s something vaguely disturbing about blogging about getting blogged elsewhere, like pointing two mirrors at each other. But more than I am disturbed, I enjoy basking in our notoriety! Woooo!

We got about 7,000 hits after my trip report was mentioned on Towleroad.

Matt Hennie of ProjectQAtlanta found great enjoyment in my letter to Nathan Deal, who just (gag) won the Republican primary.

And we got a nod from ClimbingNarc.com.

Robbie, sweetie, darling!

Well, the only news that Homo Climbtastic heard from this year’s Gay Games in Cologne was that Steve and Nick from San Francisco’s Flame’n’Flash came in second and third. A major accomplishment, congrats boys! What we DIDN’T hear until a few hours ago was that one of our very own, our fellow Homo Climbtastic Dictator, our ‘mo bro across the pond, Sweetie-Darling-Robbie won the GOLD!

That’s fine Robbie, sweetie, darling! We all miss you terrible and we can’t wait until you come back. Especially since we’re all still too scared to lead trad. Anyways, congrats Robbie! Way to represent Homo Climbtastic. I hope they gave you a small shoe as an award.

Also a big congrats to Steve and Nick!

Getting rid of your gym habits

FUCK YEAH I SENT THAT SHIT! (c) accidentalocelot, Flickr

Hello fellow enemies of societal norms!

Most of us these days, including me, started climbing in a gym.  And gyms are good at building bad habits.  Perhaps you’re climbing outside for the first time, and you’re on a toprope, and you do the whole thing without falling, and you’re really excited, and you’re like,

“YEAH I SENT THAT SHIT!”

But then a hush falls over the crowd.  You mean…. you didn’t send it?  WTF?  But you’re outside!  You’re in nature!  Rules mean nothing!  You are a free agent!

But the whole sport is profoundly arbitrary, either there’s bolts drilled into your sport climb, or someone with a big broom brushed all the shit off your trad route.  In terms of connecting with nature or your primitive roots, you might as well go bowling.  It’s a culture and there’s norms and you don’t want to be the douchebag who’s drinking the water out of the finger bowl.

At Homo Climbtastic, we don’t want you drinking out of the finger bowl.  We are like Joan Crawford.  So here’s a starter list of gym induced sport climbing no-nos.  For the sake of brevity, I state only generalities; the exceptions would foreclose pithyness.  But there are exceptions to some of these.  Actually just the one about jumping.

Bad: Leaving the start of a figure eight knot in the rope after you get off a TR.
Worse: Leaving a GriGri attached

Bad: Calling for a take when you’re above the last bolt
Worse: Actually taking

Bad: Not jumping when your lead climber falls
Worse: Leaning back when your lead climber falls

Bad: Short roping
Worse: There is nothing worse than short roping.

Bad: Using the black lever on the GriGri to feed out rope for clipping
Worse: Yelling, “but it’s stuck!” when your climber yells at you

There’s more, but I don’t get paid for this. Fortunately, Rio is here to finish where I leave off.

Bad: Sharing crux beta when it wasn’t asked for
Worse: Beta-raping someone before they’ve even tied in

Bad: Leaving your gym’s belay card on your harness while climbing outdoors
Worse: Climbing with excess gear on, in the GYM (we get it, someone took you outdoors)

Bad: Putting your leg between the rock and lead rope
Worse: Falling after putting your leg between the rock and lead rope

Bad: Breaking in new climbing shoes
Worse: Saving the rubber for the gym

Bad: Incorrectly taping up minor injuries
Worse: Over taping such that you look like an extra in “The Mummy Returns”

Bad: Using holds that have a chalked up “X” on them
Worse: Knocking off those lose holds with the chalked up “X” and NOT calling “rock”

Bad: Not climbing due to an injury
Worse: Not climbing because you’re dead

Bad: Douchey climbers
Worse: Unsafe douchey climbers

Grow, my pretties…

WHAT THE WHAT?! So after the amazing vibe of the summer trip, it was only natural to pay-it-forward. And really, you can’t stop a good thing, naaw what I’m saying?! Thus, we’re happy to announcing the growth of this amazing queer climbing network expand into 3 more cities and a clever new name for an established crew!

