Observations: Camp 4

You hang out and don’t climb.

You talk about all of the climbing destinations in the world. Particularly Red Rocks.

Yeah, dude, Red Rocks is the shit! Bro. I know all the beta for Red Rocks.

Yeah, dude, Red Rocks is the shit! Bro. I know all the beta for Red Rocks.

 

You talk about all the badass things people are doing on El Cap. Like meg curry, who climbed mescalito solo on a diet of strictly bugs. she's an entomologist. what a badass.

You talk about climbing when sitting around the campfire drinking whiskey and wine.

You talk about climbing in the meadow with Eric Sloane while watching Tom Evans do his thing.

Tom Evans. Doing his thang.

Tom Evans. Doing his thang.

You start a debate around the campfire about the word Feminism because you are playing a drinking game called, "Fat Pussy," and you want to call it, "Big Dick." Then you realize you are surrounded by man-boys and this can only go downhill from here. 

But politics is okay because climbers are liberal.

Did you know Obama does home visits as he campaigns for Hilary?

Did you know Obama does home visits as he campaigns for Hilary?

You play drinking games when it rains.

You drink a beer and then go for a run to the meadow. Because you're a dirtbag now and can do things backwards and in whatever order you choose. 

You meet a guy named Jeff who plays the flute and has been walking from the west coast back to Maryland where he lives. You advise him to visit Columbia, Missouri and check out the Peace Nook.

Late morning jam session with the banjoist, Garrett, and flautist, Jeff.

Late morning jam session with the banjoist, Garrett, and flautist, Jeff.

You casually meet a handful of your climbing heroes like Timmy O’Neil and Jim Bridwell. 

You learn that Jim Bridwell is voting for Donald Trump. Your heart bleeds. He gives you a lesson in guns, language barriers, and the constitution. Your ears bleed.

You question everything you have ever believed about the masters of stone.

You still don’t climb much.

You get your ass kicked when you do climb.

5.9 my ass

5.9 my ass

You thought you liked climbing, but now you are not sure.

You are explained what aid climbing is and you are convinced it sounds like the most horrible, asinine form of “climbing”.

You tell yourself that one day you will climb El Cap because it’s the only way to really be able to call yourself a “climber”. 

You meet Mash Alexander and he becomes your spiritual guide to Yosemite, climbing, and life.

The Medicine Man, Mash, in his element on the El Cap bridge doing what he does best. Healing people through massage, humor, and great wisdom.

The Medicine Man, Mash, in his element on the El Cap bridge doing what he does best. Healing people through massage, humor, and great wisdom.

You find out that the grades in Yosemite are the law. Everywhere else is wrong.

You have taken several mental rest days due to one, single 5.8 offwidth that made you cry…almost.

Since you aren't climbing much, you fall back on your networking skills. You invite everyone you encounter to join you at your campsite for nightly parties. The tarp party in the rain was a huge success. So successful that the next night on your birthday you go to bed at 9am.

You become the social coordinator of Camp 4 because you are still questioning your identity as a climber. 

You revert back to calling yourself a poet. You are mildly and briefly comforted.

Mad scribbles.

Mad scribbles.

You meet a photo journalist named Earl and he inspires you to become a photo journalist.

You start calling yourself a photo journalist.

Earl is a boss. He knows all of the story teller beta.

Earl is a boss. He knows all of the story teller beta.

You have learned one song on the ukulele - the most successful thing you have done in two weeks.

Best $50 I have ever spent. Impulse buys are not always bad.

Best $50 I have ever spent. Impulse buys are not always bad.

Time is blurring and melting into one continuous cycle of oatmeal, salami and cheese, and beans and rice.

Luxurious. I learned from my British friend that this is a "more-ish" snack. As in, it makes you want more. So, it is "more-ish." I like it.

Luxurious. I learned from my British friend that this is a "more-ish" snack. As in, it makes you want more. So, it is "more-ish." I like it.

You are surrounded by man-boys at all times. And you love each of them. They “oo-ooh” at each other, like a tribal calling. At first you are confused. Over time you find it endearing.

You ask yourself, the man-boys, Mash, and the coyote waltzing through the campground,

“Where are all of the female climbers???”

Hanging out on Mash's stoop in the YOSAR site. He is a talented artist, mentor, and world peace activist.

Hanging out on Mash's stoop in the YOSAR site. He is a talented artist, mentor, and world peace activist.

You’re heading to Indian Creek, the sport climbing paradise, to train for Yosemite in the Spring.

You tell everyone, “I’ll be back,” like the Terminator. If the Terminator was a poet-photo journalist, and social coordinator- climber, like you.

It's just so big.

It's just so big.