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Advice for a female climber that wants to dirt bag it on her own?
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By amber743
Apr 12, 2013

I am 22 and I still have not left the same town I grew up in. Iíve been climbing for a year now (so still very new to everything) but I am hooked! Now all I think about is when I can get back to the rock or why am I driving to work itís so nice outside, I should be climbing. Wanting to get out of here, travel and climb everywhere and anywhere Iím considering the dirt bag life style for a little while. My question is there any other women in this forum who have done this on their own? If so please share stories. What things do I need to be practical about? How much money to save up, food, hammock/camping or just sleeping in the car? I am thinking of trying it out for 3 months to get the feel of it. Really the only thing I am nervous about is doing this on my own but I feel like it would be a phenomenal experience!


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By Woodchuck ATC
Apr 12, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I too wonder if there are that many women who will have much input for you. Hopefully some run across your post. Alot pair up to road trip or dirtbag life on the road.
Question: Where are you? What is your radius of travel you are considering? Follow the sun and seasons to great areas all over the country? I can only suggest going to the Red River Gorge in KY for sure, (by May this year it might actually be spring weather?). Camp. live safe and cheap at Miguels and you will have dozens of climbers to match up with daily...there are alot of confident and independent women climbing there for months at at a time. Many sport partners, maybe even a few women traddies about if you are lucky. Best of luck


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By Arlo F Niederer
From Fort Collins, CO
Apr 13, 2013

Hi Amber:

I'm not a woman but I can help you with the general dirtbag stuff. I've done a few extended climbing "trips" over the years.

It's hard to get your head around it right now because it is too ambiguous. So, make it more specific (it will help you accomplish more, too). Get out a map and mark out places you would like to climb.

Decide where and when you want to climb. Make a tick list of the climbs you want to do in each place. Follow the warmer/better weather, and try to make an efficient route, to minimize your travel expenses. For example, do Yosemite Valley in May, Tuolumne in June, Tetons/Wind Rivers in July/August, Rocky Mtn Natl Park/Lumpy ridge in September, Zion in October, Indian Creek in November.

From this, you can add up the mileage and based on your car calculate how much gas will cost. Fees for national parks/camping. Tally up how much you spend on food in a week and that will give you an idea what to budget for that. Keep track of the incidentals that you have during the week, too.

This will be your baseline...what are you willing to sacrifice to reduce this if necessary?

Pull out your checkbook and credit cards and see where you spend your money. What is essential and what is not? Is there any more climbing gear you need based on where you want to climb?

As far as camping, you should be able to sleep in your car sometimes, because there will be times when you can't find a place to camp and will need to. Most of the time we would camp or sleep in hammocks, depending on weather and bugs. Eating out is expensive, so plan on cooking all the time. You need to be able to cook in bad weather - what's your setup for that? And you need a contingency fund in case of car trouble, damaged gear, etc.

Once you have this tallied up, you'll have a better idea of what it will take to accomplish your dirtbag trip without being too much of a dirtbag.

I assume you are still working, and you can use the time you are working and saving to dial in your systems. Use your setup on shorter trips and find out what works and what doesn't. How to get everything to fit in your car, camping/cooking essentials, climbing gear, etc. Just like practicing and dialing in the various techniques to climb a big wall. Work will be a little easier with your goal in mind, and a light at the end of the tunnel - MONTHS of climbing!

I think your initial plan for 3 months is a good idea...plan out three months of climbing.

I've always been lucky and had a friend who wanted to do the same thing. But in many climbing areas you can find people to climb with. That can be a tricky business because you really don't know how safe or experienced another climber really is.

I can't speak to the female safety aspects, the ladies will have to chip in. All the "heads up" that you do right now is a good start.

My first trip was a 4 1/2 month trip starting in Yosemite, Toulumne, the Tetons and Wind Rivers, starting in mid April. By the end of August, we were both tired of just climbing and went back to college.

Good luck and I know you will pull it off!





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By CJC
Apr 13, 2013

admire your gumption

but you need travel/climbing partners

especially as a young woman

please be careful


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By Liberty
Apr 13, 2013
Me

Do get a companion. There are a lot of drifters and just people looking for trouble out there. If you cant find somebody and decide to go alone stick to populated areas and litup wallmarts to sleep. When you hit the next town go straight to the local climbing gym and get introduced and start hanging out with groups. Think safety first and stay clean!


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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 13, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.

