I’ve been climbing now for almost two decades. In that time, I’ve seen the amount of women get into the sport skyrocket, but unfortunately the number of guys has also skyrocketed, leaving the male-to-female ratio disproportionately skewed about 10 to one. I’ve had several lady friends recently come on the market, leaving a lot of my guy friends asking if they think they’d be a good match. For the ladies, they’ll have their pick of the litter, which always leads me to giving my guy friends some advice.
Here it is:
1. Impress her outside of your climbing abilities. Yes, while the tweens, teeny boppers and early-twenties ladies are super impressed with the ability to crush V12, 5.14 and climb El Cap in a day, at some point that’s going to become less important. Bake for her, cook for her, take her out for music, something to show diversity.
2. While I just said that climbing is not everything, selflessly putting up top ropes is a great thing! Or belaying/spotting on her project with a smile on. It’s always hard to come by a good supportive climbing partner, but especially if it’s your significant other.
3. Be willing not to go climbing for a day/weekend if there is something that she’s more interested in. Yes, for some people (yours truly included) this is a terribly difficult thing, but again, it shows willingness outside your amazing rock crushing abilities.
4. If you live out of a van, make sure it’s clean before you invite her in. People are super-impressed with awesome road tripping vehicles, but equally unimpressed with its lack of cleanliness, so make sure you are prepared and do some organization beforehand. Likewise, if you are one of the lucky ones that has an actual roof over your head.
5. Make sure you are clean. While it is a skill not to shower or bathe for a week, perhaps wait to show that off until you are on your first road trip or wall together. But until that point, try to find a shower and get gussied up.
6. Be patient. Just realize that there are probably a bunch of strong, good-looking guys after her attention as well. But I know that for most of my friends and myself, the kind, patient, non-egocentric guys are the good ones.
If you are looking for some good recipes to cook and bake for her—my favorites are on epicurious.com. They also have amazing baked goods recipes, pies, cookies, cakes, and so on. It’s always awesome to have a good home-cooked meal, especially by a guy who just put up a toprope and belayed you on your project all day.