Crag Diet

Imagine this1: You are at a beautiful limestone crag surrounded by trees that are interwoven with streams, babbling brooks and small waterfalls at every turn.  When you make it to the wall and climb to the top you are rewarded with pristine views of a not so distant river sparkling with rays of light that cast a copper glow throughout the atmosphere.  You breathe in the fresh crisp air and try not to let the excitement of the climb outweigh the magnificence of the vistas.  After you are lowered to the ground, you are surrounded by friends who share the appreciation of the moment and understand what it is to savor life’s small victories.  You reach into your pack to pull out an array of cheeses, breads, fruits, nuts, and a locally produced bottiglia di vino.  An epicurean charcuterie awaits as evening falls, and the symphony of crickets play in the background of a dining experience that no 5 Star restaurant could ever come close to capturing.  You and your closest friends exchange stories synchronously with the conception of a whole new batch of memories of which you were completely unaware.  You lay beneath the stars on a night so clear that you can’t help but feel connected to every star in the galaxy.  The warmth of the fire and the crackling of the logs are the only lullaby you need as you fall asleep for the night. 

This sounds perfect, there’s only one problem…it’s the epicurean charcuterie.  Everything about this image is typical of nearly every climbing excursion I’ve ever been on.  Everything except the epicurean charcuterie. 

My typical epicurean charcuterie consists of no cheese, or nuts, or vino, or bread.  My typical epicurean charcuterie is a cold can of Spaghetti O’s, a bag of Animal Crackers, a jar of peanut butter, and two bottles of cucumber Gatorade.  

This is not an exaggeration.  That’s my crag diet, and while it doesn’t dimmish otherwise perfect climbing trips, it is clearly the weak spot of the image painted above.

The pros of this diet are that it’s cheap, quick, and portable.  The cons of this diet are that it’s very difficult to convince oneself that any meal centering around Spaghetti O’s and Animal Crackers is an epicurean charcuterie.  And I would love an epicurean charcuterie while climbing and camping.  I know it’s been done; I have seen it thrice with my own eyes…some people have camping down to an artform, I mean Michelin level!  

But sadly, that is not me.

And so I would love your help, and I’ll offer a couple options if you are interested.

Option A) Join theDIHEDRAL on a climbing trip embracing the role of epicurean charcuterie chef.

Option B) Share your tips for a proper crag/trail diet or dinner or snack.  Whatever you’re eating has to be better than what I’m eating.  Please help!

Carrot (Writer)
  1. Of course, this leaves out the mosquitos, the humidity, the fire ants, the exhaustion, the dehydration, the low blood sugar, the heatstroke, and the migraines that sometimes accompany a climbing trip with your friends.  But that stuff is easily forgotten and completely beside the point!

21 Replies to “Crag Diet”

  1. Some kind of tasty cookies.
    Cups of diced peaches in syrup.
    Babybel cheese balls
    Individually packaged SPAM slices

    That is pretty much my trail lunch anywhere I go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I say, take the charcuterie list you mentioned. No edits. Just bubble wrap the vino bottle, and it won’t be a glass hazard in your pack — screw top even better.

    Kinda like at Burning Man, all barter. The only “food” I brought for 11 days was 4 cases of Malbec, 3 cases of Carmenere, and 30 thick Porterhouse steaks ice-packed in a cooler. I had wine every night, and steaks only 3 times. You’d be amazed at the barter value of 2 steaks and a bottle of wine in the desert. I traded for all the serendipity food I wanted every day. Doodicus. Take the good stuff. C-rations on the mountain suck, and they demean the visceral vistas experienced during the day, I say celebrate that stuff with a FEAST. Heck, olive oil in a tupperware and some tin foil, and over the fire you can sautee all the veggies and steak sliced thin off to rockin’ to dial into gourmet evening breakfast burritos… or, sky’s the limit what you can do with it. Of course my “spatula” is 4″ wide x 10″ long and has cheese grater slots in the middle and a serrated knife edge on one side. It’s like a whole set of kitchen tools in one. “Hey Man, want some sliced Romano and toasted pine nuts with a lemon juice-olive oil glaze on arugula on that hot dog? Oh, can I borrow your mustard?” 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I was hiking in the Laguna Mtns. in CA one afternoon and found once hanging from a tree. Someone had dropped it! Probably felt intense regret…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hey, Leave No Trace sometimes has its advantages. “Oh, look at this. I must pack it out. Wait! It’s a wonderful Malbec still wonderfully good. Well, guess I’ll pack out the container.” 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This is who i climb with back in Australia. He pull out a different and normally fancy Whisky after each adventure. and after a drink we decide we cant drive home so we are stuck camping in the mountains for the night. So the fire is lit and everyone relaxes in for a lovely night.

    If international flights were available then i would love to come out on a trip and cook up a feast. My missus lets me help cook when we are at home. But i take over once out on the trail. Our recent feast was Blue Cheese and Walnut Ravioli. Made on day 4 of a 5 day hike. My favourite go to is Mac and Cheese variations made with fancy cheese, a few chilli’s and a good quality chorizo. Then either mushrooms or capsicum put in there too. And if you have a group who need snacks but cant wait for dinner then grill up some Halloumi cheese and drizzle it with Lemon Juice. Then everyone will love you. Just make sure you bring enough so the cook can get some too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, yes. Ever wonder why sports teams dump Gatorade over the coach’s head after a victory? That’s the only thing Gatorade is good for. (Cucumber flavor? I didn’t know they had flavors…I thought they were just different colors to make you think salted sugar water had a flavor. I’ll take the bile green; no, I’ll have the not-like-anything-in-the-real-world blue.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cucumber is the only Gatorade flavor that actually tastes like what it’s called – the rest are, as you say, oddly flavored sugary electrolytes. Switched to Nuun a while back – electrolytes, no sugar, and a taste like soaked socks. But, dissolved in a reusable water bottle, they do the job on hot days. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sorry. I’d still want the charcuterie spread with red wine (you can get a nice little carrier I’m sure)…I’d like a proper wine glass to but due to the nature of travel I’ll accept a coffee cup. How hard can it be to take a hunk a cheese, some pickles, sliced meats, and crackers….oh don’t forget the pumpkin seeds and pecans….so yummy.
    you could spread it on a rock….take a picture you may start a new trend and could call it rockrooterie…..yeah…umm…yeah.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. haha….glad you’re accepting of my palate needs–whether on a rock, a hunk a wood, or a five star restaurant.

        Liked by 1 person

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