(Quick note: this post was originally a quick rant for my climber friends on Facebook, but has since gotten much more exposure than that. I’m leaving it in it’s original form for historical reasons, but keep in mind–the sarcasm is heavy. The hyperbole is there to make a point. I hope it starts and continues good discussions about do/don’t at the crag.
One topic that was discussed heavily in the comments was how a kid said you shouldn’t rappel from sport anchors. I was against that idea at the time, but have since come around to the bight-through-the-rings lowering method, since it is safer as you always have a backup. I talked through the rappelling vs lowering topic here if you’d like to read that: Rappelling vs Lowering: A Semi-Scientific Study.
This last weekend at the New River Gorge, I had one incredibly frustrating day.
I went with some newer climbers, so we chose a popular wall for beginners: Orange Oswald at Summersville Lake. It was the weekend of the Craggin’ Classic, so I expected the place to be crowded and full of newbies (as is normal), but it exceeded my expectations. I’ll briefly describe the three things that happened:
1) The “Facebook Climbers”
The first thing I saw when I arrived was a large group at the base of some popular 5.9s, with hammocks set up and gear strewn about. Not uncommon, and I was not surprised. We proceeded to warm up, with plans of hopping on these 5.9s afterwards. After three warm up climbs (Hippie Dreams, the 5.6 corner and Fabulous Groupies), the group hadn’t moved, and didn’t seem to be in any hurry to do so. We asked them how long they’d be, but they never gave much of an answer, apparently content to hog that section of the cliff all day.
Not only were they slowly letting all 8 people in their group on each climb, but this was happening:
One dude thought it would be cool if he set up his hammock ON THE WALL. It took him about 30 minutes to set up, taking up two routes, with apparently no thought of other people wanting to get on these incredibly popular routes. The best part was, he kept saying “Does this look cool??” and “Oh man I wish we could take a picture from above, that would be so much better!”. A few adjacent parties cheered him on, most shook their heads.
On top of this, multiples times, one guy would go up one rope with a camera and take staged, “bad-ass” shots of another dude…on toprope. They would proceed to pretend one guy was reallllly reaching out for….a jug, or throwing some unnecessary heel hook, all while wearing a backwards hat and those sunglasses with some obnoxious neon-colored ear pieces. The presence of multiple sports-bra-laden lady friends did not discourage this behavior.
This group I dub The “Facebook Climbers”, as the apparent goal of the trip was to look cool and to take pictures. It was apparently many of the group’s first time climbing outside, although they had spent plenty of time in the gym.
2) The Rock Throwers
This group got us pretty angry, so we moved down and got on a 10a and a 8 crack on the other side of the wall. After a couple hours, I calmed down and thought the ridiculousness was over. Not so.
This same group had migrated to the lake front, where some swam across the river in the path of many speeding boats, some simply lay in the sun, and a number of them started to throw large rocks into the water. Fine by me for a couple minutes, but it went on for an hour.
College age kids throwing rocks is not uncommon or wrong, so I thought nothing of it. The problem was, there was a visiting group from (what I remember was) a Pennsylvania rock climbing gym, complete with children down to age ~10. The group was comprised of climbing team members and their parents. They were not newbies (one little girl was apparently 4th in the nation), but they apparently had little experience with being outside, and acted like it. The children joined in with the rock throwing, and not much later, one had bashed another in the head. One of the parents luckily had a first aid kit, and wrapped the kid’s head in bandages, which quickly bled through. He ended up with 2 staples in his head, we later heard.
These kids are dubbed The Rock Throwers, for obvious reasons. The little girl that threw the rock was really sweet and very upset when she realized what happened, so I do not blame her. I blame the ones who started throwing the rocks, and the parents who said nothing.
3) The “Global Warming Kid”
I thought, “Surely, this must be the end of this craziness”, but there was one final act that enraged me.
At one point in the middle of the day, a parent was lowering her kid off a route after the kid had cleaned it. I’m pretty mindful of these things, so we asked her if she was lowering through the rings. She, oblivious, said she was and asked why. A brief, civil lesson was taught, and we thought we had educated one more group. Rejoice!
