What’s it like dating a climber? If you’re considering dating a female climber, you should definitely follow up on it. Don’t pay attention to Adi Zarsadias’ “Don’t date a girl who travels“. If you’re considering dating a climber who is a guy, read the rest of this post before going further. From personal experience, here are a myriad of reasons to keep a distance from male climbers. Feel free to follow the advice in Brendan Leonard’s semi-rad blogs.
Disclaimer: Guys who climb are generally extremely good-looking, very easy-going, and super intelligent. This article would not be written today without their exceptional presence. Also, the writer of this article would not be here today without their support, belays, and soft catches. That being said, here is the gist of it:
Guys who climb will forever be obsessed with rocks. No matter how hard they try, you will always feel second best. Chances are that for your birthday, for example, he will give you a rock (like a piece of sandstone or granite.) For Valentine’s Day, he would probably step it up a notch: the rock will be heart-shaped. Sure, at the beginning, it will seem like he remembers you exist, but soon enough he will find a way to make you realize that you are not a rock.
Guys who climb rarely think about anything else aside for climbing. Even when asleep, they dream about it. You will often wake up in the middle of the night to find him lying on his back with his hands in the air, working out the crux of a pitch that he did not get clean the previous day. He will obsess about it until he redpoints the route. Then he will keep saying, “I should have gotten the on-sight”. Finally, he will let it go by finding a different but similarly-graded climb to obsess about.
He will leave you for days, sometimes even weeks at a time, to go on climbing trips to areas that do not get good cellular reception. He will not forget about you while away, but he also will not make any efforts to show you that he remembers you. Then he will come back as if he has not left at all. For you, however, he will be a different person. He will have new friends and new stories of which you could never be a part of. Or, worse, if you join him on one of these adventures, you might become a part of his stories.
90% of all male climbers are dirtbags*. In case you’re wondering, here’s the definition of a dirtbag:
*This figure is made up, although it certainly seems pretty accurate.
“dirtbag climber (durt-bag kli-mer) n. a person who dedicates her or his entire existence to the pursuit of climbing, making ends meet using creative means. A dirtbag will get her food out of a dumpster, get his clothes from a thrift store, and live in a tent or vehicle to save money. Often found living near major climbing destinations the dirtbag is a rebel with a cause who finds happiness in nature. When the dirtbag grows up (if ever), he or she often is drawn to a profession engaged with the outdoors and/or creative arts. –dirtbagging, dirtbagger, dirtbagged.”The Climbingzine Dirtbag Dictionary
In short, they earn just enough money to finance their next climbing trip and then take off for the trip. The other 10% who have steady jobs might earn good money but they hardly ever have free time to do anything else aside for work and climb. In fact, some hardly even climb anymore. They go to the gym from time to time to prove that they still can, but let’s face it, their climbing glory days are behind them and all they are left with are stories and a longing expression on their face.
Deeper dirtbag analysis
Out of the 90% of the dirtbags aforementioned, close to 80% live in a van*. Although they can seem very independent, they are romantics who dream of someday sharing their ride with a significant other. Therefore, when customizing their vehicle to fit all of their necessities, they purposely make a comfortable sleeping space cozy enough for two. Soon after meeting someone, however, they realize that their home is a VAN! There is barely enough space in there for their own belongings. Note: If the need arose, they would be able to take the time, preferably on a rest day or a rainy day, to rearrange their gear so your things would fit – sort of.
*This figure is also made up.
Guys who climb think that sleeping on a box-spring bed is a luxury. They indulge in the power to control the flow and temperature of water coming out of a showerhead. They own a limited amount of clothes and keep other personal belongings to a minimum. Aside, of course, for climbing gear, of which they have more than enough to keep them safe. They eat anything that comes their way, even if it has been on the floor for days. Some even fart or burp as if they are alone in the room.
Guys who climb claim to think that they are attracted to women who climb harder than they do. Unfortunately, the situation never arose that a strong female climber dated a weaker male climber. Therefore this theory cannot be fully tested.
Not to mention that guys who climb are notorious for cancelling plans last-minute. He may get called in for work – an opportunity to earn money for a future climbing trip. He may get stuck on a multi-pitch on the day your parents are in town. If you are a climber, you have no choice but to be understanding. After all, it has happened to you plenty of times. You know that there is nothing you can do about it. If you are not a climber, you also have to be understanding. Accept it because this is the guy you are dating: a climber.
If you don’t accept any of the above, then don’t date a guy who climbs!
Author’s note: I’d like to thank all of my climbing partners over the years for teaching me about climbing, life, and everything in-between. I’d also like to thank and apologize for each and every male climber who is still willing to belay me. For the non-climbers out there – you’re welcome.