Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rock Climber Girl

I stumbled on a blog called "Rock Climber Girl" the other day and found it quite interesting. There are entertaining trip reports (including one about Red Rock, where I am about to go) and gear reviews, as well as thoughtful pieces about life and climbing, for example one about the vicissitudes of roping up with your lover. But I liked best the way RCG infuses the stories with her personality and perspective. It gave me a window into another's delightful view of climbing and life.

Of course, I found some of that view perplexing. Climber Girl devotes a whole article to the best way of "de-funkifying" (getting the stink out of) synthetic climbing garments. Now, why would anyone want to do that? In the summer of 1972 I proudly wore the same shirt for about 45 days straight while climbing in Yosemite. The fouler the better was my mantra. With apologies to TM Herbert, "I started climbing when men smelled like men, and we nailed 5.8." Of course, when I tried to hitch-hike back east, all my rides were really short. Hmmm? Is it a female thing, this focus on odor? No. I don't remember even the few girl climbers back in the day getting touchy about olfactory issues. It must be something that intruded into the sport, like sticky rubber, cams and "sport" climbing, while I was away for 35 years.

Now wait a minute, Bill. Perhaps there is something to be learned here. Is it just possible that, if you smelled better, you could actually climb and not have to aid 5.8 or .9 or .10? Is a "fresh clean scent" the real secret to "sending" 5.12c? Not likely, but who knows? I think I am going to take some clean shirts with me to Red Rock in February, shower regularly at the local rock gym (for a samll fee, says the guidebook) and see if it helps. Watch this space for a full report.

Kidding aside, I really enjoyed Rock Climber Girl. Check it out at


Rock Climber Girl said...

There must be a word for leaving a comment on a blog post about your own blog post on another blog...

I have to tell you -- my defunk article is one of the ones that gets the most search engine traffic. I was stymied when I first started trying to research capilene stench online -- what do you search for? Stinky underwear? Funky synthetics? Just imagine the google nightmare that may ensue. I'm always a little proud for my contribution to the world when someone finds that article by searching for "funky smelling capilene" or "how to defunk capilene" because it lets me know I'm not alone in the world.

Now, how many of those searches are girls, I don't have any way to know.

Have fun planning your trip -- there are a number of great beta threads on, and although I was climbing with partners we did meet a number of folks who were solo and looking for belays... so I think you'll be just fine!

Thanks for the shout out...

TrundleBum said...

As you know Bill, like you I am getting back into climbing after a long hiatus. I to remember, perhaps all to fondly my days of canning, dumptster diving and generally living in the dirt to be able to eeck a few more weeks out of a climbing season. I thought you'd get a kick out of this one pic' I dug up. It is bouldering at the base of 'Leave it to beaver' in Joshua Tree, circa '78.

It looks like I am wearing nylons but that is just good ole Camp-4 dirt and desert sunburn. After I finally got a bath my hair returned to almost blonde. I have another picture somewhere of my dad holding up those Chouinard 'Stand up' shorts, shortly before he heaved them into the trash. They went most the whole season without a wash, N.H, Yosemite, J.Tree, Prescott, Eldorado and back to Boston before Thanksgiving. They were worked to say the least.

As to 'stink' and 'sending' I have pondered their relationship as well.
I find that as I get back into it, when I go out all 'foo foo', yah know ? clean clothes, fresh shave maybe even a little B.O crap under the arms...
I gag, snivel and generally have no huevos.
However, when I stink like a hog, have a 5 day scruff on my face and generally can't stand my own smell...
I climb with much more bravado!

TrundleBum ;)