The Hanger Games

The best sound in the world is the sizzle of meat hitting a hot pan after a long day of climbing, the aroma of gas burning from the stove on the tailgate of my truck. I’m only thinking about one thing…FOOD! Why don’t I eat more of it while craggin’? It doesn’t matter where I am—Yosemite, Indian Creek, Maple Canyon—I climb from the time morning coffee is done ‘til I’m so HANGRY that all my climbing partner has to do is say, “good job bro” and I get so pissed that I want to kill him. In the morning it’s always the same: wake up, no talking until sip three of coffee (I pretend it’s time for meditation but the reality is that I’m such a coffee junkie that until I get high enough I’m just an ass). I’ll eat oatmeal or eggs or granola, whatever I was able to steal from work, and then be off. The next four to six hours are sheer joy—new routes, old routes, sending, projecting, or just shooting the shit with my bros. But everyday around 2 o’clock I start to get grumpy. Sometimes I even think to myself, “I’m hungry” or “I should probably eat something,” but the idea of stopping long enough to have a snack seems as daunting as doing Warren Buffett’s taxes. I have enough energy for the next hour to finish the pitch or get the next move. But without fail the HANGER sets in, and I flail on everything no matter what size the crack or how big the jug, all because of my inability to take care of myself. My partner will say, “it’s no big deal” or “it’s been an awesome day,” to which I reply with the first four-letter word that comes to mind. To their credit, they usually respond with, “have you eaten anything today?” and like a toddler with his first word I yell back “NO!” With that, it’s like a hypnotist’s magic word, and I’m brought out of a spell; I apologize for being a douche and go silent. As we rappel or hike back to camp, I think of nothing but what I’m going to cook. Once back at camp my control freak comes out strong and everyone better stay out of my way, and I start cooking (always some sort of carbohydrate and, if I’m lucky, meat). When dinner is served, I sit down by the fire and inhale my bowl of gruel. Every bite is like a spiritual experience; I feel as though I’m transcending to a higher level of consciousness. I’m able to realize how rude I’ve been to the people who have my life in their hands and how fortunate I am to be able to follow my passions with very few interruptions from real life. I live simply, and I have a lifestyle that affords me opportunities to have amazing life experiences. But living out of my truck, I get lazy on self-care. I don’t shower that often, change my clothes rarely, and don’t eat enough. I feel so grateful to have found something that I love so much that I’m willing to give up “normal” comforts. However just because I live out of my truck doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do laundry, eat regularly, or take a shower every chance I get. A life lived passionately is the only life worth living. Take care of yourself no matter your lifestyle, and stay dirty dirtbags!

Colin Smith

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