If you’re reading this chances are that you’re not Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, or a Sasha Digiulian. You’re probably just another slob who wants to be one of those great climbers. Well there are two ways to become that good at climbing: 1: Climb 60 hours a week for 20 years with special attention on diet and high intensity training. 2: Learn how to make yourself sound like one of those climbers. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Speak in the present tense. This makes it sound like you are always out climbing, and/or can provide beta from the side of the cliff. “When I climb The Nose, I bring an extra one Camalot.” Nobody will notice that you, in fact, have only ever climbed the Nose once, 15 years ago. Instead they will think you’ve been climbing the Nose every week for the past decade.
Specialize your ascent. Being the first to do something is always important. Even though 13,876 people have sent the VFun boulder problem you’ve been projecting for years—highlight the fact that you’re the first Dude Of Under-educated Child-Having Enthusiasts to do the problem. Tell everyone you’re the first D.O.U.C.H.E to send it! Remember that you want to start with the most important parts—that you’re the first person to climb Magic Light (now start mumbling) on a Saturday (now barely audible) with the last name Jordan (now in a total whisper) and first name Daniel. (Feel free to change the route name, day of the week, or ascentionist’s name).
Lack Clarity. Technically, I’m not lying when I say: “I climb up to 5.14 on El Capitan.” This is true in that I climb up to it … then I aid through it. This makes people believe that I do indeed climb that hard … and brings us to the next tip.
Talk Big! Big grades, big routes, big everything. “I was on 5.14 on El Capitan.” When I use a grades like 5.14 and formations like El Capitan people become so awestruck with the grandeur associated with high climbing numbers and large formations that they won’t notice you just said on. This relates to lacking clarity. The word on could mean anything. Dogging, aiding, rappelling, and even barely touching the route all qualify as being on something. But hey, “I was on 5.14 on El Capitan.”
Know your Vocabulary. If you intended to climb the route in a day but then completely f’d up and epiced and had a forced a shiver-bivy on a ledge with no water, just say you were doing the route “in a push.” Same if you dogged the shit out of a route with the intention of redpointing. You just “felt the holds” The glass is always half full.
Emphasize the danger. So you’re 10 feet off the ground on an 18-bolt toprope anchor. Sounds to me like you’re in the death zone with suspect gear. Hey, geriatrics regularly die from 3 foot falls and ropes and bolts do have a 1 in 100,000,0000 chance of breaking.
Hyphenate your adjectives. Add prefixes like mega, super, and classic with the suffix EST. The 5.5 route you climbed is now the super-mega-run-outest route on the entire slab. It is well-known that adding superlatives makes everything sound better. No, sorry, the sound the BEST.
Climbing Grades are Subjective. Just as real estate is location, location, location, with climbing grades it’s Uprate! Uprate! Uprate! Soft 5.11d is close enough to 5.12-, which is the same as generally saying 5.12. Boom! You just inflated your ego. Great Success. This includes danger ratings, which are also highly subjective. One man’s crashpad is another man’s jagged talus field.
Tell Everyone. Believe it or not everyone wants to hear about your climb. I do. Definitely. Making a solid group of subbies, I mean fans, who will promote your dribble. Self-spray is weird but subcontracting your spray is good. Plus have you ever played the game Telephone? A ton of information gets lost as more people talk about you. The details of the ascent become muddled so your 138th redpoint go but first try of the day becomes an onsight. Yes!
Now, you’re on your way to becoming the next great pro climber. Just get out there and SPRAY.
James Lucas is a frequent contributor to Rock and Ice. He is responsible for the blog Life of a Walking Monkey, where this originally appeared.