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Rumors, Lies, and Innuendos

Submitted by michael on 2004-03-01 | Last Modified on 2006-12-10

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Ronnie Miller on Equinox, Joshua Tree, 12c YOU FINALLY MADE the commitment. You told-off the boss, dumped the boyfriend, gave your neighbor the shoebox full of porn (crusty sock optional), rented out the apartment, stole momís Visa, got the dog a new pack to carry to the crags, and let the cat be born free (hey, a coyoteís gottaí eat, and what better feasting than the spawn of Satan?).

Climbing is your passion and itís finally time for your first road trip, a permanent spring vacation for the fit homeless. Just remember that with all good trips, preparation is the key. Toothbrush, towel, and a copy of the Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy are a good start, but donít forget what every road show climbing warrior knows is a must: your stash of Rumors, Lies, and Innuendos.

All true imbalanced warriors of the rocky terrain carry a solid list of RLIs, ready to be used at a momentís notice. With a solid set of RLIís at your disposal, you can easily answer those niggling questions around the campfire, most of which are derivative of - Did you get the climb?

Where a beginning gym rat might answer, ďno,Ē you now have the ability to qualify your answer with such responses as:

    I was going to, but Sharma was watching and I didnít want to ruin his ability for an onsight.

    I cruised the crux, but an old groin pull from a brothel accident with a squad of giraffes was acting up.

Or the all time Republican classic:

    Yes. Did you see Janet Jacksonís breast on tv?

Note the simple subtlety with which every bit of attention becomes fixated on something completely unrelated that you can then use to bury the truth and increase tax cuts for the rich.

However, as a beginner prepping for your first time in using your own sampling of RLIs, start small. Test them on the home crowd to ensure quality control. When falling on the warm-up, donít use the latest profanity. Instead, try the following blend of caffeinated richness:

    Rumor: Itís no big deal, I did it before, but I donít remember who belayed me.

    Lies: Itís no big deal, I did it before with a partner who moved to Kentucky to marry his sister and live his dream of playing flute while basking in a pool full of vanilla pudding.

    Innuendo: Itís no big deal, I did it before, werenít you belaying me?

If you can convince the locals with these little vignettes, imagine how easy it will be to sucker -I mean, inform- those you meet on the road. Fall off a sport run? Had it, but the lycra was cutting off the circulation to my brain. Backed off a shaky trad lead? Already did it circa 1978 with nothing but nuts. Canít link the sit-start? I hurt my back doing a grasshopper kneefart during yoga this morning.

Now, some are going to be better with RLIs than others. Women, of course, having a distinct advantage over men, have been blessed with two jutting reasons for the single synapse of a man to pay complete inattention to even the weakest round of RLIs. But beware the Masters.

This "secret ring" of sandbaggers are the legends of their own domain, and if given the opportunity, could be yours as well. Commonly referred to as, the local spraylord, bold in his day, or the lying old bastard compensating for a small peepee stuck with nothing left in life but his alleged accomplishments of the past, this breed of genius generally ignores the Rumors to concentrate solely in the realm of LIs, thereby making them LIing Masters.

Usually sidelined due to some inane tendon-related medical malady brought on by performing a move so complex only the inner circle of suck-ups can bear witness, they spout endless streams of beta regarding the ethics of the area, their influence on climbing, and who did the real first ascent years before you cleaned, scraped, bolted and whimpered your way up that section of friable landscape that every guidebook author apparently overlooked.

    That three-pitch line, two days from civilization you thought you freeíd up was originally a solo by Jimmy History back before ropes were invented. I know, because I was there.

To identify a Master, look behind you when lowering from your next project. As practicing sodomites, itís their favorite place to be. Then listen for the telltale tsk tsk, or check for that knowing nod of the head. This will immediately be followed by comments such as:

    I remember the first time I taught John Long how to climb that; and

    Camelots and sticky rubber make this thing just too easy nowadays.

Armed with RLIs, youíll undoubtedly want to test the pesty Master out. Offer him the rope, but be prepared to learn from what you will undoubtedly hear. First comes the prequalification round while tying in:

    Looks easier than the 5.13 project I was working on all morning: or

    My fingers are still tender from doing all the hard pitches of the Zodiac for the Huber Brothers.

Then comes the actual climbing, with one fall per four moves, each of which are followed by mid-caliber LIs such as:

    I was testing your belaying, donít want you pulling me off during the crux; or

    Something must have broken, the moves are different since I last did this.

And when untying after a single burn, never having actually pulled a move without help from the gear or the rope, the regal-voiced Master will utter such comments as:

    It felt easier than itís rated, but this place has become soft on ratings: or

    Iíll have to come back and get this again, after Iím done putting up those 490 routes in that super secret area that will make Yosemite look like a choss pile.

Of course, if the person calmly sends your project with barely a grunt and a promising word of encouragement for your own inability, just maybe that person is an actual climber. The rarest of individuals out there.


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