this is not drama and i am not a real rock climber

3 04 2009

developing boulders is tough.  you have to drive around to find lines, carry crap out to clean them, make muscles to send them, then hike more crap out to build trails to them, and, finally, you are required to give them clever names.  basically like a triathlon, but without all the frivolity and water stands.

you apparently have to also deal with the following ego-related rockclimbing total fail:


this entire conversation occurred because someone called ‘some guy’ and told them i was claiming and renaming FA’s.  i was not.  but rather than contact me they decided to flame me through email and write hilarious things on facebook about my ‘misleading blog’.  i assumed from the context of the emails they had gotten into a small password protected guidebook i was working on, but it seems this was not the case.  instead, what you are about to read stems ENTIRELY from person A telling person B that i was renaming and regrading problems put up almost a decade ago in an area 90 miles away from where i was putting up problems.  in the end, i talked to the person responsible for the emails and we cleared up our ‘beef’ so to speak.  despite the fix, the scars are still present; facebook wall posts lingering out in the interwebs read:

I would like you to know that Tommy Wilson website is extremely misleading. He has disrespected all developers in the Ky region, and his ego isn’t based on his ability to climb, but his ability to mislead climbers in the region through his blog. A national mag will clear this up soon, if any of the local new comers would like the truth they can read it in a national climbing mag.

and my favorite:

Sledge hammer party coming soon to the shitty bouldering areas in KY!
Call me!

i have made the entire conversation available again because i’m a regular dooshbag who got interweb-jumped for something completely imaginary and want a point of reference should someone inquire about why “i’m a total problem stealing dooshbag”.  you know, so i can show them how i’m just a normal dooshbag.  i mean, all i did was clean and climb new problems (on good rock) in a state nearly bereft of boulderings and now there are people who i don’t know who do not like me for something i did not do.  and if you’ve been following this blog you know my fragile ego is no way, shape, or form able handle anonymous spite.  so without further ado…

the event:

the whole thing started with a short comment on a page i had written about hard problems in kentucky:

Please contact me about above stated info.

i responded in kind with:


hey, i wrote you back last week, but the mail might have slipped by you.  i’m always eager to get new information concerning problem names, FA data, etc..  so if you’ve got some of that then – by all means – send it my way.  and if you happen to be in the bluegrass state sometime in the near future i’d be more than happy to take you out to some of the newly developed areas.  the rock quality is totally ridiculous.



a full month went by without a response.  but once the guy received a call from an acquaintance of mine (and a friend of his), he felt compelled to pen the following:

Hey Tommy,

I’m confussed about not contacting me about the porblems at [a nearby place].
I Having been climbing for 22yrs, and have had 60 v10’s or harder to my credit. These problems were in all other states put up by professionals; you must prove yourself on established hard problems in other states. The blogs and info you have posted is misleading at best. No matter what you state in your info people are going are going to deflaut to my knowledege. I truely feel like you r povided a jaded history and insulting a climber who has great respect in the industry.  [my friend] has interview me for Rock and Ice, that fell through, I would like to post it on your site.  If u continue to draw so much attention to self, more people r going to be critical of you.
Send me the link to those google maps.


at this point i was even more confused than the guy claimed to be in his opening salvo.  aside from the email’s near illegibility, i was particularly uncertain about a) what a ‘professional’ developer was, b) why i needed to all of a sudden go out of town to climb hard problems (other than the obvious reason: because gas is now free), c) how i had provided a jaded history, d) what a jaded history would even look like in the context of climbing (crimps.  they used to be so much better.),  e) which greatly respected climber i had insulted, and, finally, f) why in the world the guy thought this was a good idea?

despite being out-and-out flummoxed by this development, i managed to rifle out about a dozen quick responses, each more absurd than the last.  finally, i settled on this:


maybe i misunderstood your email.  let me paraphrase what i read so we can be clear.  it said:

hey tommy,

you are weak.  i am strong.  please bend over so i can rape you.

the guy

p.s. publish my interview.

that about sum it up?

all this over ‘problems’ in [the nearby place]?  hilarious.

good luck,


i pressed send and went to pick up my cat at the vet.  at this point i was beyond furious.  i had a writing deadline the following day, and was totally incapable of thinking beyond some sort of vulgar notion of textual vengeance.

when i returned i checked my box.  he had replied:

Send me your phone number!

