At 5 pm, I ride my bicycle a few miles to my second job at Movement Dating & Fitness in Boulder, Colorado: finding a swolemate. I’ve kissed below climbs, danced on El Cap, and developed solid relationships, tying strong knots with my partners.I recently made the move out of my car, my home of eight years, to a new life behind a computer screen in Boulder. But in my 16 years of traveling and climbing, those moments were few and far behind.On the contrary, I have definitely witnessed some icy conditions, like the ones in which only one of the two is climbing the entire time and the other has an annoyed fixation on the belay device as he or she pulls the rope through the belay device on the ground. If they’re afraid of heights or not very enthusiastic about sports, then climbing may not be the best activity.Have patience and accept that first-timers and climbers less experienced than you will probably look sloppy on the wall.Then they start work by , because starting on time is starting late. A friend once told me that there are three things in life: career, relationships, and hobbies. For climbers, whose hobby becomes such a huge part of their lives, many put careers on hold and neglect relationships. With a new job and a continued desire to climb, could I even handle a relationship? The incestuous nature of our community has always bothered me. Later that night, I flopped into bed, taking a Magnum-sized condom out of my pocket. “Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one.” My voice cracked, “Who will dance on the floor in the round.”“One day, you’ll be with one of these girls,” John told me after I stepped off stage. His life had changed but he loved his family.“Yeah,” I said to John. Me…I could barely find my way out of the kombucha aisle at the Pearl St. I supposed I would worry about that question when and if I got there.“I put a puppy in my Tinder profile,” Adam, a true ladies’ man, said in the Movement bouldering area. I just posed with one from the animal shelter.”It seemed cheesy, but maybe Adam was onto something. A few years ago, John and I had climbed to Dolt Tower, a thousand feet up the in the middle of the night. He motioned to four climber women sitting at a table. The witty climber girl downed beer straight from the pitcher. After five’o’clock any day of the week, it is social hour, and the gym is buzzing.
A friend of mine, James Lucas, nicknamed this place “Movement Dating and Fitness” to keep up with the climbing-dating trend.
I have been bouldering before and been approached by someone who tried telling me how to do the climb that I was working on, and I just internalized it as condescending. I have been in a couple relationships with climbers before and the most toxic thing that can happen is if you find yourself not happy about the other’s success.
If I ask for help, I’d love it, but don’t bother telling me how to climb if I don’t ask. You want freedom in movement and you also want to show off your muscles. Don’t wear short-shorts because climbing involves a lot of high-stepping and stretching of the limbs. I have been in a situation in which I have done a climb before one of my ex-significant others and I felt awkward being happy about it.
A guy in rental shoes had more charm with the Boulder ladies than I did. I told any girl I talked to that I would be getting a pet. I wasn’t going to get seven cats because that would make me seem crazy. After building confidence with the line on Tinder, I asked a funny, attractive, climber girl. My roommate Cameron swung his fists from the sky to his knees in a wild mashed potato motion. At a climbing friend’s karaoke birthday party, I ran into the bathroom and furiously studied the lyrics to Michael Jackson’s . I stepped on stage and belted the lyrics, my eyes drifting through the crowd.
I just frowned and kept walking; I had dead hangs to do. It was a far cry from climbing on El Cap, waking up in the desert outside of the VRG, and living a simple life. They wake at 6 am, down a soy-infused wheat grass shot, swim four miles in Boulder Creek—upstream and feet first—then head to their doula class, where they use snorkels to assist in home underwater births. If you really want to get good, you can only pursue one. I popped and glided, pretending I was Turbo, dancing with a broom in the classic 1980s film . I had never met them, but I knew their ex-boyfriends. The climbing world is tiny, and dating a friend’s ex is almost inevitable. At the bar sat a dozen climber women—intelligent, fit, beautiful women sharing a drink with their equally perfect mates. The climber girl, the one with the witty response, walked through the crowd, parting the sea of people. He and his wife, with the help of a doula, had just had their first baby.
Instead, if you see someone attractive struggling on a climb near where you are bouldering, casually move over to where they are climbing and work on a climb nearby.