Dear Crag Aunty…. Help! I have a Crush!
We’ve all been there. There is a gorgeous guy/gal with killer moves that you have been checking out in the gym or at the crag. Maybe you’ve managed to lock eyes, or perhaps you caught a glimpse of something special as they bent over to put their shoes on? As luck would have it, their climbing partner is a friend of your climbing partner (or one of those other inevitable “2 degrees of separation” situations that are commonplace in the climbing world) and the word on the street is that they’re single…
So how does one strike up conversation to see if they are also funny, smart and generally an all-round good value package deal? If you’re projecting 18’s and they are flashing 25’s, it can be a bit embarrassing to ask for beta on a route they can do in their flip flops.
Never fear, Crag Aunty is here! Don’t spend your time worrying about how humiliating it is their onsight grade is like your pinkpoint multiplied by Pi… that’s a subject for another time and I’ll get to it soon.
Instead, try some of these hot tips and watch that cragside romance blossom…
Invite them for a casual climbing sesh
Try too hard to impress with a route that is waaaay outside your limit
One of the beautiful things about asking someone on a climbing date is that it doesn’t need to be a date at all! Just ask them to give you a catch sometime and then see which way the wind blows. It’s a far less anxiety-ridden task than blurting something cliché like “heydoyouwannahangoutsometimeorgetadrinkorcoffeeorhotchocolateifyoudon’tdrinkcoffee.”
But when you get to the crag, be sensible! Projects are ok, but don’t get on Punks in the Gym if you’re barely able to lead in the actual gym. It will only end in tears.
Belay too attentively!
Climbing is obviously more fun, but belaying can have its perks too… You’ll be in prime position to view legs, bums, muscles, and other lovely things. Don’t let these distract you from the job at hand… make sure you’re giving slack when necessary and taking in as needed as well. Failure to do so will make even the most amorous of suitors a little hot under the collar for all the wrong reasons.
Bring some tasty climbing treats to share
Forget to consider dietary needs
You know what’s really sexy? Anaphylaxis.
Ok, maybe not. So before you hand the object of your affection one of Budlina’s Bliss Balls (check out my KILLER recipe here), make sure you check to see if they have any allergies or other dietary concerns. Oh, and go easy on the dates… I don’t think you want me to elaborate on that one.
Wear something attractive
Expose your skin to the elements
This one is mainly for the ladies, because if you didn’t get jazzed up in your best active wear, did you even #climb? There are plenty of rather alluring outfits to be found at your favourite store, but you need to think about the context before presenting too much skin. Things that your skin won’t like much include (but are not limited to) granite, sandstone, dolerite, rhyolite, trachyte, bushwhacking, bitey critters and the harsh Australian sun. If you’re still confused, we’ve demystified climbing fashion here.
Talk shop about your snazzy climbing gear
Have all the gear and no idea
If the conversation turns toward climbing gear, make sure you stay in your lane. There’s no point pretending you know the difference between a C4 and an X4 if you haven’t the slightest idea… you’ll just sound like a goose! Don’t bring up things you can’t even pronounce like “etrier” or “baruntse”. Just stick with what you know, and ask for clarification on the things you don’t. Curiosity can be an attractive quality, but ignorance never is.
Talk about other parts of your life
Piss and Moan
This might come as a surprise to some, but there are other subjects you can talk about other than climbing! If you need a primer, popular subjects include family, work, dogs and pizza. For the love of God, don’t take this as an opportunity to whinge and complain about why your life sucks because of reason A, B or C. It’s not an interesting topic, and it’s a direct advertisement against getting involved with you further. Save all your crazy for later 😛
Invite your romantic interest to your tent for a cuddle
Pitch your tent 50cm away from to someone else’s!
So you’ve followed Crag Aunty’s hot tips and now you’re camping beneath the stars after a hard day of crushing (haha, get it? It’s a PLAY ON WORDS). Your romantic interest seems to be reciprocating, and there’s more tension in the air than that time you were flash pumped above that marginal microcam… So you invite them back to your tent (strictly in the interest of examining its craftsmanship, of course).
But here’s Aunty’s last bit of advice, and this comes from a true story that happened recently – make sure the tent is located a sufficient distance away from your crag buddies, so that they aren’t able to hear the audible… ahh… appraisals of the tent’s craftsmanship.
A good host might like to provide breakfast, so it can’t hurt to have some homemade muesli and coffee ready. Wake up, refuel, and keep on crushing 😉
Crag Aunty wishes you the best of luck. But remember, if it doesn’t work out, there’s no better way of fixing a broken heart than climbing!
And one last thing… You’re not Alex Honnold – use protection!
If you have any delicate problems and could do with some kindly advice, drop Crag Aunty a line!