It’s a dingy bar. Dark and musty. Where, I’m not exactly sure, but there is a feeling of sadness that radiates on every level. The light trickling through dusty, half-drawn shades is not telling of any particular time of day, perhaps evening. Weak rays of sunlight barely cut through the haze that lingers at the…
Words by: Luke Mehall
Director: Greg Cairns
Mehall is the author of five books, including The Desert, a dirtbag climbing book. He is also the publisher of The Climbing Zine.
You can score one of his books and/or zines here:
Greg Cairns of Cairns Film is a filmmaker, storyteller, and river guide. Check out more of his material here:
Two years ago I pitched an idea about a film I really had nothing more than a spark of an idea for to Greg Cairns. I’d seen Cedar Wright and James Lucas’s “The Last Dirtbag” and felt compelled to offer something of my own to this conversation about dirtbags and whether or not any real ones exist anymore.
Of course the question is bullshit, people still live in the dirt, out of bags, we have just entered a new era, one where technology can take away a lot of the mystery of climbing, and it is getting harder and harder to make extended stays on public land.
In the end the question did not matter. What mattered was how I felt about my time as a dirtbag. I ended up structuring the piece I wrote to go with the film similarly to how Bob Dylan structured “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie“. Climbing and the characters I’ve met along the way mean everything.
In the end I don’t care about the word dirtbag, it’s just a word. And our film, it’s just a film, but we labored over it in love, and I have a lot of love for our community. And I wrote this piece from the heart, and as a writer that is all I can aim for. I hope you enjoy it, as much as we enjoyed making it.