Thursday, January 12, 2012
The Dirtbag Diaries.
The Stonemasters. No, they are not a group of men working for their living, but a group of renegade hoodlums living to live. In the late 60s and early 70s a very select small group of rock climbers left their California prep lifestyle and hit the mountains. The very first dirtbag, a name they wore proudly, lived out of their cars, ate cans of tuna, and used campfires as heat in order to make their own climbing gear that launched a risky and somewhat ridiculous pastime into a refined, technical and addictive sport.
This youth culture was just like ours, obsessed with appearance: long hair in need of a good wash tied back with a dirty bandana, cutoffs, aviators and no t-shirt. Well, okay, maybe not the same, not the same at all. Lungs full of dope and hearts full of hope, these men accomplished some of the most difficult climbs in the Yosemite Valley area with very minimal and previously mentioned handmade gear.
Often for me, the early 70s seem so far away and often forgotten. To ensure this is not the case, I am making it my mission to inform more people, mainly climbers about the stonemasters. Adventure starts with breaking ground, living in camaraderie with likeminded outdoor enthusiasts and a firm belief in nonconformity.