This May saw the 2012 Orthopedic Big-Belly Hillbilly Climbing & Beer Drinking Association Cragfest. It was held at Smith Rock, OR and in Mt. Shasta City, CA. This was the 9th sort of-annual gathering in the last 13 years for our little band of over-educated, misshaped, crippled, wannabe climbers, profound thinkers and powerful drinkers. We spent a long week climbing, eating & drinking hopped beverages (I gained 6lbs!!), there were murderous 6-8 mile hikes up to crags, some nudity, 5 snake sightings (one reptile death), no broken bones, some quality routes climbed, limited blood loss, heavy rocks snuck into packs, laughter, video games, gas, Squid Billies, more laughter, and quality time spent catching up on each others’ lives…. A fine week off with buddies and away from the J-O-B.
This year’s cast of characters included:
Taint: A native son of Southern California. Strong climber, but easily confused by tri-cams and large hexes. A world traveler and new father who needs 11 hours of sleep a night to function and has absolutely no short term memory – none. An easy target for pranks and very poor at retaliation. Had to cancel his participation on an OBBHC&BDA trip two years ago because he had 2nd degree burns on the soles of his feet after helping with/leading a fire walking “class.”
Dr. Strippy-Socks: A writing, climbing, painting, fiddlin’, designing, and docterin’ polymath who was gracious enough to open his mountain home up to our little band of miscreants. A man who has an amazingly talented and giving spouse that allows him out of the house in polyester shirts, a visor, short-shorts, tall socks and sandals. This in an individual who in the course of a conversation will quote bolt torque specs, reference an obscure Ska band, outline the ideology of specific band of Orcs, and review the symptoms for early onset CHF in middle aged men.
The Bridesmaid Whisper: A bright, smart, medical resident with a dry sense of humor that borders the Sahara. The strongest climber of the trip, a man who developed the definitive definition of a #2 Pencil and made me tinkle myself a little while laughing hysterically in my sleeping bag. He is a man that can walk into a wedding reception and in short order has to wade through a throng of drunken bridesmaids who need his body like the Pope needs Jesus.
Smooth&Boney: Is a man who can sit on the couch for years, then walk outside and send a 5.12 sport route. Any mention of Jessica Alba will send him into smiling, wild-eyed fits of joy, followed by some alone time. Poor at hiking with a pack and once cried when his belayer tooted on him a little, has gear that predates Columbus, his favorite outdoor technical fabric is jean denim, and is the father to three adorable girls – the middle one loves me more than her uncle Rosy! When not climbing or wading through the estrogen that fills his life, he is a Designer/Engineer/Manager for the snazziest tool corporations in the world, but has yet to pass any cool shinny metal stuff on to his friends.
The Lawn Enforcement Officer: Father to two pale yet happy children and husband to a wife he doesn’t deserve: a mix of Betty Crocker/Belladonna/Ellen Page. I am the short, fat, balding, yard-obsessed, hairy, practical joking chronicler of this tale who now lives in Seattle in a 1928 house that is forever under reconstruction. The winner of The Deep Belly Button Award this year – A prize given to the fattest climber in the group for a given year.
Not-A-Biker: A great climber, brother to Smooth&Boney, and a generous friend who looks more like his father with the passing of each day. A man about to embark on an odyssey that will take him and his sweet southern, gvn-toting bride into the wilds of Philadelphia for a 3 to 29 year medical residency. He is someone who will freely give prostate exams to his friends (perfect strangers too…), has a questionable web search history, and who should never be allowed to even sit on a motorcycle. Was pantsed (sic) this year in full view of the entire group.
Missing this year was THE Mark Flood. Mark is the only man that Chuck Norris masturbates to. He is the strongest climber and hiker that any of us know, a gifted engineer, a good natured friend and drinking companion, and one of the toughest people you will ever meet. I have seen him drink from green stagnate pools one the sides of cliffs without any intestinal backlash and there have been things that have gone into his belly that would make a billie goat puke.
He has become a whispered legend in some circles after snatching falling climbers out of the air – mid fall – and saving them from a quick brutal death – truth. To punctuate the description/picture of Mr. Flood: He couldn’t join us this year because while hiking out of what was surely an epic day of climbing, he fell on the steep trail and a piece of iron rebar was shoved into his knee joint!! He tied a hankie around it and finished the walk out… His presence was duly missed this year and we all pray that he will be there for the next gathering to keep us all honest and safe.