The following article was published a few years back in Urban Climber Magazine. I am posting it now to foreshadow a bit of a road trip i’ll be taking…
Road Trip Reminisce
*Reads easier if you watch these classics first.
My last road trip took me to 8 different climbing areas in 7 days, up 30 different three star problems, and ended with a very sun burnt left arm. It was an amazing ride that reminded me there is nothing more that I like to do than put my car into park at a new climbing area…And so, when under the thumb of work, my second choice is watching someone else doing just that.
The ‘road trip’ video is certainly the classic climbing film genre, encompassing the climbing bum standards of cheap food, little sleep, and lots of action. By the very nature of cities not typically being covered with rocks, the sport of climbing has always revolved around the road trip. These factors have given us the plethora of ‘road trip’ style videos we relish today. But to really get a feel for what makes a good road trip or even a good video, we need to look a few of the classics: Rampage, The Real Thing, and Frequent Flyers all embody the qualities of a classic bouldering trip.
Who wouldn’t want a one-way ticket around the world or an RV full of psyched climbers to explore the North American west coast with? I mean really, Ben Moon and Jerry Moffat are my heroes! These videos characterize the ideals of the perfect road trip. When Chris Sharma had his challenging day at the Tramway, overcoming his “ripped” shoes, he perseveres to continue climbing for the sake of passion. When Boone Speed classifies his past few days of travel with a recount of what time it is in each country they climbed at during their whirlwind trip, he reminds us sleep is secondary to the amazing limestone boulders of Castle Hill. And finally, When Ben and Jerry take their renowned rest day in the snowy never-never-land of Fontainebleau, they remind us that if you are not having fun, then you may as well go home!
If these videos have taught us anything, it’s that you will not send everything you want to, unless you’re Ben Moon or Chris Sharma, but mostly, it is that the strongest memories of a trip are the fun times spent with friends at the climbing area. Jerry Moffat, reaching for the stars with his arms and exclaiming, “Streeeaatch,” followed by an enjoyable string of climbing cuts on perfect forested sandstone and hilarious improvised fighting scenes between the crew. Boone Speed proclaiming, “I just didn’t want to fall off,” as he grits his teeth and power slabs his way up a New Zealand test piece to join his buddies on top. Obe Carrion remarking about the unheard of strength of Garth Miller, ”How much can you know reading a magazine, you know, but he is naaasty strong!” and the unrivaled smiles of the Japanese climbers, “They’re all just laughing and giggling, and just having such a rad time.” But my favorite quote of any road trip video is from the king himself making sure he gets to climb on everything he sees: “What happens if we see some rad looking boulders on the side of the road…we’re gonna stop…and go climb on ‘em.”