Posted on: June 1, 2008

The grapefruit dance The 1980s were the years of Spandex tights, bolt wars and calorie restriction, all swirled together in a low-blood-sugar stew of clinical anorexics climbing over-bolted routes on glued-together cliffs. I was a proud, Lycra-clad member of this society in 1988 or so, heavily under the influence of Dale Goddard, who was built like a race-ready whippet. Dale convinced me to live on rice cakes and protein powder, but even on this diet I was still thirty pounds heavier than he was. To succeed on my project, a new route in the Garden of the Gods, I’d need to take more severe measures.

Then I saw an article about the “Amazing Grapefruit Diet,” and I coincidentally noticed that a forty-pound bag of grapefruit was on sale for less than a bottle of protein powder. After only a couple of days, the results were impressive: I could barely walk, much less climb, but my head felt so light it spun easily. Unfortunately, I had the finger strength of a fish, and trying to flop my way up the rock led only to repeated failure.

I finally lost my resolve and stopped at Denny’s for whatever it was they called the Grand Slam back then. Colors returned to the world, music sounded better, my girlfriend looked relieved, and a few hours later I sent the Grapefruit Dance with bacon in my belly. That was the last time I dieted for climbing. WILL GADD

To read the full text of this article, DOWNLOAD the digital issue in our app or BUY THE BACK ISSUE in our online store. Or even better, SUBSCRIBE to join our community and get this "coffee-table book masquerading as a magazine" (Lynn Hill) four times per year.