Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Another Rant On The Dirtbag Lifestyle, What's Up?


Who isn't in awe of those that fully commit to a lifestyle? Someone who abandons the materialistic reality that captures so many of us. A soulful person that fully devotes their life to the pursuit of a vision, a goal and a mission. To many, in the climbing world, that desire is climbing. We call this person the Dirtbag climber. A special type of breed who proves that lifestyle matters above all else, and that climbing is that lifestyle. These rough and uncombed climbers life out of their cars or van and do anything to pursue ascents on rock and to join in the community of fellow climbers who share their focus. However, after traveling this summer and meeting some of these Dirtbags, I realized something - the Dirtbag lifestyle is dying, or close to it.

There is a rich history of the Dirtbaggers in the sport of climbing (and so to with Mountain biking, although not nearly as rich). Climbing magazine Dirtbag climber and writer, Cedar Wright, wrote a great piece on the dwindling lifestyle. It was almost sad to think of the loss of such a colorful community. I mean how else would the classics get done without Dirtbaggers? Some of the first ascents can only be done with maniacal focus. Days and days can be spent on a wall, and it takes months to even plan for some ascents. What fascinates me about this culture is how similar it is to the start-up world. To get a product to market, one has to have unshakeable focus and determination. As an entrepreneur, you're the only one holding the timelines and goals. It is a lifestyle choice!

I believe we should encourage this kind of climber, or outdoor entrepreneur and foster their goals. We should give them parking lots to camp in their cars, so they can be close to their objectives. We should stop with the ranger or police hassle. We should remember that only with sheer commitment does anything get done, and these Dirtbaggers aren't their to ruin your scenery, but to open it up!

So here's to the Dirtbaggers! Next time you see one, give them props or even a few dollars!  

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