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 www.rockclimbergirl.com.