how to be a dirtbag climber girl

Someone found my blog by searching the title of this post. I can’t seem to replicate it (maybe the all-knowing google knows that I know where my blog is?), but I thought I’d answer the question anyway.

My most important advice is to be confident, and do it your way.

This is also known as the fake-it-till-you-make-it principle. If you’re a girl considering a dirtbag lifestyle and hesitating, don’t! Just go do it! Before my trip this summer I worried a lot about not climbing hard enough to make it on the road, not knowing enough climbers to make it work, and a lot of other silly things. None of these worries are important. I have never talked to anyone who regretted living on the road for a while.

I know so many people who hit the road, found community, and never looked back. It will work for you too. Sell your shit. Quit your job. End your lease. Hit the road! Or don’t listen to me and do it your way. That’s even better.

Go find the wild places, because they’re there. Mt. Fitz Roy in Argentina by flickr user StuckInCustoms

A bunch of my practical advice for dirtbag livin’ is on this blog. Check out my post about living in a truck, or the dirtbag beta series for some tips. Steph Davis has a lot of great tips on her blog as well. Wherever you go, you will need to find out where to sleep, where to do laundry/get wifi/get food, and where to get beer. Sometimes this info is easy to find on the internet, sometimes it’s easier to find by word of mouth.

There is only one bit of ‘how to be a dirtbag’ advice that is female-specific (that I can think of).

All climbers should be able to pee standing up without taking off their harnesses. It makes life so much easier! If you weren’t born with the right equipment, you should look into getting a PStyle. They are cheap, easy to clean, and don’t look like funnels. I will never go climbing/camping without mine!

What’s your advice for aspiring dirtbags? Sound off in the comments?

Climbing Infographic: Gender in the Climbing Media

This post came about because I had the impression that the climbing media is male-dominated. Because I’ve spent four years in training to be a professional nerd, I went out and collected some data to figure out whether or not this perception was true.

Women have been climbing harder than ever recently. While I was working on this post, Girls Like Giants posted a thoughtful rumination on race, gender, and class in climbing, focusing on the video about Obe and Ashima in the 2011 Reel Rock Tour. It sparked an interesting discussion when it got posted by the Climbing Narc.

The data were collected from the online editions of Rock&Ice, nos. 201-194, representing 8 issues of climbing magazine content. I picked Rock&Ice because they make digital editions available online, which meant that I didn’t have to page through paper copies. I counted the number of images featuring women in advertisements, photos in articles, and on covers of the magazine.

For the video data, I went through 8 months of back posts of ‘Video Fridays’ from the Climbing Narc. At least five ‘top videos’ from the last week are posted each Friday. I counted a video as ‘both’ if it featured at least one woman, and as female or male if it featured only females or only males.

Some disclaimers: 

  1. I did this because I was curious, not because I have an agenda. I wanted to see if the data supported my perception of disparity.
  2. (Spoiler) It did.
  3. The disparity wasn’t as big as I thought it would be.
  4. I don’t have anything against the editors of Rock and Ice. They produce a fantastic magazine, and I don’t suspect them of a sexist bias.
  5. Ditto for the Climbing Narc, who entertains bored climbers in offices the world over.
  6. I’m not perfect. I did all of this counting by hand, and I only did it once. It’s possible that there are some inaccuracies in the data, though I hope that there aren’t.

Click through for full size.

I thought the data was interesting. I hope you do too. Have an opinion? Sound off in the comments.

A special thanks to Nik, Kate, and Chris, who helped me with feedback during my bumblings in the world of graphic design.