Life During Climbing Times

by John Dalbey

(with apologies to David Byrne)

Heard of climber loaded with biners,

Racked up and ready to go.

Heard of some new routes far from the highway,

A place that nobody knows.

The sound of beta off in the distance,

I'm getting used to it now.

Climbed on the big walls, climbed on the boulders,

Don't think I'll every slow down.

This ain't no sport climb,

This ain't not top rope,

This ain't hang doggin' around.

No time to drink beer,

Belay from lawn chairs,

I ain't got time for that now.

Somebody saw us up on our new crag,

We had to feign ignorance.

I've got twelve rock shoes, a couple of chalk bags,

Some people ask if I'm French.

High above base camp, bags are loaded,

All the ropes are in place.

I sleep at the bivy, I jug up at daybreak,

A great big smile on my face.

This ain't no contest,

This ain't on TV,

There ain't no judge and no crowd.

I want to hang out,

Be seen at Rifle,

I ain't got time for that now.

Heard about Smith Rocks, heard about Hueco,

Heard about Joshua Tree.

You oughta know not to climb wearing Levi's,

Somebody's likely to see.

I got some Stoppers, some Chouinard ovals,

To do El Cap in a day,

But I ain't got no quickdraws, no Super Topo,

Ain't got no IPod to play.

Why drill from skyhooks, why bolt on rappel,

To make some dinky new route?

Quickdraws all preplaced,

Every three feet,

That's not what climbing's about.

This ain't no limestone,

This ain't the Verdon,

This is the U. S. of A.

If climbing's too scary,

Stay in the rock gym,

Leave the cliffs for the brave.

We disdain topos and preinspecting,

We always lead it onsight.

Stuck on a Grade IV after the sun goes,

We just stay for the night.

We dress like hardmen, we carry crash pads,

It's all a clever disguise.

Changed my lycra so many times now,

Gotta blend with the times.

You like the jam cracks, I like the friction,

We make a pretty good team.

Don't get exhausted, I'll do some leading,

I think it's your turn to clean.

Burned all our guidebooks, what good are guidebooks?

Route skills help me survive.

I'd rather climb into the unknown,

That's when I know I'm alive.

© Copyright 2010 by John Dalbey