Once again, this was not the end. A couple hours later, post-hammock and -rock-assault, the same thing happened–a kid was being lowered after cleaning. I once again asked if they were lowering through the rings, and got another baffled question was to why. Apparently, the kid didn’t even KNOW HOW to rappel, much less know that you SHOULD.
At this point, I was pretty upset. I said some things along the lines of “How do you not know this?” and “How can you think that is okay?”, hopefully driving home the seriousness of their negligence. Only to be rebutted by this kid:
Get this–he proceeded to tell me why you should lower through the rings, saying things like “they’re easy to replace” and “they replace them more than you think”. He was almost avoiding my eye contact as he was speaking, seemingly instantly shameful of what he was saying. I was pretty shocked. After telling him how they’re supposed to last 30 years, I basically walked away.
I would venture to guess that this kid does not come out and replace the bolts himself, nor does he even have a loose understanding of what that kind of work takes. Nor does he know that the majority of this work is done by volunteers who have full time jobs and kids, and that they wouldn’t have to do it as often if every climber would take 30 extra seconds and pull the ropes up and rappel instead of lowering (post-script: not to mention the fact that it’s dangerous to have an extra person in the system like this https://rockandice.com/climbing-accidents/belayer-drops-climber-70-feet-to-ground/).
I would guess that, being a member of the climbing team at whatever gym it was, where his Mom pays for his membership and he doesn’t have a job, he doesn’t know the value of a hard day’s work. Maybe that’s why it was such a little deal to him. But, he couldn’t be reasoned with. After all, he was busy LOUDLY talking about how “damn hard Apollo is”…
His reasoning that “it doesn’t affect me” and “someone else will deal with it” gives him his name, the “Global Warming Kid”. He’s the kind of person who litters and doesn’t care about global warming, because he’ll be dead by the time it matters.
What Can We Learn From This?
It’s too easy for people to go to their local climbing gym, buy their own gear, hangdog up a 5.9 and decide they’re ready to go outside. Even worse, if they are young enough and jobless enough to climb 5.12+ in the gym within a couple years, they probably think they are better than everyone else and the rules don’t apply to them. Not every gym climber does this stuff, but that climbers who “grow up” exclusively in the gym tend to be less considerate/aware.
I’d love to see all the major climbing gyms starting to host “How Outside Climbing is Different Than the Gym” classes. It would take 30 minutes to go over rock throwing, not setting up your hammock on the wall, not staying on a single route all day at a really popular crag, and–at the very least–respect for the maintenance of our crags. For the climbing teams, it should be mandatory, since those kids have the worst case of entitlement.
Completion of this class (possibly followed by a written exam) would win you a card, like the badges CIA agents use to get into secure locations. All crags would have locking gates, and access would only be allowed if you showed your card and beeped your way past the gate. I understand the extra work this would require, and I hereby volunteer myself for the task.
Just once I want to go to a popular crag and not have to deal with some BS. After Roadside at the Red was closed down and more news about reckless climbers coming out all the time, isn’t it time to start some kind of education or enforcement plan?
Anyways, that’s my two cents. I encourage you to leave a comment here or reach out to me at my Facebook or Twitter pages if you’d like to express your opinion. Keep your eye out for a sweet post about how to train for next season (with excel doc to track progress) coming soon…(edit: that post is here and the training doc is here!)
Thanks for reading.
This post just makes you seem like an arrogant pretentious douchebag. You must be a pro.
I’M the douchebag of this story? I would disagree. Maybe you’re confusing sarcasm and being pissed off with arrogance?
I’d love to hear your opinion as to why you think that. Maybe not under an Anonymous username this time?
chill out says
Many prefer to Lower, as It’s arguably both faster and safer. Just take a chill pill and keep climbing. I must ask you, do YOU replace the bolts yourself? You seem to be pretty irritated at the kid following a safer practice when it’s pretty unlikely that you even developed the crag yourself. At sport crags lowering is OK, toproping through the fixed hardware is not.
