Cedar Wright, American born climber, is in many ways the last of a dying breed.
Based out of his decade-old Saturn, Cedar prioritizes climbing over almost every other aspect of life itself. In pursuit of the constant climb, Cedar has given up any semblance of a normal existence. He doesn’t have a house, he doesn’t have a regular job, and his only companions are those sitting around the campfire with him. Unfortunately, this pool of companions seems to shrink and shrink each season, according to Wright.
In its heyday, living a Dirtbag* lifestyle in the back of a van among the mountains somewhere, was a much more popular alternative route from mainstream society. However, as this bubble of avid climbing dirtbags has aged over the past two decades, their propensity to continue living in survival mode has gotten old and unappealing. As such, the vast majority of these climbers have returned to the comfort of their homes and now only climb in their spare time, after work or on weekends.
This shift in the Dirtbag population hasn’t prevented Cedar Wright from continuing to commit fully to this lifestyle choice. He does remark that it can be more lonely to live in this way these days. Like any normal human being, Cedar knows all too well that successful climbs and inhuman feats are made all the more sweet when you’re able to share them with people who have the same passion for sheer rock face that you do.
So, what has led to this shift? The movement of becoming a Dirtbag climber was first popularized in the 1970s when gutsy climbers began setting records in Yosemite. Inspired by their successes, many young rock enthusiasts flocked to the park from all around the country. This lifestyle bonded together all of the fellow climbers and kept many on the scene longer than they initially intended to stay. However, like any popular trend, eventually it did die out and climbers from the world over slowly migrated back to offices and track homes. Cedar, however, aims to stay true to his craft by putting climbing before any and everything. Take a look at this interview he gives about what it is to be a Dirtbag climber in this day and age.
* Dirtbag (as defined by Urban Dictionary): A person who is committed to a given (usually extreme) lifestyle to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. Dirtbags can be distinguished from hippies by the fact that dirtbags have a specific reason for their living communally and generally non-hygienically; dirtbags are seeking to spend all of their moments pursuing their lifestyle
The best examples of dirtbags and dirt-bagging are the communities of climbers that can be found in any of the major climbing areas of North America--Squamish, BC; Yosemite, CA; Joshua Tree, CA; etc.