The Guy

“okay” i thought.  maybe i did misunderstand.  not sure how that’s possible, but maybe i did.  a real life chat might be useful to set the record straight.  but before i had a chance to take in the positive turn of events, i noticed he had sent me another email.  “aha” i though.  “this is probably an apology”.
um.  not so much:

[famous guidebook author]

[famous guidebook author]

[famous guidebook author]

Would like to send u an email about your last message.  Is that ok?

The Guy

so this is when i began sorting it all out.  because sometimes it takes an LSAT question to really clarify something.  what links these dudes?  guidebook authorship.  what is this guy’s problem?  intellectual property rights.  at this point, i (incorrectly) assumed he had accessed my small private guide.
this is when i really started to laugh.  so i replied:


the guide you accessed (without the author’s permission) is password protected.  it has a grand total of nine (9) ‘members’ who reference it.  the areas were listed for historical purposes only, and NOT because i’m trying to capitalize on an area i haven’t been to in months.  the primary purpose of my guide is to document areas I AM DEVELOPING.  in any case, i’ve removed the information [re: the nearby place] until we discuss this.

if the guidebook authors you hilariously threatened me with have something to say regarding what amounts to a private guidebook with zero F****NG distribution then have them send all the emails they want.

if you want to continue this unfortunate drama we can, but i assure you it will not be to your liking.

call me and we can try to salvage something before this goes any further.

(my number here)

so, um, yeah.  i was kinda angry.  i reviewed my ‘guide’ to see what evil i had unleashed there,  but all i found was this bile i had placed on the ‘About’ page:

in my mind climbing guides serve two major functions: 1) to register climbs in a coherent manner and 2) to lead people to climbs they might enjoy. this guide is more about the former than the latter. the impetus behind this decision is simple: we don’t have much to climb on in kentucky and we cannot afford to lose it. that said, an unshared climbing resource is, in a way, already lost. so it seems we must come up with a way to share without exploitation, to maximize enjoyment while maintaining access.

the best idea i can come up with is to have a limited number of ‘gatekeepers’; people who know where to climb, names of problems, and how good/bad access is. if you’re reading this site you have been entrusted to share this resource with your friends – not the blogsite itself – but the problems and the beta contained therein. you are – if you will – a living guidebook connected to other living guidebooks through this site.

thanks in advance for your participation and discretion.


and this painful disclaimer:

Note: Problem names are in some cases the result of first ascent data while others are simply given names for the sake of conversational convenience.  If you have any information that ‘trumps’ either of these, please do not hesitate to bring it to the author’s attention

so i went to sleep, confident this would all be resolved in the morning.  instead i received this – which was hardly the last – piece of this awesome incident in rockclimbing history.

Climbing is about respecting climbing itself. It seems you are misguided in many ways, I’m sorry you consider this drama. Maybe one day someone will disclose and disreguard credit for all your work. In order to be the spot light Kentucky blogger I would think repeating [my] problems on video first would be a good start. All are requesting your out of state tick list, how can you grade problems? Were is your base line? Why is there sooo much time writing and spraying?

Your writing on your site is so childish and truely lacks consideration for other rock climbers. Your mission is to inform others about problems; name some of your hardest ticks?

If you can’t repeat the small amount of difficult problems in KY, then why develop areas? Reason being is you aren’t able to do them and want attention. Credit is earned and you have zero sends to back up all these new super rad areas. To clear this up a boulder is a free standing rock, not a cliff line.

I think writing and pretending to be a developer in ky, sounds so much better than traveling to areas like Font. and Hueco. Since you are in grad school wouldn’t you have to consider I have valid issues, you state that u aren’t disclosing certain areas in u r online guide. Why? B/c u never took the time to contacted the climbers who were involved.