No, I don’t replace them, which is why I try to damage them as little as possible. If a route is not overhanging and does not traverse, one should rap. I don’t think that’s a grey area.
Eat A Bag of Dicks says
it’s not a gray area
The last person should lower on the rings.
The AMGA and AAI are both on board with this.
The kid was right
Lee Kennedy says
Congratulations! You found a post that is 10 years old and posted the equivalent of “you’re wrong, that’s how it is now”. Well, you’re right and I agree (now), but you missed the point.
In reply to “Chill out”? No, I’m with this guy Lee. Seriously, do YOU replace the bolts? Taking the opinion of it’s someone else’s job, or it’s not your original work, makes you look like you’re acknowledging your idiotic abilities, since it doesn’t matter who placed the bolts there in the first place. Regardless of reason, whoever put them there in the first place would certainly like their hard work to be respected. Lee just wants to be able to use these walls for a long time. I’m not an outdoor climber, but I’d be pissed if someone started using a pick axe at the gym wall because they want to practice ice climbing. It’s called respect, and you proved his point, and validated his frustration.
Not the same person who commented above, but you do sound arrogant. Like you know more than everyone else and only people with your level of knowledge should be allowed into the crag.
So hastily you forget that, at one time, you were a noob. How did you learn? You went to the crag, you were taught by those more knowledgeable. You took social queues and learned how the crag is to be respected.
Instead of proposing a enfocement, why not offer to teach classes at the cragging classic. It would be a ton cheaper and you can highlight all of these concerns with noobs. Or suggest that more knowledgeable people go to the crag during those peak times, this would show the noobs what proper behavior should be.
I agree that behavior is unexceptable, but I think your fix will not help. It will just make the climbing community seem like a bunch of arrogant pricks and not like a friendly group.
I’m sorry it came off that way to you. I was a noob once, but I was a considerate noob.
The enforcement suggestion was sarcasm/hyperbole, I think education would be the best route. I wonder if an ‘etiquette’ class would actually work, or if it would just get lambasted (like this post did)…it’s a good thought I might look into that.
Thanks for the comment.
“Just once I want to go to a popular crag and not have to deal with some BS” and I want to go to Disney and not have to deal with crowds, good luck! If it is a popular crag then there are going to be people and you may have to wait. You’re writing as if you are such an elitist that anyone not at your skill level should be honored to be in your presence and let you go by. Did you actually ask the large group if you could climb through or just keep it to yourself and grumble?
Dear god I hope the suggestion of gates around crags was sarcasm (albeit poorly conveyed).
Pesky kids throwing rocks and having fun! Get off my lawn!
I won’t go so far as to call you elitist. However, you said yourself they are popular routes. I’m not sure what you expected to see. I really feel like you should have said something to someone… especially when people were no longer being respectful of others. Climbing isn’t about getting angry, anyway. A kind word of encouragement followed with a suggestion to share the wall would have given you ample opportunity to lead by example. Keep up the good work on the blog.
Thanks Louis. I guess I expected less rudeness–we did ask the group how long they were going to be on the climbs and simply moved on.
Dangerous sport ~= Rock Climbing. At a cliff people need to take things seriously. Misuse of permanent protection endangers other climbers. Through rocks off or around a cliff endangers any one around the cliff.
Yes you have to wait for people to at cliff just like Disney world but you don’t have to wait while they set up a hammock in a space mountain cart and use the ride 10 times in a row.
I agree Carl–my point exactly. Crowds is one thing, disrespect is another.
Jacob B says
Hey, he didn’t say anything about “skill level” as you seem to think. It takes a certain amount of knowhow combined with at least an understanding of what ethics are to climb outdoors. These people demonstrated neither and honestly I would not welcome them at the crag. If you don’t understand how to rappel then you have no business cleaning a route, end of story.
Jacob–I didn’t think I said anything about skill level either..
There is undeniably an outdoor-climbing etiquette among climbers, including safety and respect; setting up hammocks between to routes on the cliff face is certainly nether safe nor respectful.
