We’re Not Breaking Up

I swear it’s not you, it’s me…. I just, I just, I have a lot on my mind right now. Like climbing, drinking margaritas, climbing, a new bottle of Cabo Wabo Anejo, and some work. Priorities.


Professional athlete.


OK, that’s my slack ass apology for not posting in forever. Well, um, I’ve been writing regularly for someone else. Patagonia’s award-winning blog, The Cleanest Line. I just forgot to link this to that, because perhaps my sister was right about the effect of my new haircut (She goes: “Seriously, Kel, it makes you look mentally challenged”). This is sweet, I’m psyched. I make my living as a writer. I am not a “professional climber,” nor do I deserve to be. Yes, I have some sponsors, and I’m hugely grateful – nobody owes me shit for going climbing – but that’s not how I make my living. Momentary side rant: Michael Jordan was a professional athlete.


Not a professional athlete.


If you still live in your parents’ basement or in your truck, and earn less than a janitor for going climbing, you are not a professional climber. I’m talking being paid to climb; not paid to write, or to take photos, or to guide, or to work in a gear shop or have a paper route on the side (the kid – or pro climber – delivering your papers is not, for example, necessarily a journalist,). OK, now I’m laughing – that seemingly ubiquitous “pro climber” claim cracks me up like a scene from Waiting for Guffman. Anyway, my primary, meager living comes from writing and editing (and if you’re reading this drivel, you’re surely thinking like those folks who see modern art and go “my kid could do that”).

The Cleanest Line is awesome, but they wanted more climbing. Given my pathetically one-dimensional nature, it seems a good fit. I can blather-on endlessly about the wonderfully worthless world of climbing. Granted, for my TCL posts, I’ve had to tone down the f-bomb (fuck) and I probably won’t rant against other companies (like I did here, here, and here, for example), and my clown suit jokes probably won’t make the cut, either, but I can do such things here if I get the urge.


An obligatory, random climbing shot. It's from a route we climbed about 10 days ago -- was so psyched, given my leg. I've got a summer of recovery post coming (if I get around to it...).


What I want to do here is post updates about my TCL posts, like a little bit about the stories, maybe some stories behind the stories, and so on. We’ll see. Maybe I can at least remember to post a link when I do a TCL post — shit, I’ve been writing for TCL for two months now, and this my first update here. Oops. I hear a little voice: “Dude, if writing is your living, then you are quite possibly the worst businessman in the world.” True enough.

A couple of notes on some of my TCL posts:

• My most recent post: Going Up. It’s basically about desire and the secret to hard climbing. I’ve always thought of it in the alpine sense, and on my best alpine routes I’ve seen it in my partners: badasses like Jonny Copp, Scott DeCapio, Jim Earl, Colin Haley and Josh Wharton. I’m seeing it in other realms of climbing and in life as well, and will write more on the topic soon.

• The post before gave a sort of update on my recovery: Just a Five-Minute Run.

• Sometimes I’ll be TCL’s editorial voice introducing a climbing story, like in the three-part series about Tommy & crew’s China trip. Here’s part three, Tommy’s superb trip report.

• Yes, the margarita recipes are there. The good folks at Patagonia insisted on it. I’m like, “Really, you guys sure? I mean, I don’t drink many margaritas…” Here’s one (my opening post), and another. Reminds me, it’s about time for a new one.

• They’ve got my posts filed under my name, so if you’re suffering from insomnia and want to read them all, here you go: http://www.thecleanestline.com/kelly-cordes/

Hey, anybody ever see that Onion headline a few years back: Internet Outage Sends Nation Into Spurt of Productivity. Well, for all four of you who read my blog, so long as we don’t suffer an internet outage I’ll do my best to try to keep distracting you – if not here, then at least over at www.thecleanestline.com. Not that I’m trying to diminish productivity and bring you down to my level, no, no – I’m just all about spreading the love. It’s not me, it’s you.

14 thoughts on “We’re Not Breaking Up

  1. Three things:

    A) Keep posting here because some of us don’t like going to commercial blogs.

    B) You’re still an amateur on the margarita front.

    C) Your sister is right about the haircut.

    • Thanks, Clyde:

      A) OK. Will try my best. But I have climbing to do and:

      B) I am indeed a mere grasshopper on the marg front. Need to learn more, it takes time, I’m working on it. Just finished a training session (climbing), and will begin another round of marg training in a few. Ahhh, how I love the learning process.

      C) Dammit.

  2. KC, damn man! What’s with the haircut? Now that I think about it… I think the 80s might be coming back…

    I’ve been following your posts on the cleanest line, but since that one is a company blog I think you migt be a little hand tie on what you can write. I say, keep on writing here as well, you can spice it up dude!

    Don’t let people telling you bad things about tequila. It’s a virtuous drink. Enjoy the cabo man!

    • thanks Uri! hopefully i’ll be a little more frequent posting here — am trying hard to not succumb to OCS (old climber’s syndrome) where i just talk about climbing more than i do it — but, damn, i sure love going climbing. damn, where’s the time go? and, of course, add in some awesome tequila like the Cabo Wabo, and the time really disappears.
      p.s. let’s hear the tequila frankestein white russian recipe!

    • thanks Peter — damn, didn’t know you were reading. you must be the fifth. yukyukyuk.

      just read your superb article in Alpinist 32. loved it, and related to it in so many places — as i babbled about in an earlier post, back in Jan (a “media review” post of Alpinist 29), it seems to me that more writing should exist that brings out these moments and experiences on shorter climbs. maybe i’d just been missing the good writing on that aspect of the craft, but, regardless, i’m glad i got to read your piece. outstanding.

  3. Glad to see you around again. I’m back in the Springs full time and climbing whenever. Give me a call if your coming this way. South Platte? Shelf Road?

  4. Dude. That haircut kills! You should score a surplus bus with a lift for transport. Your blog is one of my faves and the posts @ TCL are crucial as well… Really dug Just a Five Minute Run, btw.

    Ruling. Thanks for the Monday morning giggle-

    • thanks man! glad you’re digging it. like i’m digging my new look. the fucked-up thing is that, even though it started as a joke, i seriously like it.

      It’s not just a haircut, it’s a way of life.

  5. You’re absolutely right about the way of life-thing.
    At first the haircut made me think in the region Pritchard/Twight eigthies stylee. But then I looked again and my final conclusion is that it’s hard to age gracefully on the German rave scene.

Leave a Reply to Per Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s