Marg Recipe: The ATC 30-30

Feeling horrible through the night on our first attempt at Shingu Charpa. Josh Wharton photo.

Yak. “Oh SweetJesusofMaryandAllah, I wish they had someone like, something like – yak! – the Alpine Training Center down in Khande,” I gasped between brain addled heaves. Josh shot me a puzzled look. We were one-third up Shingu Charpa’s stunning, unclimbed, 5,000-foot north ridge and my already pea-sized brain shriveled with hypoxic prophecies. But sure enough, the ATC opened last year in Boulder (though I remain unaware of Connie’s plans on opening an affiliate in the village of Khande) – and they do kick-ass, sport-specific, work-hardening, high-intensity training for climbers, skiers, and outdoor athletes.

A few days into mine and Josh Wharton’s trip to Pakistan’s Nangma Valley in 2006, I gasped for air and spit blood, wishing for one of those huge bungee-cord things to clip to the back of Josh’s harness. Phenoms like him, it seems, don’t need to acclimatize. But I suck. Not that the ATC would help with acclimatization, but I’m on a roll here and altitude is not one of my gifts. Margarita making (and drinking), however, is. So Josh and I – emphasis on the I – slowed to a crawl at only 15,000′ and passed a long and miserable night on a 30-degree sloping ledge. Down at first light. I felt Josh’s disappointment, but, being the optimist that he is, he said to me, right there on that ledge: “Well, at least you make good margaritas.”

Just last night I sat here feeling sorry for myself, when suddenly my good friend Mark Kelly came by and started kicking my crutches. “Get yer sorry gimp-ass up, ShackBoy.”

“NO, I’m just here with my marg, that’s all I need, me and my marg. And – and these painkillers. That’s all I need.”

Josh Wharton on pitch 18, our second/final attempt at Shingu Charpa.

Mark looked into my empty glass and reminded me: “You know they’re passing the hat for you to buy tequila to help your recovery.”

I did a double back flip on my crutches and we were out the door.

Last night at the ATC in Boulder, they had this cool Community Night, with my friend Graham from Cilo Gear, who makes awesome, no-frills-no-bullshit packs; hardman Jesse Huey giving a cool show despite Windows constantly re-arranging his images (bravo for the improv, Jesse! Next time we’ll pass the hat to buy you a Mac); and emceed by the mighty masterful Dougie Fresh Shepherd. Thanks so much, everyone who came, for all the well wishes and for the margarita fund. Totally unnecessary (though it does help), but immensely appreciated. Thank you.

What’s any of this have to do with my Shingu Charpa opener? Nothing, as with most of my unconnected rambles. But I’m not only getting old, but now I’m gimped up – the absolute worst kind of alpine climber – DearGodNo!, as if he doesn’t spray enough already, now he’s going to start babbling “Ever tell you about the time I climbed the Enormodome?” Yup, it’s coming.

Which reminds me…so this guy walks in to a confessional booth and asks for forgiveness. “What did you do, my son?”

“Well, father, see, there were these two beautiful blonde sisters. And I slept with them both – at the same time.”

“Oh dear,” the priest says, “Say 50 Hail Marys.”

“No way – I’m Jewish,” the man replies.

“But, wait…so why are you telling me??”

“Oh, I’m telling everybody!”

So here’s this week’s marg recipe, the Thuty-Thuty (30-30), with big thanks to all who came out last night:

Tequila: 30-30 Reposado, reserva especial

An exceptional value – and not like, “Oh, you mean it sucks but it’s cheap.” This stuff’s pretty good. But not too good – this blog hasn’t hit the big-time yet (still waiting on Hollywood), so we’re talking climbers here. 30-30 runs about $20 for a 750mL bottle, not too bad. These smaller brands can sometimes be real gems, as they don’t spend all their money on marketing to frat boys and hipsters, but just focus on the tequila. Something to consider when checking out the local liquor store’s selection, especially the sales (as you should), but remember to always get 100% agave tequila NO MATTER WHAT – that other crap, like Cuervo Gold, is freakin’ mixed with paint thinner or something, and – OK, I’ll go off on that sub-swill another time… By the way, in these mid-to-lower end tequilas, I usually go with their Reposados or Anejos. Though I love a good Blanco, in the cheaper stuff Blancos can be a little harsh.

Do two parts tequila, one part triple sec. That’s half your marg.

Triple Sec: cheap stuff

I go cheap on the Triple Sec. DeKuyper, Hiram Walker, whatever. On special occasions – say, double episode of Cops on TV – I go big and use Cointreau, but it’s way pricey. When using really good tequila, skip the Triple Sec all together. With the 30-30, I usually keep it in.

