A Note From The Seedy Underbelly of Climbing

Climbing is great, and we all know it. At any given moment, any of us could spin a lengthy, eloquent soliloquy about the stronger connections we feel with nature, our partners, and ourselves when we climb. Climbing makes us better, stronger individuals, and grows to be a huge part of who we are. It changes and enriches us.

But let’s face it. Not all is unicorns, rainbows, and lolly pops. We can hold hands around the campfire and sing Kumbaya all we want, but there is a darker side of climbing. Because climbing is such a huge part of our lives, it’s easy to get very emotional about it. It’s hard to distance ourselves from our climbing actions (because our climbing actions define us, right?) and look at things objectively.

Case in point: I may or may not have recently received the following message from a heretofore unknown source. It was etched into a large slab of sandstone and bolted to my front door (with a rusty quarter-incher) in the middle of the night. I include it here in its entirety for historical purposes:


To whom it may concern:

You better watch yourself, brah. You have NO IDEA who you are dealing with. I have powers you can’t even begin to comprehend. My buddies and I have heard what you’ve been saying about our routes, and we will MESS YOU UP. You keep it up and we’re gonna deck your face and go all runout on your ass. You’ve been warned.

Any comment you make about my ethics, my style, or any aspect of my climbing is a direct attack not only on me as a human being, but also my working class saint of a mother and our freedom-seeking ancestors. You are un-American. If you don’t like my style, you hate everything sacred and holy about our blessed land, and may you burn in the hottest, flattest corners of hell for it. I can do whatever I want here. Terrorist.

If you don’t like my style so much, you climb somewhere else. Or you can put up your own routes. Actually wait, no, seriously, just go climb somewhere else. You see MY crag on Mountain Project, you climb MY four star routes, and all of a sudden you think you can say whatever you think about my lines? Chuh. You got a lot to learn, brah. Stay offa mah land!

I established those routes ground up, with a piece of sun-dried, smoke-cured cactus for a drill and my own leathery hands for a hammer. I’m too busy climbing all the wickedest lines I can to be bothered with thinking about pubescent punters like you. I mean, my balls are so big I have to haul them up with a 3 to 1 pulley system. We’re talking cojones mas grandes here. You don’t like my bolts? I friggin’ hand forged those bolts. Keep your thoughts to yourself. No one’s forcing you to climb my routes.

Your opinion is not wanted or valid here. You are a hypocrite, a chossmonger, a bolt profiteer, and you’re probably in league with those shady Eastern European climbing companies. Communist. We don’t want you or your titanium gear here. You don’t know what you’re talking about, your routes suck, and your mother wears XXL-sized swami belts. I would know.

Keep it real, brah. It’s all about the climbing.


Tristan Higbee hopes to complete a 20 pitch sport route in Rock Canyon in the Wasatch in Utah this year. Also be sure to check out his excellent site, Daily Climbing Tips.

7 Responses to A Note From The Seedy Underbelly of Climbing

  1. Joke, yes? Too over the top to be legit, methinks.

    Julian April 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm
  2. hahaha, hilarious, this is a superb demonstration of a loving relationship…

    climberism April 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm
  3. We’re gonna have to go ahead and ask for a photo.

    Angus April 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm
  4. Even though I don’t know what was said, i too feel like my mother has been insulted, and my pasta eating greasy Italian ancestors.

    jimmy April 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm
  5. Really??

    Ryan April 29, 2010 at 4:05 pm
    • This is a joke, although I’m guessing Tristan has had some experiences that aren’t too far off from this…

      BJ Sbarra April 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm
  6. Yeah, any resemblance that this letter has to actual people or events is purely coincidental…

    Tristan April 30, 2010 at 11:18 pm
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