Climbing the Dirty Laundry Summit

Stopped around 4000 feet from Basecamp Dirty Sneakers, set up a tent for the night along some old, calcified tube socks. That’s around 900 feet from Camp Old Christmas Sweater. At this elevation, not having enough alcohol in your system can be dangerous. So I stop and down one of the spare bottles to keep my blood flowing. The climb up Mount Dirty Pile of Laundry located in the scenic Chris’ Bedroom in Queens has been hard but rewarding.

First discovered in 2017 by Chris’ then-roommate Don, Mount Dirty Pile of Laundry has stood as one of the definitive climbable heaps of clothing in the world. At least in comparison to Mount Brenda’s Pile of Bras and Mount Oil Rags in the back of the Garage. This morning the view of the sun peaking in through the window and onto the freshly laid t-shirts was breathtaking. There are cans and bottles littered everywhere, showing the path other climbers have taken in the past. They are the trails of travelers like me. I’m not ashamed to say I cried, although that might have just been the smell.

Today we climbed up the Swiss Staircase, a formation formed six months ago from old underwear. The naturally occurring holes in the fabric give climbers plenty of footholds. Upon reaching the top, we had reached two-thirds of the way up the pile, passed where Betty Wilson and her one drunken woman one-night stand expedition reached in 2018. Today, Camp Wilson sees dozens of climbers a year, while most tend to settle at the more conveniently situated Camp One Dirty Sock that Doesn’t Match Any of the Other Pairs.

There is much wildlife up here in the wild. From spiders and earwigs, to dust mites and dust bunnies, nature is thriving where humanity is seldom seen. Yesterday, I saw a rare snow leopard moth on the north side of the mountain overlooking the ridge. It was eating the remains of a 2008 Coldplay tour shirt that must have split off from the rest of its herd. The creature took its time, unspooling thread after thread from the out-of-date and unfashionable piece of clothing, savoring what must have been years of sweat and dust collected in the fibers. One of the more inexperienced climbers in our party tried to take a picture of the animal. Unfortunately, not having drunk enough for the trip, he stepped on a pair of jeans with some loose coins in the pocket and startle the beast. It immediately flew off to the east, tapping against a windowpane until our guide let it outside.

For a climber like me, a mountain is less of a place and more of an experience to drink beer along with. From the filthy base all the way to the snow-white tip, this monument of procrastination has stood the test of both time and girlfriends. And I hope that it stays for ages to come, if not for me but for future climbers looking to see the sun rest on a blanket of stained pillowcases. And until Chris’ mom decides to do her son laundry again, there is nothing to fear.

Jim Burdick is a Writer/Stand up Comic in New England with an MFA from Salve Regina University. He likes jokes and funny things. Also, he’s been published in Junto Magazine.

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