fine dining dirtbag


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Mountain climber
Anywhere I like
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 8, 2009 - 05:17am PT
I recently coined the above term (i like to think) after the last year spent waiting tables in a nice restaurant. I don't really know why I am posting this, other then the fact that it is late, I am broke, bored and somewhat lonesome and I would like to tell my story, so please oblige me, and tell me what you think.

I moved up into a small town in CO for the ice climbing season late last December. I arrived with no vehicle, a bunch of gear, a studio apartment to share with three people and about three hundred dollars to my name. I spent the first month, climbing every day. One lucky score was an elk hit by a plow. We showed up within an hour with knives and chewing tobacco (Red Man buddy!) and grabbed a hind quarter and the back straps. Lots of free protein. Like, thirty punds of it.

I was down to my last two dollars when I decided to find a job. I wandered into a small restaurant, not a very nice one by any standard other then a dirtbag. I worked there for about a month and a half when a server from the nicest restaurant on town (i like to think) saw me working and informed me of an opening there. Needless to say, I moved on.

After spending the rest of the winter working three days a week, just enough to scrape by and still climb and snowboard back country all winter, I picked up as many shifts as I could for the summer season. I moved out of the apartment in the spring and into a friends basement five miles out of town. Having no vehicle makes things hard when you are working doubles Friday through Sunday, so I went to set up a tent in the woods. Luckily enough, I found some tent already set-up and long abandoned. I moved right in. I spent the entire spring, every weekend sleeping in a tent, showering at the pool drinking my coffee at the bagel shop, then going to work. I was selling, serving and describing two hundred dollar bottles of wine to very rich and affluent people. Wearing my black silk shirt while shmoozing these people, did not reflect where I was sleeping. It continuosly cracked me up. They had no clue that I hitch hiked to work, or crawled out of a tent, right outside of town. I loved it, despite the frustration at being too broke and spread thin to own a vehicle.
After a number of months of this, I found a girl friend in town, and ended up just spending the weekends in town, in a warm bed. Total plus, as bad as it sounds. After the tourist season died down, and there wre a lot of them, mostly Texans and jeepers, I quit my job, on good terms of course, was given a bottle of 2005 Jordan Cabernet from the owner and left my girl friend, I took off to the Valley with a good buddy of mine.

I spent three weeks in the Valley and a week in the creek, living off the last of my hard earned cash until the bitter end. I mean the bitter end. We left with just enough money for gas to make it back, and now I am back to the beginning. Mountain town in the beginning of winter, bunch of gear, new pair of skis, cool job and no apartment. Broke again, and ready to do it all over again.

It gets kind of worrisome, seeing as I hae no resources, health care, vehicle or phone, but email is free and life is good and climbing is better. So that has been my life, the life of a dirtbag, working in fine dining. Thanks for reading, if you did, and here are some pictures of the last year, minus the Valley and Creek trip. There was one Crek trip in the spring. Enjoy!

Happy trails, all.

easter island

gaper (wall) street


Trad climber
Sacramento, Ca
Nov 8, 2009 - 06:51am PT
Sick bro, sick.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 8, 2009 - 10:15am PT
I wonder if, when you found that tent you were subletting from Platinum Rob?

Feel free to send these spins any time you want...

Mountain climber
Anywhere I like
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 8, 2009 - 10:59am PT
Platinum Rob? and thanks.
Big Piton

Trad climber
Nov 8, 2009 - 11:19am PT
I have a friend who did something close to what you are doing. The one thing he did differntly. He didn't stop working. 20 years later, he owns a guide service and is mayor of the town. He lived in the woods for the first two years.

beef supreme

the west
Nov 9, 2009 - 03:19pm PT
Yo pMac,
Thanks for sharing. I cant say that I've been there as fully as you have been- I mean living in a tent in the winter is just pretty damned hardcore, but I can say that I've been out on the 'fringe'.
It's funny how the grass is always greener- well, actually it's not funny at all now that I think about it, damed cosmic joke! The best thing to do is face the unknown and scream like a savage- metaphorically speaking of course :)
I always have to remind myself that I'm not taking anything with me except my experiences, but it's hard to find the balance between surviving in this 'reality' (job, responsibilities, etc) and pursuing the freedom that makes our hearts sing and give meaning to the whole schebang in the first place.
Hope this winter is as good as last one for you.

Nov 9, 2009 - 10:44pm PT
Ah, the good life. Glad to year you're living it, p-m.

One thing though. Back to the beginning? I don't think so. You may not have cash to show, but you're richer with experience in your recreational pursuits as well as the ways of dirtbagging.

Hope to run into you somewhere. I'm good for a Deg Muffin or equivalent and a beer. Power on for the repressed dirtbag in us all.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 9, 2009 - 10:50pm PT
Some day it would be fun to hear Ken's stories of living in a cave behind Curry Village. When he's finished with jury duty, perhaps.

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2019 - 03:51pm PT
With the impending doom of ST been going through my old threads. This one elicited fond memories of being 22 and going for it. Ten years later I am the father of an awesome one year old boy, own not only a truck but a sweet BMW motorcycle and am in the middle of getting my class A CDL. Going to become a lineman. To quote Joe Walsh, "Life's been good to me so far"

That or I'm livin a life of illusion.

Cheers, ya'll.
Q- Ball

Mountain climber
but to scared to climb them anymore
May 21, 2019 - 04:10pm PT
Love the story! Thanks.
Flip Flop

Earth Planet, Universe
May 23, 2019 - 09:36pm PT
Every fall was the same
" No money, No job, No prospects"

Wrung the living grease out of that old rag. Still wringing it.

Got sent home because gobies are gross😂

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
May 24, 2019 - 09:15am PT
Cooking fine dining after a day of climbing was always a trip too.
Preparing luxury ingredients after a day of trail food.
Handling hot pans, salty, acidic food with raw tips...
Fun times.
Messages 1 - 12 of total 12 in this topic
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