One of the most insightful things I read prior to beginning life as a dirtbag was to not let climbing become a job for you, or to treat it like one rather. The idea being that if you feel like you have to climb every day simply because you can, then you’re on the fast track to having all the love sucked out of it.

A few days ago I was headed “home” to Rocktown / Lost Wall and stopped off at an exit for gas when I felt a drudging “Ugh!” in my mind when I felt I *had to* go that way. I gave in to the impulse desire of saying; "Screw it, I'm not any further from Chattanooga than I am from Rocktown. What the hell is the point of being a dirtbag if you feel tied to any one place?!"

So I logged some nice solo morning sessions self-belaying at Sunset Park. I must say, relaxing in the park in the downtown ‘Nooga area across the river from the aquarium was a hell of a lot nicer way to spend the evenings than anything I might have done in LaFayette after a day of climbing. Worth it!

What’s more is that I only ticked five climbs in three days. Now, part of that is because this was a mid-week excursion and technically I do have a full-time job to attend to. (However, the 2nd-ish shift schedule keeps my mornings pretty open). There is just a different mindset that is learned with dirtbagging. In weekend warrior mode you might try to pack as many climbs into a weekend as you possibly can, climb until your fingers fall off, and then spend Monday - Friday recovering or maybe logging a few hangboard sessions.

That attitude simply doesn’t cut it dirtbagging for the reasons mentioned above. Today I spent at much time setting up and rappelling as I did climbing and two or three times as much time hiking as I did climbing. But the climb (Stan’s Carck Direct) was excellent and I loved every minute of the morning. If I was going to have to force myself to pack in more climbs simply “because I’m there” then it’s not worth it and I need to take a rest day to go sight seeing or some other shenanigans other than climbing.

Savagezen's Blog

A minimalist guide to my many projects.