Again, two parts tequila, one part triple sec. That’s half your marg. The other half:

Mix: Minute Maid Limeade mix and Water

Remember, NEVER use sours mix. My god, that stuff blows. The best quick mix is 1 part Minute Maid Limeade, 2 parts water. This is 50% of your marg. Using real limes, freshly squeezed, with simple syrup, makes a splendid mix, but that requires work. And after one of Connie’s ATC training sessions, you’re already worked. We’re climbers, after all, and so sometimes ya just gotta get ‘er done. For those wanting to up the quality, use the fresh limes mix from this post.

Key tip: Add a splash of OJ.

A couple of things to remember, because it can’t be stated enough:

-Real men don’t drink blended margs. On the rocks, with salt.

-Shaken, not stirred.

– I really shouldn’t have to state this, but – no umbrella.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

14 thoughts on “Marg Recipe: The ATC 30-30

  1. Hey kelly, Uri (the other marg addict) here. How are you doing? How’s that leg?
    I have to comment on the 30-30… while it’s definitely than the cheap Cuervo, you can still get a better value out of Hornitos… I think…
    Having said that, the limeade mix is WAY better than the ultra cheap cuervo marg mix…
    Man, stay healthy and speedy recovery!

  2. I am a Hornitos drinking mutha fucka, on rocks with lime juice and the grand. I heard about your accident and found your blog, I wish you a successful recovery Kelly. I am hangin in SLC this winter, either way I thought I would say hello and best wishes.
    Paul “Pablo” Stein

  3. thanks, guys. doing well here, surgery wed. now that the swelling has subsided, my fibula (broken clean across; the tibia-turned-to-dust is the problematic fracture) keeps popping back and forth damned near every time i breathe, which doesn’t hurt but wiggs me out so much i can’t sleep. must drink more margs. speaking of which, i’d have to agree with you guys on Hornitos (glad you’re still digging the mix, Uri; and, Pablo, I can just see you speaking that first line of your post — cracks me up and makes me smile, you’re a character, thanks!). but since i’ve already done a Hornitos post, I gotta come up with something! since i enjoy trying different tequilas, i figure i’ll turn all the different ones into random, rambling blog posts. hey, don’t tell me i’ve got nothing to do, baby.
    cheers guys,

  4. i’m off to aquire some of this hornitos you’ve mentioned. marg’s have been so used in your well wishes that i had to make a point not to refer to them whatsoever. but you’ve finally broken me down. thank the good lord! it means i’ll get my lazy ass off the couch, get the dog out (instead of burning holes in me with his eyes of desperate hate!) and brave the temperate rain forest downpour for a quick nordi/water ski to round out the mission.

  5. Kelly, just stumbled on your blog. Bummer about your leg. I’m still dealing with the aftermath of a shattered tib-fib-ankle from a tele skiing accident at Squaw a year ago. Just had surgery (my third) on Tuesday to correct my two big toes. They’d developed a claw toe condition from tendon shortening or Compartment’s Syndrome or something. Hopefully this (and pulling the temporary pin from my big toe in 4-6 weeks) is the last thing I have to deal with. If the doc speaks the truth, I should be good to go for spring touring season. Ti rod is still down my tib, and is likely to stay there for a while.

    Keep your head up man. There are a lot of things in life to be thankful for (as you know). I’m stoked that I didn’t do any spinal damage, considering the speed at which I was cartwheeling.

    Loving the writing. I’ve been shuffling my gear lineup around for the past few months, and I enjoy your musings.


  6. By the way, post your x-rays up when all is said and done, if you don’t mind. I’m curious to see what they look like.

    I’ve got some of mine uploaded in a thread on the TGR forums. Fairly gnarly-looking, in my opinion.

    • thanks much, Colin, and so sorry to hear about your crash. damn, life happens, eh? sounds like you’re well on your way to getting back, though. indeed, will post ’em up when i get a chance. good idea. yours are gnarly! here’s the link (which i plucked from your blog, assuming you don’t mind) for anyone interested:

      we should get Wayne (Crill) and the Hankster (Caylor) to post some of their carnage. Not to mention Chris Klinga (and all those guys have been super helpful to me — thanks guys).

  7. Kelly,

    Just coming off of a couple Pueblo Viejo and Grand Marnier margs. Give that one a try sometime. Try using a muddler to grind up some fresh lime and maybe some orange to get some pulp in there.

    Sorry to hear about your injury. I want to wish you well. Good luck with your upcoming surgury.

    • Hi Marty — nope, not me. Is that like where people learn to drive trucks and buses and things like that? My god, I fear I’d be a freakin’ disaster! It’d be a helluva step up from my Honda hatchback, though it is fun to think that there could be an 18-wheeler driver out there by the same name!

  8. No, underwater type stuff. Went to school with a guy same name as you and from Colorado no less. Lost track of him then I ended up climbing for about 14 yrs. Anyhow, thought I would check. Sorry about the injury man, hope you heal up fast.

    • Ah, diving (as you wrote), not driving! I should learn to read. Wow, pretty cool coincidence. Thanks a bunch for the good wishes. Take care.

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