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Has anyone ever seen a real dirtbag?


Mason Stone · · Boise, ID · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Depends on the criteria, but yes I have met a few. Homeless dirtbag, van dirtbag, sprinter dirtbag, trust fund dirtbag, married, career and on. The appendage can be used to/for  anything. 

Its fun to be away on adventures however long or brief. Beckey was one all his life sort of. My friends J and P are too, J sends 5.8, P just crushed 5.13. 

Levels of dirtbaggery are not dependent on financial status, my view, they are about ethos and or personal conduct.

M

Tan Slacks · · Joshua tree · Joined Mar 2004 · Points: 114
Ryan Hill wrote:

I met a fellow back in 2009/2010 who was living at the Pit in JTree.  He lived in his mid-80's 2-door hatchback, it had a driver's seat, everything else had been ripped out to make room to sleep and store gear.  Someone mentioned that he owned a toothbrush, the car, and his stone working tools, I don't remember seeing him with a rope/rack.  He seemed to be making of his living selling carved stone bowls, which he carved using some power and manual tools during rest days in the Pit.  He said he bounced between JTree and Bishop and seemed to have been doing that for a long time.  During our 10 day stay in JTree he mentioned something like 3 or 4 first ascents that he had done in the past week or so.  

He had arms that looked like they could carve rock themselves, the strongest climber I knew at the time spent a day climbing with him and declared it the hardest thing he'd ever done.  There were multiple stories from his climbing partners that if they took or fell the guy would lower them, pull the rope, tie in, and start climbing with the assumption that he'd be on belay.  I got the impression that he could be a hard guy to spend time around, but during our time at the Pit he proved to be a great camp neighbor, considerate, and full of more climbing history and knowledge than anyone I've ever met.  

Don't remember his name, but he certainly left an impression. Always seemed to me like the archetypal "dirtbag". 

Hey Ryan,

That was Phil Birchoff. Climbing with him is always a pleasure and yes, he may fit the term "Dirtbag" but I would also add "artist"

Hobo Greg · · My Van · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 160
AndrewArroz wrote:

Sincere question, Greg. What's the gear situation like for someone living at that minimalist of an economic level? Is your friend climbing on the same hexes he's been using since 1990 and a tattered rope? Or does he prioritize for things like that? I know there are plenty of good ways to get cheap or free 2nd hand gear, but I'm curious.

A rack of gear, which can be had on here for less than $500, lasts a while. Ive never understood why people say climbing is an expensive sport, when it's really not. Biners and nuts don't go bad, cams last for years, and a $150 rope every year doesn't even compare with skis boots lift ticket etc.

Ben Williams · · Live in a van · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 30
AndrewArroz wrote:

Sincere question, Greg. What's the gear situation like for someone living at that minimalist of an economic level? Is your friend climbing on the same hexes he's been using since 1990 and a tattered rope? Or does he prioritize for things like that? I know there are plenty of good ways to get cheap or free 2nd hand gear, but I'm curious.

No need to buy gear if you dirtbag, weekenders leave enough of it in the cracks for the dirtbags to fish out on Monday morning. 

Hobo Greg · · My Van · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 160

Does anyone else ever think about how in our circle, living in a van is a luxury, but compared with the vast majority of Americans, it's a sign of nearing rock bottom?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Hobo Greg wrote:

Does anyone else ever think about how in our circle, living in a van is a luxury, but compared with the vast majority of Americans, it's a sign of nearing rock bottom?

Greg,

Off topic, but are the guy who frequently solos Mike's Books?

Ryan Hill · · Oakland, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 30
Tan Slacks wrote:

Hey Ryan,

That was Phil Birchoff. Climbing with him is always a pleasure and yes, he may fit the term "Dirtbag" but I would also add "artist"

Awesome, thanks for providing the name and adding the term artist.  

Did a quick search in Google and finding some of the Sierra/Yosemite FA's that Phil has is inspiring.  Had no idea about his past climbs when I met him.  Glad to put a name to the man.  

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Hobo Greg wrote:

A rack of gear, which can be had on here for less than $500, lasts a while. Ive never understood why people say climbing is an expensive sport, when it's really not. Biners and nuts don't go bad, cams last for years, and a $150 rope every year doesn't even compare with skis boots lift ticket etc.

Oh, I totally agree. I never understood the position that it's expensive. I take my kids snowboarding for a weekend and spend more than I've spent on climbing gear my whole life. Thanks for the response. 

JSchloem · · Homer, AK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 265

I met this dude once at camp near a face. He hitched a ride up there and eventually divulged he was living/sleeping on his college girlfriends dorm floor. He made a sandwich out of salami, mustard from packets, an onion, and ritz crackers. He smelled bad. Then he put his headlamp on and eventually to go solo the route we were planning to to the next day in daylight. It was pretty cool.

amockalypsenow · · San Diego · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 720
Hobo Greg wrote:

A rack of gear, which can be had on here for less than $500, lasts a while. Ive never understood why people say climbing is an expensive sport, when it's really not. Biners and nuts don't go bad, cams last for years, and a $150 rope every year doesn't even compare with skis boots lift ticket etc.