NEW NAME FOR L.A.: Top Out, Rock Bottom – LA LGBT Climbing
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=370721459316
Still managed by our beloved CJB, the city of Angels crew is gonna be acting devilish at Clark’s Canyon very soon.

NEW GROUP BOSTON: Redpoint: Boston LGBT Climbers
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=138626862835702

Lead by our very own Jon who has moved to Boston to be a smhart kid at some school/thing called Harvard. With Rumney 2 hours away, be sure to see a lot of adventures in New England. In fact, here is a link to a Rumney event coordinated with New York City’s CRUX.

NEW GROUP ORLANDO: R.O.C. – Real Orlando Climbers
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=135485833153735

Our little medic, Taylor, is leading the Disney State through epic adventures. Climbing manatees, oranges, and Key Lime pie, this group is sure gonna shake the waters everglades!

VANCOUVER: Vancouver Queer Rock Climbers
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=115716435146529

Giulio, our bambino carino, our queer connection to Squampton and the Chief is growing this group on Canada’s Pacific coast. This group is hot off the press so stay tuned.

Our plan is working…grow! Grow! GROW!

Connor, bears, news, oh my!

This is my first blog entry on Homo Climbtastic, so I’ll take this opportunity to introduce myself.  I’m Connor, and I climb gay rocks, er, um, I’m a gay cock climber, damn, I’m a gay rock climber, there, nailed it.  I’m other things too, which is why I’ve always had a hard time with labels.  So in reality, I’m just Connor, and you can call me anything you like (but people usually stick to Connor, because I’m also a gay mixed martial arts expert).  More on me in the future.  Mike (check the ambassadors section) and I (mostly Mike) started Flame and Flash, San Francisco’s Bay Area LGBT Climbing Club, after his trip to Homoclimbtastic ’09.  And we have three things to share with the larger Homoclimbtastic audience; no, not our combined number of balls this time, but real news-worthy news:

Nick and Steven

So do you remember when you were a kid, and barbie was your hero?  (Or GI Joe if you’re a top or a lesbian).  I had that same feeling today.  Twice.

Who's up for sloppy second and third?

Nick and Steven, two of our Flame and Flashers went to Cologne, Germany for the 8th Gay Games.  They both competed in the Sport Climbing Competition and won Silver and Bronze respectively!  That’s right, Flame and Flash has gay medalists (medalistSSSSS, that’s two motha fuckas, count’em) and we couldn’t be more proud.  Well, I guess we could, but one of them will get gold next year, at which point we will be more proud. Either way, they trained their asses off, which in Nick’s case meant trying to quit drinking and making it almost a whole week, and in Steven’s meant going on National TV and dancing on a wall.  These boys deserve our recognition, so next time you see them, give them a pat on the back, or a handjob, because they’ve earned it.  Next year, I hope to see some of our ladies up on that podium!

Labor Day Weekend

As many of you know, Labor Day is approaching faster than the train that Nick and Steven are likely running on some Germans right now.  And we, Flame and Flash along with LA’s LGBT climbing group, Top Out Rock Bottoms, are working our waxed asses off to bring you the most FlamingTop-and-FlashyBottom-Filled event ever!

So read up, show up, and bring a dress (or camo-cargo-shorts if your a lesbian).  Post questions on the event wall, or email one of the event admins.

Knee Pads

Finally, “You’re getting knee pads!”  No wait, I mean tanks.  Mike has designed, and WE have ordered (that’s right, I do shit too) our new Flame and Flash tanks!  As if your swishy climbing style wasn’t enough, the next time you flash a hetro’s project, you won’t have to say shit, because the gayest tank top ever will practically scream “I’m here, I’m queer, and I flashed your goddamned project.”  The tank might also ask said hetro to have sex with you, because these tanks have a mind of their own, and let’s face it, you wanted to ask but don’t have the balls.

Flame and Flash tank back graphic.

And BTW, you’re all going to look damn sexy in them.  What’s that you say? $15 each for a tank that will convert hetros? What a bargain!  We’ll announce when we receive them, and we’ll bring them to our FnF meetings.  If you believe in god, and he prevents you from coming to an FnF meeting, you can still get your hands on one by asking nicely.  Supplies are limited, so suck it in!

I’m hard on, get me off.

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