I don't think I wound find living out of my car, etc. for 3 months much fun, and I don't think I'd wanna do a road trip like that - esp being a single female traveling w/o MY .45 auto with me! Sadly - the world and people aren't getting any safer or better these days! And I know that's a very sad thing. While 99% of the climbers I have met and know ARE extremely nice people - today, one can't be sure of anything.

What do these people DO for showers, medications, banking (with no local bank account established - rely on cash, ATM or credit/debit cards?), etc.

Cooking in inclement weather would be tricky - would need some type of tarp or set up to get out from under the rain, etc. to cook.

It wouldn't be SO bad I would imagine if one had a decent van in which to sleep in, keep all of their gear and supplies. Sleeping in a car - aka: compact car - prob wouldn't be much fun tho per se.

???


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By M Stillman
Apr 13, 2013

Just one alternative for you to consider that may last longer than giving dirtbagging and try and could be more rewarding...I climbed for years in my 20's and 30's with a flexible job in a great area. I could at least afford a reasonable car and apartment, plus trips to some great places around the world. When I was ready to be a bit more serious about other things in life, I had job experience to build on. It was a great time in my life and I look back on it with great memories...climbing after work until dark, and getting out all day every weekend. Just one option, but one I'd recommend.


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By Blake Cash
Apr 13, 2013

Stick to the major areas in the beginning:

Maple
Rifle
Ten Sleep
RRG


There are a ton of solo climbers and you can even work into belay cycles in these places (especially Rifle and Maple). From my experience, the solo climbers usually camp together and hang out together...and you end up seeing the same people all year as everyone follows the conditions.

Have fun!


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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Apr 13, 2013
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Get a pistol permit.


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By Nick Zmyewski
From Newark, Delaware
Apr 13, 2013
the frozen topout during a winter ascent

If you're concerned about your safety or plan to do any hitchhiking, pepper spray is cheap and comes in small sizes so it isn't a hassle to carry around. I definitely recommend going, even if you can't go with a partner. It isn't as scary out there as some people make it appear. You just have to use your head and stay away from potentially bad situations. Just be aware of your surroundings and listen to your instinct, if you get a bad feeling about someone get away from them. Chances are if you head to a popular area, you'll meet up with other like minded climbers and soon enough you'll have friends watching out for you.


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By Tom-o Sapien
Apr 13, 2013
Conky and I confront Patrick Swayze

Good luck Amber! Here's a couple sources to consider:
www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=free%20showers&source=web&cd>>>

www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=dirtbaggers%20guide&source=w>>>

www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=free%20showers&source=web&cd>>>

Arlo's advice is spot on, as is Ellenor's. NYC's concerns over banking can be solved by membership in a credit union. We bank locally at Ent FCU. This gives you free checking and free access to any ATM at any credit union and most 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. Fee's are waived so you don't get dinged for drawing out a little moola for that post pump slurpee!

Never carry more cash on your person or in your vehicle than you are willing to loose in a given day.
An aluminum baseball bat in the passenger seat is probably the cheapest form of protection you can legally carry in your travels, but freaks are everywhere, and as CJC put it; "Be careful out there!"

DirtbagginLadies can you help?


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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 13, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.

lucander wrote:
Get a pistol permit.


Lucancer - pistol permits are not good for multiple states. For instance - my permit here in NY does not allow me to legally carry my handgun to other states w/o having applied to each of those states to allow me to carry it in. Only a few states don't require permits that I am aware of - such as Texas, etc.

I can't take my handgun into VT, CT, MA, PA, NH, etc. w/o a permit in each of those states first before taking it across the border. In fact, as I understand it - one can't even GET a permit is MA these days.

Pepper spray would be a good, inexpensive, less hassle way to go. A average handgun these days even used will set you back around $350 and a brand new one about $500+!


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Apr 13, 2013
modern man

NYClimber wrote:
Lucancer - pistol permits are not good for multiple states. For instance - my permit here in NY does not allow me to legally carry my handgun to other states w/o having applied to each of those states to allow me to carry it in. Only a few states don't require permits that I am aware of - such as Texas, etc. I can't take my handgun into VT, CT, MA, PA, NH, etc. w/o a permit in each of those states first before taking it across the border. In fact, as I understand it - one can't even GET a permit is MA these days.


sometimes as Americans we just have to take what belongs to us. The thought that a single girl traveling the country couldn't legally carry even a small 22 is sickening to me.