Soccer is an inexpensive sport, running is an inexpensive sport. Trad climbing is an inexpensive sport? Lol. Then climbers in less developed countries don't have trad racks because they're just not into it I guess. Not in my experience.

Anthony Lubetski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25
amockalypsenow wrote:

Soccer is an inexpensive sport, running is an inexpensive sport. Trad climbing is an inexpensive sport? Lol. Then climbers in less developed countries don't have trad racks because they're just not into it I guess. Not in my experience.

I was just about to respond with something of this nature.  If you climb, you are inherently privileged (access to rock, access to skills, access to gear, etc... All pretty difficult to obtain if you're poor). If climbing wasn't expensive, there wouldn't be non-profits trying to raise money to get disadvantaged and poor people climbing.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
amockalypsenow wrote:

Soccer is an inexpensive sport, running is an inexpensive sport. Trad climbing is an inexpensive sport? Lol. Then climbers in less developed countries don't have trad racks because they're just not into it I guess. Not in my experience.

I think it's all relative. The biggest luxury all of us here have is the time free from worrying about putting food on the table to do ANY sport. But relative to costs, I know people who spend more on running schwag than I do on climbing gear, and I don't hold back on gear. But, true, you can also run barefoot.

Climbing, as a sport, is relatively inexpensive compared to many other common sports/hobbies such as skiing/snowboarding, golf, anything involving horses, sailing, cycling...

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,675
Ryan Hill wrote:

I met a fellow back in 2009/2010 who was living at the Pit in JTree.  He lived in his mid-80's 2-door hatchback, it had a driver's seat, everything else had been ripped out to make room to sleep and store gear.  Someone mentioned that he owned a toothbrush, the car, and his stone working tools, I don't remember seeing him with a rope/rack.  He seemed to be making of his living selling carved stone bowls, which he carved using some power and manual tools during rest days in the Pit.  He said he bounced between JTree and Bishop and seemed to have been doing that for a long time.  During our 10 day stay in JTree he mentioned something like 3 or 4 first ascents that he had done in the past week or so.  

He had arms that looked like they could carve rock themselves, the strongest climber I knew at the time spent a day climbing with him and declared it the hardest thing he'd ever done.  There were multiple stories from his climbing partners that if they took or fell the guy would lower them, pull the rope, tie in, and start climbing with the assumption that he'd be on belay.  I got the impression that he could be a hard guy to spend time around, but during our time at the Pit he proved to be a great camp neighbor, considerate, and full of more climbing history and knowledge than anyone I've ever met.  

Don't remember his name, but he certainly left an impression. Always seemed to me like the archetypal "dirtbag". 

Some of this sounds like Russel Erickson, who lived in the Seattle area in the 70s and early 80s. I haven't seen him since, but I heard he was in S. California and carved rock. He wouldn't be the type of guy to mention his FAs though--in general he wouldn't talk much about himself and was super encouraging to those around him. 

amockalypsenow · · San Diego · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 720

tfw when you see somebody that graduated from a private college on MP self-proclaiming dirtbag status from their iphone...

Anthony Lubetski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25
amockalypsenow wrote:

tfw when you see somebody that graduated from a private college on MP self-proclaiming dirtbag status from their iphone...

I'm gonna respond to this so it gets posted again. This is just what this thread needs.

jg fox · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
bruno-cx wrote:

ALF, he pulled a gun on my buddy once.  Does that make him a real dirtbag?

ALF?

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235
AndrewArroz wrote:

I think it's all relative. The biggest luxury all of us here have is the time free from worrying about putting food on the table to do ANY sport. But relative to costs, I know people who spend more on running schwag than I do on climbing gear, and I don't hold back on gear. But, true, you can also run barefoot.

Climbing, as a sport, is relatively inexpensive compared to many other common sports/hobbies such as skiing/snowboarding, golf, anything involving horses, sailing, cycling...

sport = an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

Most people don't really climb to compete against orders.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110
jg fox wrote:

ALF?

Everybody knows/has met Alf. Or at least heard stories. Regardless what one may think of him, he IS a true dirtbag. 

Some poor, misguided and well intentioned soul even made a YouTube video about him a few years back. 

jg fox · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
the schmuck wrote:

Everybody knows/has met Alf. Or at least heard stories. Regardless what one may think of him, he IS a true dirtbag. 

Where can I find this "Alf?"

Peter Beal · · Boulder Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,740

My impression was that Fred Beckey lived primarily on investments, trading stocks and so forth. Can anyone confirm this? If true, that would make him a funny kind of dirtbag. My guess is there are a fair number of people with small portfolios via investments, retirement funds and inheritance who stretch this money out via judicious spending and careful management and can climb full time. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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