A Climbing Chain Letter

By George Bell (gibell@comcast.net)
Written October 1994

This humerous "belay slave chain letter" was posted anonymously to rec.climbing in 1993 and again in 1994. Time for true confessions, the poster was me! I don't believe anyone ever figured that out.

The people in "The List" were anagrams of frequent posters to rec.climbing back then. The third column (not included in the original note) shows the real name of that poster. Through my anonymous mailbox, I received many "Har har ..." responses, a couple of people even figured out the anagrams. A few people had taken the post seriously and told me I was full of it (in much more descriptive terms).

I decided to fess up after reading John Sherman's book Sherman Exposed: Slightly Censored Climbing Stories, which contains another (much funnier) climbing chain letter. The book has been banned by REI (why?), check it out!

From: Mr. HardMan

Dear Friend,

A year ago I was a 300 lb slob, living out of a cardboard box and struggling up 4th class sport climbs. I hadn't a dime-sized edge to my name! I'd lost more climbing partners than I could count, but I swear none of the accidents were my fault - I can't help it if I have a very short attention span when it comes to belaying!

Now I am a ROCK STAHR - I regularly flash 5.14, and compete at the international level. My lean frame fits inside the narrowest of squeeze chimneys (and I'd climb them if only my gigantic ego would fit as well). I have risen well above such earthly chores as belaying and can devote my full energies to tasks such as defining the future of climbing. I own a house on every continent each with two acres of climbing walls and enjoy training sessions orchestrated by an arsenal of 25 specialists who oversee every phase of my athletic development.

How did I make this incredible transition? Well, I responded to a letter like this, never guessing the enormous impact it would have on my life. Don't believe anyone who tells you climbing is all hard work, nothing could be farther from the truth! Here's how it works:

  1. Call the person at the top of the list, and offer your services to belay them for a day. No matter how grungy the route, how long the approach, or how heinous the deeds he/she orders you to perform, DO IT! Bring your helmet and plenty of protection.
  2. Cross off the top name and add your own to the end. Then make six copies of this letter and send it to your climbing buddies. If you are feeling nice today, send it to your six worst enemies.

If the belay-slave-chain goes unbroken you will, in a matter of weeks, receive 3,587,949,402,467,446 calls from people begging to belay you! Your abilities will skyrocket! Everyone will hate you, but so what? You'll be leading 5.14 like me, what do you care?

IF YOU BREAK THE BELAY-SLAVE-CHAIN, YOU RISK CERTAIN DEATH OR WORSE! Why half my old partners broke this chain, and that's probably why they're all history!

The list:

Enemy Guinea         Nasty Aim Research Center             Eugene Miya
Iris Retch           University of Washing Tom             Eric Hirst
Lord Egg-Pan         Honeybear Technologies                Greg Opland
Sir Ten Severe       PMS Institute                         Steven Reiser
Lean Slanderson      Universe City of Ootah                Allen Sanderson
Tanya Z. Wyner       Cairn Bashers Anonymous               Wayne Trzyna
Real Fungus          Academic Obfuscation Technologies     Rufus Nagel
Henry J. Snob        Howling Peckers Company               John Byrnes
Nun Nausea Z. Slop   National Center of Asinine Research   Suzanne Paulson
Baron Bon Girth      Universe of Tooksan                   Bob Harrington
Lord Lawn Aster      Low-Tek Distributed Stimulation       Rolland Waters
Eleg O. Gerbil       US Worst Technologies                 George I. Bell
Norm Fief-Jostle     Howling Peckers Company               Jeff (Mort) Elison
Aunt Q. Lung Guano   Berzerker Robot Lab                   Quang-Tuan Luong
Huber Rancid Blend   Something Under Not                   Bruce Hildenbrand
Nich Dire Stem       Honeybear Technologies                Tim Schneider
Les C. Yodels        Rancid Coke Magazine                  Clyde Soles
Horse Dickey Balm    Outtel Corp                           Michael Brodesky
Big W. Thrill        Trip Reports R Us                     Bill Wright
Baby Born Hunt       Purdy University                      Anthony R Bubb
OJ Mothnorn          Californy Fornication Machine Shop    John Morton
G. Heroin Shrug      Fudge Inc Down Under                  Hugh Grierson

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