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

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

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

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

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


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

But that’s not all!

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

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

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

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

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

Madaleine Sorkin and Lizzy Scully.  Picture of Lizzy:

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

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

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

Picture of Madaleine:

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

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

So, you have them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That other life I lead… you know, the real one

I have several posts in the hopper, but I’m still taking care of a few things after Dad decided the most prudent thing to do on our motorcycle ride to Ball Ground, GA was to torpedo himself into a ditch at 50mph and do a live demonstration of the effectiveness of Shoei helmets.  (Pretty effective, actually.)

Mom’s opinion: “At least he totaled the ugly motorcycle.”

So the Rowland family is down one 2012 Kawasaki Versys and (thanks to the Shoei helmet) not down one Dad, thus I’m visiting him in this ultra depressing rehab facility for medicare patients.  I thought he was going to end up in some awesome facility with other people who had equally awesome injuries, but apparently when you turn 65, instead of a regular rehab facility with football stars, you get sent to this place that’s one step away from a hospice.  Which I’ll write about later, but my main summary is that if I ever end up half brain dead with a feeding tube, pillow me to death.  Or if they’re really convinced I’ll eventually wake up, put the Propecia in an IV so I don’t wake up with male pattern baldness.

Mostly I’ve been spending my time trying to convince Dad that the motorcycle wreck is actually a sign that he won’t spend the last twenty years of his life moseying around some independent care facility making bad jokes and talking about things nobody cares about.  Dad: “Its not true, I’m starting to talk like them now!”

Beyond that, perhaps spurned by the realization that I’m going to die eventually and should get around to doing all that stuff I want to do beforehand, I started my own business:

Ordering business cards reminds me of that scene from American Psycho where they compare how the letters are embossed.

So now, at, you can see my new law firm!

I have to make money somehow–pee bottles don’t pay for themselves.  And although the other organizations I’ve started were all very successful, they tended to make me zero dollars, in fact, I think I netted well below that.  Damn you, charities!

HC is one of several brain-children, only one of which I almost regret having.  There was my high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (with Mindy Cheren, Lisa Shirley, and Casey Pickren), the Dyno’mos (with Susan Mattern, Adam Keen, and Adam Lindsey), Queer and Ally Athletics, and of course, my World of Warcraft raiding team, Team Hot Mess.  (Co-chaired by English professor Arthur Bahr.)  Team Hot Mess was its own brand of queer activism; although most LGBT-friendly organizations are not premised on proving that we’re better, Team Hot Mess was.  Arthur and I could lead the softest DPS to victory under the harshest of latency conditions, and laugh heartily at anyone who couldn’t.

Many of the lessons I learned from my experiences there and at HC will help in this more profit-oriented enterprise, I’m sure.  There’s the generic crap, of course–that it’s all about the journey, not the destination, to focus on your dreams regardless of what anything suggests is impossible, to just let the bad DPS die because you’re better off saving the mana when you can still beat the enrage timer without them.  So on, so forth.  But the most important thing is to do it with people you care about.  The good ones, the ones who joke with you when you’re up, and fight for you when you’re down.  Because there is no other solace like knowing that even if you fail, you’ll laugh trying.  If you live long enough to see a place like this, with laminated menus for “Thursday”, you’ll be happier knowing you’ve tried everything.

This photo was taken when I was still unsure of whether HC would be an epic disaster. Photo credit: Tim Kettering


The Red has a lot of dirtbaggers, more than the other climbing meccas I’ve been.  When I see them emerge from their vans in the morning I wonder if I should have gone to law school.

When they did that 60 Minutes segment on Alex Honnold and the reporter was expressing her fascination and awe about how he lives out of his car, I was laughing, kind of in the way I laugh at Yankees exploring the south, like, as Susan puts it, Columbus exploring the new world.  In any event, there’s a charismatic draw to the dirtbagger, who is basically living like a homeless person (well, you are a homeless person) only you can still get laid because your Mountain Hardwear and Prana clothing is color coordinated and distracts onlookers from the fact that there are dead bugs in your hair, you smell, and you keep a jug in your car or tent full of your own urine; which you squeeze in before you screw shut and store upright because you know if you don’t do those two things you come home to discover that urine in an airtight space is like a very slow acting dry-ice bomb and the laundromat closed five hours ago.  Not that I know anything about this.

You’ll never be sure about your apple juice again.  It’s certainly not blast proof.

Without some dead gazelle-trampled lion-father back home and a birthright to claim, it’s hard to resist the appeal of living on the road with a mattress in the back of a truck.  Akuna matata!  Enjoy nature while everyone else slaves away in an office building.  Free from a job that would pay for the toenail fungus medication, and your only obligation to resuscitate the vestiges of modern living is to steal a shower once every two weeks when encountering a weekend warrior who expects you not to smell like an armpit before you fuck them.  That’s pretty much all you have to worry about, cause with the abs you have from climbing, they simply don’t assume or don’t care that they’re about to get foot warts, toenail fungus, scabies, and a yeast infection before they’ve even finished putting the condom on.

Not that I’m not envious (well not of the scabies at least).  I do like sitting here watching the door flap open, and then flap closed, and eavesdropping on these people talking about the materials in bungee cords and solar panels.

The unappealing part is that everyone is painfully introverted.  You have to shoot them in the shin before most of them will look up.  Most outsiders would mistake this for arrogance or narcissism, but it’s really an intense fear of other people, combined with the fact that unless they see you for more than three days in a row, there’s a 99% chance they’ll never see you again.  Among friends they’ve known for years, people on the verge of divorce, or with children with failed surgeries, or with dead or dying parents, talk mostly about route beta and RV parts and sex.  It’s probably the more obvious response to a terminal existence; it’s just not the expected one, I suppose because nihilists don’t write from Walden pond.  And if you really want to get grad school thesis about it, I think photography prevails over any other medium because it’s the most immediate means of proving any of this exists.  Kind of in the way Romantics write to prove that they exist. /philosophy