My only thought is hoping the author said something to these rapscallions, even if in passing. Climbing is dangerous, and the culture/techniques that are common with today’s experienced crowd are clearly working to keep people safe.
I know. I did say something, and then moved on.
obvious troll is obvious
Multiple people, myself included, asked the group how long they would be on the climb, mentioning how popular it was and how other people wanted to get on it.
Do you really think I was serious about adding gates around crags? Are you kidding?
To counter your initial argument, does the staff at Disney let people stay on a ride for multiple runs during a busy day? Absolutely not. It would be one thing if the party got off the route and let the line of others climb it but they hogged it to themselves. I was once too an inexperienced climber but at least I was never completely neglectful of decent etiquette. However, regarding the lowering debate, I know at places like the Red they actually encourage you to lower off the rings when finished with a route. Just TR off your own gear.
Another Anonymous Climber says
1. Being anonymous doesn’t change an argument. Anonymous internetting has been around long enough that it doesn’t change much about how people comment. Idiots act as idiots, and normal people say what they feel instead of how they want people to see them. Deal with it.
2. Some of those things were irritating, but your attempts at sarcasm/witticisms fell short and left your blog post reading like just another bitter person who decided to do a what’s wrong with my activity post to try to get some people to read their blog.
3. I lower off rings. A lot of people lower off rings. They take friction when people rap and pull ropes (obviously not nearly as much), and local climbers and climbing coalitions replace them periodically. It’s why the responsible among us donate to our local access chapters and frequent shops that support local bolters and maintainers. If the FA team didn’t want people lowering off rings, they’d put in something other than rings (as happens at many crags.
4. You’d probably have more fun if you didn’t let yourself be so bothered by other people.
5. Who needs anything below 5.11 to warm up on? Work harder and you’ll have more route options open to you.
6. Blaming climbing gyms is just lazy. If you’ve every mentioned climbing to anyone or introduced anyone to it, you’re higher on the disease chain than the people irritating you. They just started, but YOU got people into it. Or is it only okay if they do it the RIGHT way as dictated by your cadre?
7. What’s wrong with you that you can’t go ask people not to throw rocks? I’ve explained the issue/danger to people many times and although they often feel sheepish and embarrassed, they understand the safety concern every time. By not asking them to stop you’re equally to blame.
8. Blaming youth is worse than blaming climbing gyms. Most kids I knew when I started climbing were very responsible. I was a responsible young climber. Idiots come in all ages.
That’s all I have at the moment. Your sense of entitlement here is a little too strong, and rather than doing something about it (ie: offering to do some Intro to Outside Climbing Ethics classes at your gym, avoiding busy crags on busy days, or spending more time educating people at the crag), you want to complain on the internet. I think it’s dumb.
Ill give a couple opinions here:
Rings are there to make anchor setups easier, not to be used when lowering. You could slowly destroy them and then donate to the replacers, or you could just not destroy them and take an extra 15 seconds to pull the rope up and rap. Overhanging/traversing routes are different, but I think you can rap in most cases.
#5 was just stupid.
I’m not blaming the gyms, I’m blaming those who are “raised” in gyms and then think they are fully suited to go outside. In this case, this isn’t MY way of doing it, it’s the blatant RIGHT way of doing it. That’s just my opinion, and you’re welcome to have yours.
I didn’t feel like messing with the kids throwing rocks. Not my job to police everyone–they should know not to do that around little kids. Not sure how I’M to blame here..
I called him a “kid” because of how he acted. He was old enough to know the difference.
I posted this as a response to a discussion online, and I’m perfectly willing to do something about it. It is possible that this discussion will help cause something to be done (it’s not just empty complaining), too.
While parts were unnecessary, I appreciate the comments. Love a good discussion.
@Another Anonymous Climber — Thank you. I think you make valid points. While I understand and agree with some of what the poster has to say (hey, I would have been frustrated too!), the way you presented your frustrations in your blog post, Lee, just made you seem elitist and self-entitled.
