A Dirtbag's Guide To Getting A Date

What’s better after a great day of climbing or skiing than sharing highlights and laughs over a brew with your buddies? Doing the same thing with the one you love. If you find yourself wishing for a guy or girl to share your dirtbag life with, here are a few tips that helped me.

I met my gal—now fiancé—by going into the mountains with her. It took me a while to impress her, if I do impress her at all. But after a year of hanging out as climbing partners, she finally agreed to “go steady” with me, so I guess I must have done something right.

Set yourself up for success

Don’t make plans for a big alpine, rock or ski objective right away. Nobody is friendly after climbing 18 hours in a row, plus she or he might see a side of you that you’re not ready to share yet. Instead, enjoy a relaxing day doing something that you’re both going to have fun at. It isn’t always about sending the hardest route or skiing the gnarliest line. Nobody is impressed if you end up injured. You might get some sympathy points, but I can’t say that approach has worked for me. You may miss your golden opportunity for a second date if you end up injured, or worse, looking like a beater.

Plan, but be flexible

You can earn big points if you think ahead. Find out what she or he does and doesn’t like. Chocolate? IPA? If there’s a special day or occasion in the mountains, plan ahead to surprise your soon-to-be significant other with chocolate, wine, or cake. And always have a backup plan. If you’re planning on climbing in the mountains and the weather craps, what do you do? Hang out in a soggy tent? Toss the mountain bike, rock shoes and climbing rack in the car so you’ll have options. Maybe you can drive away from the rain and still salvage your wilderness getaway.


This probably took me the longest to learn, and I’m still working on it. If she or he has a day off and wants to go for a “fun and mellow” ski tour, that means you don’t need to bring your harness and rope for some steep couloir skiing. This can be difficult when your significant other wants a mellow day and you want to get after it. But remember, life is about compromising. Is it really worth dragging your partner on some adventure that only you are psyched about? Next time she or he wants to go out sport climbing, don’t bring your big camalots to get on your off-width project.

If you’re lucky enough to convince this person to go on an overnight trip with you, you’re one step closer to relationship status. Now get up early and make the hot coffee or tea while they relax in the warmth of the sleeping bag. This will earn you major points in the long run!

Impressing him or her isn’t about how fast you climb or how fit your are, but more how you act as a person. Make sure your future significant other feels important by listening, compromising and of course making time to laugh and smile. Remember, outdoor adventures are often more about who you share the experience with than what you actually do.

Have fun, get out there and enjoy the wilderness together!