Putting a photo without a climbers consent is wrong and shows no class. Does pretending to be a rock climbing help your ego? If you loved climbing you would respect it and embrace climbers who made it possible. So your realize a small outline of a guide is in the works through a real publication company, not from my garage. I hope you realize I’m not even upset about this so called drama, friends know you and have spoken about your mission.

The Guy






18 responses

3 04 2009

This is way too funny to have really happened. You made it all up. That’s the only plausible answer.

3 04 2009

oh julian. how i wish this had never really happened. how i wish it was simply a coffee-induced funny….

then i wouldn’t have to side with the robots when they decide to annihilate humanity. because – after this – let’s be honest: is there anything really worth saving?

i mean, other than me and my almost-guaranteed position as head lackey to the High Robot Earth Control Council.

3 04 2009

Don’t you know the rules? You have to climb all the hard problems in a state before you develop new areas.

3 04 2009

I keep telling my students they won’t get anywhere in life if they can’t express themselves clearly and coherently. I don’t tell them exactly like that, but that’s pretty much what they get out of it. Now, though, I’ll be able to tell them they can still become famous guidebook authors.

Seriously though, I can see why the whole ordeal is aggravating, but there’s no denying how genuinely funny it all sounds.

That said, remind me never to get into a verbal joust with you. I wouldn’t stand a chance (and I’ve studied Cicero, imagine that).

3 04 2009

all you would have to do is move the joust to french and i would be toast.

because: je ne parle pas francais comme un triomphateur…

4 04 2009
peter beal

This is funny except that it’s actually happening to you. Sorta like my internet harasser named Kimbo. But there is one useful thing to come out of it all:


Make up some T-shirts with this phrase, they will sell like crazy

4 04 2009

guy seems nice… for me to poop on!!

that said…

guy is a tool. it’s a shame he has acted so as to be disrespected. all we wanted to do was give credit where credit was due.

he probably just needs to be medicated.

with love,

4 04 2009

I think that this could be stretched out into a half hour sit-com. I want this guy to be played by Mr. Furley.

You can be Don Draper.

4 04 2009
liz coffee

it’s a shame this couldn’t have had a happier ending.

if the guy had only realized he was being a terrible douche bag and tried to have an actual conversation, rather than making remarks that a 10 year old would use as fuel in a screaming match, this probably could have turned out much different…

i was deeply annoyed by his reference to your writing as being, “childish.”

this blog is hilarious and a bit refreshing….and is by the way…hello….a BLOG.

i think it’s apparent that since the guy fails to use spell check that he didn’t give himself enough time to actually think about what he was saying….he was too busy being emotional about the whole thing.

4 04 2009

indeed. it really is a shame.

i’m glad you like my childish writing 🙂

5 04 2009

the best thing to come out of this is dev finally realizing i look exactly like don draper. except with more fitness and less pomp.

6 04 2009

I guess the “bubble” doesn’t follow you onto the internet.

6 04 2009

Forgive me if I didn’t read close enough, but did this email thread start on 04/01/09? Either way, you totally gave your number to some dude.

6 04 2009

it didn’t. and yes…i did.

9 04 2009

Oh Tish, we have such heart-shaped feelings for you and your blog. We are, without your permission, reposting a choicest lines from this dram on our own site so that ATX climbers can feel better about our own old school douchebags who ask only that we not chip the shit out of the projects they so carefully glued together twenty years ago.



9 04 2009
It seems you are misguided in many ways « SendAustin!

[…] and sent all the psycho emails to ICFTG. We have excerpted the best of the lunacy here, but please give ICFTG a click and read the whole […]

10 04 2009
my mission: check? « It Came from the Garage

[…] things at you is accompanied by somewhat interesting questions.  for instance, last week when the guy said “friends know you and have spoken of your mission”, i started to […]

14 04 2009
Bill Amos

Holy shit are people stupid.

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