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97 Off Belay

[Cartoon] Tami Knight


Job Title: Personal Assistant/Executive Secretary

Reports to: The Last American Dirtbag (TLAD Industries)

Date: Summer 2014-

Location: Rifle Branch Library, Rifle; Beaver Dam Bar, Beaver Dam; Vons bakery, Bishop; Camp 4 boulders, Yosemite

To apply: Send an email indicating the desired position in the subject line. Include cover letter, resume and nude, full-body selfie. Wear a GoPro.

Essential Job Functions:

With my TLAD business exploding, I now have less time to climb. I mostly just finagle my way into friends’ homes to shower, update my card and post climbing blogs. This is where you come in. Ideally, you’ll have a solid understanding of dirtbag culture and an ability to portray my commitment to the lifestyle, so we can monetize and prolong it.

Sadly, the number of dirtbags has drastically decreased since the days when John Long explained in his How to Rock Climb! book that to become a good climber you had to devote your entirety to the pursuit. I’m one of the few remaining. At present, the odometer on my red station wagon reads 223,000 miles. The dome light has fallen off, the driver’s-side door only opens from the outside, and I lost the passenger-side rearview mirror four years ago. After years as a freelance writer, my bank balance is $158.62. If the car breaks or my computer falls apart, I’m finished–and the dreams of The Last American Dirtbag die.

The biggest reason for our endangerment is not, as some speculate, increased regulations, reduced free camping or higher gas prices. People with passion climb despite the obstacles. The issue is a lack of a need to live this lifestyle: it’s become outdated and even inconvenient. You can purchase fancy climbing pants, and then rip holes in them; pay for a room at the Yosemite Lodge, and then scarf food from the cafeteria. Watch The Real Dirtbags of Stick-Clip Climbing Gym on the Oxygen channel. Buy the lifestyle without experiencing it: “Why choose the hard life when the easy one works better?”

This is where you come in: I need you to re-interpret for mass consumption my daily struggles of shivering through cold nights atop El Capitan, getting lost hiking in Red Rock and being incapable of functioning in social situations–what’s an appropriate joke at a funeral?–in order to generate crowd-sourced emotional and financial support. You will update various social media platforms with pictures of me eating chicken and graham crackers on Mammoth Terraces; create a Kickstarter video of me waking up in my station wagon and rifling through my climbing gear for my toothbrush; collect cans in Camp 4 on my behalf; clean my car; wash my laundry; and constantly remind people that I survived a 100-foot free-soloing fall.

Minimum Qualifications:

– Degree in communications, journalism or English–PhD preferred. Culinary experience with an emphasis on organic, locally grown California cuisine.

– 10+ years relevant experience as a rock-climbing personal assistant or IFMGA-certified subman. Ability to clean, bolt and tickmark potential projects, and then belay while I take all the credit.

– New luxury van with wood interior, granite-topped kitchenette, triple set of cams, two large crashpads, two sets of projecting quickdraws, CB radio to talk to passing truckers and a DVD player with the original Star Wars trilogy dubbed in Spanish (so if my dreams of a climbing vacation in Oliana come true, I can trill, “May the force be with you,” in espanol).

– Must know the definition of soigneur and have ready access to HGH, anabolic steroids and gummy bears.

– Proficiency with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instatweetmyfaceogram, KiK, Tinder, Telephone, Vine, Tumblr, Postcards and LinkedIn Ghost Hunters Edition.

– Keen understanding of how to make me look good, always.


Personal assistant will provide employer with $8/hour cash. After a thirty-day probationary period, he or she will pay $10/hour with payment increasing by $1/hour every thirty days, with a final cap of $25/hour. The assistant will also pay employer’s dental, health and vision insurance.