Posted by: twistsoffeet | May 7, 2010

Usually I am pretty modest, self conscious even shy. But sometimes…

Climbing bums are kind of like ski bums and surf bums.

We live for the next set of bumps or powder to ski or wave to ride or stone to caress.

We give up all creature comforts to live in tents or out of the back of our vehicle. Traveling around the country– or even the world– just so we can feel that exhilarating calmness, the rush of peace the pleasure of feeling stone under your finger tips and air beneath your feet.

And we do this for months at a time.

On one such trip, back in the mid-nineties, I had set up camp in Penitente Canyon in Colorado. The season was just beginning, and I decided to spend a couple of weeks climbing the canyon. Friends and strangers would sometimes show up during the week, and I could hook up with them for some climbs; and on the weekends, lots of people would show up, so I was never alone and always had climbing partners.

That is, until a late May snow storm hit and dropped nearly a foot of snow.

Everyone left in a flash. Everyone but me. I just crawled into my tent and started reading, rarely venturing out into the weather. With no climbing partners left, I ended up staying in the tent for three days. Finally, I realized I was getting pretty ripe. Out came the solar shower and I trudged back to an area a friend had set up that worked perfectly as a natural shower. After refreshing myself with the shower, and since I was the only human for miles, I thought, I decided to walk back to camp au natural. Usually I am pretty modest, self-conscious, even shy. But sometimes, especially if I don’t think anyone is around to witness my depravity, I enjoy my natural state.

As I was walking back to my camp in all my glory, whistling the theme song to the Andy Griffith show and without a care in the world, I heard a giggle. Looking around, I spotted a young woman in her early twenties just looking at me and giggling. Now her giggling could have been a serious blow to my self image; however, instead I look at as… oh hell, I don’t look at it as anything but funny. I would have busted out with a gut wrenching laugh if I had seen some approaching middle age man strolling down a mountain path butt naked and whistling the theme song for the Andy Griffith show. This young woman suddenly jumped up from where she was sitting on a boulder and ran, giggling, away. I do not know where she came from or where she went, but I hope she still laughs when she remembers it.

On another occasion, I had been climbing in Sinks Canyon Wyoming. My camp was pitched way at the upper end of the canyon when another big snow storm hit. Again, everyone left the canyon except me. As I sat in my tent, being bored and having no new reading material I looked out into the storm. Giant– larger than silver dollar snow flakes– were pouring down from the sky. It was a very primal view.

Well this brought out the beast in me and I thought, “What could be more natural and primal than going for a run in the storm, in the buff?” So, unable to resist these feelings, I decided to strip down to a head band, trail running shoes and socks and go for a run. This run was a total of about five miles and the most exhilarating run I have ever had. Fortunately, to the best of my knowledge, no one else was crazy enough to be out in this storm and there were probably no witnesses.

Also, although it was snowing very hard, it was at least warm enough to avoid frost bite… now, that wouldn’t have been pleasant.



  1. That is hysterical!
    Men are so different from women. A man caught nude stands in shock… A woman caught in the nude will usually immediately squat so as to cover all of her fun parts. We would be mortified.

    So far as the 5 mile run… really? I mean, I totally dig being nekid in the sunshine, but running in the snow? And I know what I would go though running nude as a woman… It makes me wonder just how… um… awkward … it was for you to run. _giggles_

    • I just can’t imagine myself squatting and covering my fun parts. I mean ooooh stop looking at me like that.

      As far as my run being awkward I guess I can thank the cold for helping to alleviate that problem. However the prospect of frost bite “down there” was definately disconcerting.

  2. Ha!!! *shaking my head @you*

    • When I first told you the story about my run in the snow storm you were shaking your head at that time also. But I do seem to remember you introducing me to your friends and recounting the story then finishing off with you telling them that I was the weirdest person you knew. Then you looked at me and said that was a compliment.

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