I bet a high percentage of truckers carry.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Apr 13, 2013

Soooo... to recap, what we have so far is carry a handgun and a baseball bat.


or, more practical everyday ideas might be travel with another woman and/or have a dog.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Apr 13, 2013

Fall Guy wrote:
sometimes as Americans we just have to take what belongs to us. The thought that a single girl traveling the country couldn't legally carry even a small 22 is sickening to me. I bet a high percentage of truckers carry.


She can have it in the car, just not concealed on her person. In any case, I doubt a single woman pulling a gun when threatened is going to get her charged with having the gun.


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By APBT1976
Apr 13, 2013
Black Dike 12/25/11

Pathetic, yeah what you need is a gun to be safe lol what is wrong with people...

Try a good head on your shoulders to start and you should be fine. Always the chance you wont but that is the chance we all take with life every dam day we get outa bed and venture out into the world. Always has been always will be.

I would agree follow the weather to the popular climbing areas and you will find other like minded people doing the same thing. These people will become your friends problem solved. Sure you still have to use judgment and think on the fly but fuck we gotta do that at home these days also.

Go have fun live it up you are young. You will never regret following your heart. You will figure out quickly if it is for you or if it is not. If it is not for you use your head cut your loses and go home nothing lost really.

But shit if you insist go ahead add to the increasing mass of batshitcrazy people out there and get a gun. Surely that will solve everything lol....


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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 13, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.

David Sahalie wrote:
She can have it in the car, just not concealed on her person. In any case, I doubt a single woman pulling a gun when threatened isn't going to get her charged with having the gun.


David,
I guess you don't understand guns laws.

If it's a handgun - having it hidden in your car or not - is a felony. Go and kill someone during an encounter and they won't look at it that it was self defense much - especially after what this moron did in Newton, CT - where a AR-15 was blamed and the kid never even HAD one in the school! That right there led to a complete BAN here in NY of owning a AR-15. So the way things are going - unless one lives in a state like Texas where the gun laws are pretty lean - I wouldn't recommend it. A rifle or a long gun - that's diff. Handguns are wicked tightly controlled - esp now with all these clowns shooting people like in CO, CT, etc.


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By Tom-o Sapien
Apr 13, 2013
Conky and I confront Patrick Swayze

The dog option was a brief thought, but pets are not always welcomed in certain campgrounds/trails and aren't allowed in National parks more than 75' from the roadway.
Concealled Carry permits are required in most states and most aren't transferrable across state lines.
If not a baseball bat, then maybe a piolet?
"Keep away from me or I'll puncture your cranium with my piolet!" sounds much nicer than
"Stand back or I'll crush your scull with my Louisville Slugger!"
Either way, personal safety should be a primary concern for any person seeking such an adventure.

EDIT
Colorado, as other states www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=open%20carry%20states&source>>> allows you to open carry a weapon if you are the registered owner.


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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Apr 13, 2013
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Sorry to open that can o' worms. I did a lot of traveling before settling into a sedentary life of middle age. Naivete definitely got me in some sketchy situations that could have gotten worse if the people I was dealing with thought I was vulnerable.

Here's some other advise: buy a solar hot shower ($20ish), don't forget the #2 camalot, and never trust grades from a climber over 50 =)

If you're on the road, look for campground signs on your map. They're quieter, safer, and nicer to stay in compared to rest stops. I'll look for ones less than 10 miles from the exit. If you're on a budget, pull in at midnight, leave at 6am and *ehem* forget to see the fee tube. Also, treat yourself. If the campground is nice or you're tired, spend $10 and sleep in, hang around a creek, or go for a walk in the pines.

I was at Squamish last summer, seemed like a lot of "single ladies" were there. Same can often be said for Jtree.


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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 13, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.

APBT1976 wrote:
Pathetic, yeah what you need is a gun to be safe lol what is wrong with people... Try a good head on your shoulders to start and you should be fine. Always the chance you wont but that is the chance we all take with life every dam day we get outa bed and venture out into the world. Always has been always will be. I would agree follow the weather to the popular climbing areas and you will find other like minded people doing the same thing. These people will become your friends problem solved. Sure you still have to use judgment and think on the fly but fuck we gotta do that at home these days also. Go have fun live it up you are young. You will never regret following your heart. You will figure out quickly if it is for you or if it is not. If it is not for you use your head cut your loses and go home nothing lost really. But shit if you insist go ahead add to the increasing mass of batshitcrazy people out there and get a gun. Surely that will solve everything lol....