Yeah, I’m one of those who grew up in a city, discovered climbing and “grew up” in a climbing gym. I guess I must not be as intellectually adequate to grasp the concept of outdoor climbing (?). I feel it’s attitudes like yours that diminish the sport. I love that it’s catching on (there’s plenty of rock to go around) and I’m with you on the fact that climbers — noob and experienced — need to be responsible and respectful. Though, respect shouldn’t be confused with elitism.
I believe one can educate, even if being constructively critical and then there’s preaching. No one likes an elitist climber on their high horse.
Most people can be receptive to friendly open education. At least, in my experiences…I’ve always been open to friendly climbers who politely tell me if I’m doing something wrong.
Lee Kennedy says
There are a number of places where I say this in the post and comments (like at the very beginning of the post itself), but I’ll say it again–I understand that it came off poorly. I’m leaving it in the original form for historical purposes. It was supposed to be a sarcastic rant. I’m sorry if that offended you.
Unfortunately, what I’ve found is that a lot of people aren’t receptive to feedback. Like the one guy I talked about at the end. I hope that changes, and I’m glad you are. Cheers.
Thomas Oak says
The thing is, instead of just grumbling about it and writing a blog post condemning a whole subtype of climbers, you could have just told the people politely what they were doing wrong.
We told the hammock-ers they were hogging the climbs, but I didn’t say anything to the rock throwers because I didn’t think it would escalate to injury. Funny how this is somehow my fault? If I went around policing everything that was wrong, I wouldn’t get to climb anything.
Did I say anywhere that I did NOT say anything to them? A lot of people are apparently assuming so with no evidence…
Completely agree with your article.
I’ve not been climbing outside long but have been lucky enough to have experienced friends that have taught me the ins and outs of outdoor climbing however I think a lot of it is common sense and maturity and just being conscious of other people around you.
I think having a ‘introduction to outdoor climbing’ class in climbing centres would be a great idea or alternatively people could just read a book on outdoor climbing.
Thanks Mike. I think you’re right–this is less an issue of what people do when they climb and more how they treat other people, in my opinion.
You feel better?
I would feel better if so many people hadn’t agreed with troublemakers..
Agree wholeheartedly with all your points. Some simple conscientiousness and respect is all it takes, and would go a long way to improve the outdoor climbing experience for all. It’s unfortunate that climbing’s increasing popularity and accessibility has led to plenty of people filling the crags who simply aren’t ready for it
Thanks, Thomas. These are the issues with the sport increasing in popularity, I suppose.
Sounds like you struck home with that guy. I don’t venture to sport crags really, but thanks for reminding me why I don’t. Good luck to you! Great read and I 100% get where you’re coming from.
” You’re writing as if you are such an elitist that anyone not at your skill level should be honored to be in your presence and let you go by.” I don’t think that is really how it was written. Essentially the author is saying he is pissed with people that block popular routes, that act like children despite being adults, and that abuse community hardware. To put it in other words, he got pissed at people behaving antisocially.
The thing people always say to these kind of stories about assholes at the crags, is “What do you expect?”. That always strikes me as a very low kind of response, because why should we have to expect that kind of shit behaviour from fellow climbers? Why are the bases of all the crags around here covered in shit and toilet paper, old barbecue kits and beer bottles? Why do we have to have so many angry property owners around popular crags because of all the shouting and littering that climbers do around those crags?
Why can’t we all be really nice cool climbers and not be dicks? It can’t be that hard, the trad guys manage to do it.
I appreciate it, Tomas. Perhaps I am idealist in that I think everyone could be really cool climbers and not be dicks, but I think it’s important to try.
Here are some quotes from Reddit’s r/climbing for you to read op:
“The good message that the author is trying to convey gets lost in the overwhelming arrogance and self-righteousness.”
“This writer seems like he has such a nice and cool personality, said no one ever. Seems like he has an arrogant I’m better than everyone else attitude.”
“TL;DR Lee Kennedy hates children. Are you really going to rip into a person you refer to as a “kid” about why he’s so ungrateful for the work that’s put into maintaining outdoor routes? It’s a kid. Of course he is. Kids are always ungrateful. Even his blog title is condescending, jesus.”
