Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Taking Notes from Dirtbags

While climbing in Joe’s Valley I met three textbook-dirtbag climbers, Tom, TJ and Siebe. Before I go any further, I want to say “dirtbag” is actually a quite prestigious title in the climbing world. So, I’m using it in the highest respect. I have admiration (and a little bit of jealousy) for anyone who can live their lives out of the back of their trucks, survive off of pennies and who get to focus on pretty much one thing: climbing. Now I’m not too far off from this dirtbag title myself, but I was certainly taking notes from these three.

I drove straight in from a nice night nestled in the back of David, my fondly named 95’ Ranger. I camped out at yet another truck stop. My crashpads fit nicely in the bed and I have everything I need back there, a comfy place to sleep, a stove to cook on, an icebox and occasionally a friendly four-legged critter that stops by here and there to eat my food and leave little number twos. Yuck. I don’t exactly know how a mouse gets into your truck, but Drew and Steve had the same problem in Bishop. Their little mouse tore up a toilet paper roll and made a nest in the trunk (excuse me, boot) of their car. Ha. Rather cute though.

I decided I am going to take a picture at each state line, so here's Nevada.

"Life Elevated" in Utah

David and the crashpads holding it down

I pulled into New Joe’s, not really knowing where I was, but was greeted by the dirtbags and filled in with a few recommended routes and a weather update. These three guys met down in Hueco and have been meeting up and climbing together throughout the west. They each drive what I would call a creeper van, but I think they used the word “pedophile”... wayyy more disturbing. They each carefully crafted a nifty little sleeping space and store their food and other things more or less neatly bestowed in large plastic bins. They have fold out table and spatulas, writing it all down, good. They’re really doing it Harry!

So let me introduce you to them! They each keep a blog too, so follow them on their adventures.

From left to right, Tom, Juno, TJ and Siebe

This is Tom. Tom has a counterpart that I was unfortunately unable to meet, Mike (I think), but he goes by Mitch. And they have a wild husky named Juno, isn’t she cute? Well unlike my little mouse friend, Tom’s creeper van was graced with an inhabitant who overstayed his welcome. I pulled into the camp site and Tom was sweeping out the floor of the van and the having a mild freak-out about what to do about this mouse. It was pretty funny. TJ and Siebe were going through Mitch’s storage containers that basically had no order to them, carabiners with food wrappers amongst clothes clean and dirty. A true dirtbag. So, Tom is from Boulder, Colorado and got his rad wheels off of Craigslist (I love Craigslist), follow his blog at, he’s got some good pictures and epic tales.

This is TJ, a 24 year old from Georgia. TJ bought his creeper van from a used car lot and decided he needed to head out west. TJ enjoyed provoking Tom’s mouse phobia but it was always in good humor. Next to that and climbing, it appeared he lived off of, and thoroughly enjoyed peanut butter and jellies and chili-mac. TJ picked up his sweet van at a used car lot and has it nicely dialed in now. Check out TJ's climbing adventures at

Then there is Siebe, the 19 year old Belgian who tried to claim 24. He was killing me, the guys were talking about dipping fries into a Frosty and Siebe was offended by such a thing, “That’s just wrong!” I think he said in his heavy Belgian accent. I was surprised since he was totally ok with making pancakes the size of your head and dousing everything in a 10 foot radius in Nutella. I guess you have to draw the line somewhere though. Siebe has had his blog for 3 or 4 years now, follow his climbing adventures at Another strong young climber.

It was great meeting these guys. After leaving Phil, Steve and Drew in the Sierras I was feeling a little lonely. So, hey thanks for letting me share a camp site with you doods! I'll be reading your blogs, following the adventures.


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