APBT - had one of those teachers in Newtown, CT or one of those folks in the CO movie theater been carrying a legal handgun - all those people wouldn't have been killed but stopped way sooner in their tracks. The best defense is a good offense. Perhaps you think everyone is of 'trusting' nature these days? read the newspaper dude or watch the news on TV. You'll think different! You don't have to be bat shit crazy to own a firearm! Shit - I've owned them since I was 15 yrs old, and was a responsible hunter and target shooter for years, and an armed guard as well when I was a EMT.
have some asshole break into YOUR house, rape your GF or wife, or kid - and see how YOUR tune changes!
Your mindset is what has America on the verge of ruination today and why our 2dn Amendment Rights are being messed with. Our forefathers must be turning over in their graves for sure!


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Apr 13, 2013

NYClimber wrote:
David, I guess you don't understand guns laws. If it's a handgun - having it hidden in your car or not - is a felony. Go and kill someone during an encounter and they won't look at it that it was self defense much - especially after what this moron did in Newton, CT - where a AR-15 was blamed and the kid never even HAD one in the school! That right there led to a complete BAN here in NY of owning a AR-15. So the way things are going - unless one lives in a state like Texas where the gun laws are pretty lean - I wouldn't recommend it. A rifle or a long gun - that's diff. Handguns are wicked tightly controlled - esp now with all these clowns shooting people like in CO, CT, etc.



What you are saying is true for the northeast in the cities, but not the west: AZ,TX,NM CO, WY, UT, etc (also known as places with lots of rock, good weather and free camping... places worth dirtbagging). The car is an extension of your house, and there is no law or permit to have a gun in your car, backpack, etc.


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By Chris Rice
Apr 13, 2013

Take a couple week vacation and give things a sort of trial run on your own. This will let you sort out things like sleeping, cooking in bad weather, figure out how insecure (or scared) you find yourself alone in different situations, what equipment you need that you don't currently have etc. Better to figure things out and be well prepared before you quit your job and hit the road for real.


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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 13, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.

APBT1976 wrote:
Pathetic, yeah what you need is a gun to be safe lol what is wrong with people... Try a good head on your shoulders to start and you should be fine. Always the chance you wont but that is the chance we all take with life every dam day we get outa bed and venture out into the world. Always has been always will be. I would agree follow the weather to the popular climbing areas and you will find other like minded people doing the same thing. These people will become your friends problem solved. Sure you still have to use judgment and think on the fly but fuck we gotta do that at home these days also. Go have fun live it up you are young. You will never regret following your heart. You will figure out quickly if it is for you or if it is not. If it is not for you use your head cut your loses and go home nothing lost really. But shit if you insist go ahead add to the increasing mass of batshitcrazy people out there and get a gun. Surely that will solve everything lol....


You must BE living in Never, Never Land bro if you think the world today is a very safe place! LOL. You're dead wrong dude! Look at frikken Jodi Arias! I'd be willing to bet that you even voted for Obama as well is my guess!


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Apr 13, 2013
modern man

APBT1976 wrote:
Pathetic, yeah what you need is a gun to be safe lol what is wrong with people... Try a good head on your shoulders to start and you should be fine. Always the chance you wont but that is the chance we all take with life every dam day we get outa bed and venture out into the world. Always has been always will be. I would agree follow the weather to the popular climbing areas and you will find other like minded people doing the same thing. These people will become your friends problem solved. Sure you still have to use judgment and think on the fly but fuck we gotta do that at home these days also. Go have fun live it up you are young. You will never regret following your heart. You will figure out quickly if it is for you or if it is not. If it is not for you use your head cut your loses and go home nothing lost really. But shit if you insist go ahead add to the increasing mass of batshitcrazy people out there and get a gun. Surely that will solve everything lol....


dont know where you live or if have noticed but this country is heading down the shitter and crime is at an all time high and rising. mass killings at an all time high, jails/prisons are full to the brim... yeah, lots of crazies out there for sure!


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By APBT1976
Apr 13, 2013
Black Dike 12/25/11

I agree with the dog comment if you are that worried. Not really as you will have a whole nother set of problems. On other hand these two have a uncanny way of knowing when something is not right or does not belong, and when it is not i promise they are not so cute anymore. Darn right scary tbh!




Brooklyn
Brooklyn




Tank
Tank


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Apr 13, 2013

Great looking dogs!


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