My Day of Dirtbagging (Magical Metal Cans)
Words and Photos by Patrick Stutts
I met a dude named Noah through a friend my second night in Bishop.
We got drunk around a campfire and naturally became best friends right away. Second day of hanging out he took me to a local trad wall with the hardest crack climbs in all of Bishop. The approach was heinous and pants-less river crossing was involved (great way to start a day of hard climbing).
After the day was over we headed back to the local brewery and at the end of the night I offered up a pair of shoes to Noah. They were given to me for free and didn’t quite fit my foot shape. In exchangefor the shoes Noah offered to take me out and teach me to lead a multi pitch trad climb. This is where my epic day of dirtbagging begins. We start our day off early into Owens River gorge and before I know it I’m topping out my first pitch of the day, then my second, then my third. Jamming my way up the wall and methodically placing Noah’s gear along the beautiful crack-seam striking its way up a wall of volcanic tuff. After about four or five climbs we were admittedly pretty pooped out for having done so little.
We glanced off at the next climb and decided that hot springs sounded more our speed as the temperature started to drop in the gorge and the thought of warm water lingered in our heads. We packed up and hauled ass out to the springs, but not without stopping for beer of course. We met up with two of Noah’sfriends, Rod and Arielle. After a nice dip and few cold ones, I remembered some interesting beta that a Canadian friend told me while in Las Vegas. He said “You know you Americans throw out a lot of food, aye? You can eat for free every night here.” My response, “Do tell. I want to know more of your secrets magical Canadian man.” His reply was simple “Magic metal cans my friend.”As I told the group of the myth I had heard we ventured out for our free feast. First giant canturned up no luck other than a couple cartons of busted eggs. The second, empty other thansome gnarly looking cardboard. We decided to split up. I went alone to The Upper Crust, a boujee pizza joint in town, while the rest of the gang went to what we nicknamed “The Gross Out”. I checked the dumpster to no avail but while I was outside on the phone I overheard a delivery boy talk about some pizza he took to the wrong address. I asked what he would do with it and at first he told me he was taking it back out to find the proper address. Moments later he walked out after I was off the phone for a minute and he offered me another tiny fresh pizza as a token from one climber to another. Bless the climbing community for moments like that. I rushed over to the Gross Out to show my friends the booty I had obtained only to discover they had hit the motherload of all plunder. The amount of fresh food thrown out, that was cleanly wrapped in its packaging and weeks before expiration date, is unbelievable. Quickly, we filled the van to the brim and raced off to our campsite. We spent the night laughing, cooking and indulging ourselves with food and tequila until we could take no more. The next morning we awoke to mega-feast round two. The menu consisted of eggs, turkey bacon, spinach and a giant croissant roll that we stuffed with Rods leftover peaches and cream cheese. After breakfast, all of us departed for a new day of climbing, feeling full of good food and joy. As I drove away from camp all I could think about was the Canadian Wizard and those magic metal cans.