“I get the whole message, and I can agree to an extent, but it’s pretty awful that he’s lumping every gym-climber into the same category as regular douchebags.”
Get a life.
Good one, ANON! Very helpful.
The best education is mentorship. Offer to take new climbers under your wing. It is a rewarding experience and it makes you a more competent climber & leader. Most beginners who are making mistakes or show poor etiquette aren’t doing so to be rude. They simply haven’t been shown otherwise. (There are exceptions but I find if you approach most people kindly and offer your 2 cents they will be receptive to the advice). Having beginner courses is great as is having ethics rules in guidebooks, but they are just pieces of the entire puzzle.
Also, I find it hypocritical that you pass judgement on “throwing some unnecessary heel hook” and trying to look cool in photos when you have this photo on your facebook:
What’s the big deal about taking some cool photos to post on facebook. If I try an “extreme sport” for the first time (say sky diving) you are damn right I am going to post some photos on facebook. I would hope that the other hardcore skydivers who are jumping all the time don’t pass judgement on me as being a “Facebook Diver”.
Also, the ethic at MANY sport crags across North America is to lower through the fixed gear. It may not be the ethic at the RRG or that cliff in particular, but I think it is unfair to not acknowledge that this is the norm at a variety of crags nationwide. You made it sound as if it was an absolute faux pas when it is merely a local preference.
I enjoyed reading your 2 cents. Thanks.
Some very good points. Mentorship is an excellent way to learn these things, and most people probably don’t know the difference. That’s why it bothered me so much that the kid at the end argued against my suggestion.
I agree that taking pictures is irresistible when you first start (fyi, in the picture you posted, that was a mandatory two hand/toe match to reach the other side of the arch), but the point I was making was the “unnecessary” part of it, which just added to the time they were taking on the climb.
I don’t think I said this should be done nationwide–but I do think it should be done at a vertical, non-traversing climb at the NRG. I don’t see how that can be disputed…it takes an extra 15 seconds and you save some volunteer the time it takes to replace the gear!
Thanks for your comments. This is exactly the kind of discussion I wanted, whether you agree with me or not. Thanks for being civil!
Hello. I’m fairly new to climbing, and am really enthusiastic about the sport. Unfortunately, I live in an area where in order to go outdoor climbing, I’d have to drive 10+ hours. Believe me, I’ve checked with my gym and online, no one knows of anywhere closer. That being said, I’ve been devoting much of my free time to climbing. I really love it and I think that, by and large, the community is supportive and helpful. On the other hand, this whole article is kind of a turn off. Is it generally the opinion of surely awesome climbers like you that all gym climbers are completely entitled, rude, wealthy, unemployed, inconsiderate assholes? I’m really, really sorry you personally had a shitty day at one of your favorite spots due to gym climbers, but there’s no way that we’re all like that. I know that I’m definitely not. I’m so sorry that “the Facebook Climbers” were having fun on your mountain, and that they were so inexperienced, but as above anon pointed out, you probably could have asked them nicely to move.
Welcome to climbing, Igros–believe me that this is an uncommon occurrence (hence me wanting to post about it), so don’t be discouraged.
I didn’t say anywhere that I am “surely awesome”, so I’m not sure where you got that impression. Nowhere did I say that all gym climbers are like this. I was simply making the point that those “raised” in gyms tend to be unaware of (and apparently don’t care about) the ethics of outside crags.
We did ask them to move. Once again, I did not say we didn’t but you (among others) assumed so. They said “they’d be off soon” and took their time.
But the title is, “Rock Climbing Horrors: When Gym Climbers Go Outside”. So it isn’t much of a stretch that you were referring to all gym climbers. (Not a gym climber btw, not primarily anyway)
I would say it’s up to you whether you want to take that as “When EVERY Gym Climber Goes Outside” or “When SOME Gym Climbers Go Outside”. It was meant to be eye catching, and apparently was. Nowhere did I say that every gym climber does this.
You come off as way way harsh, I’ve been climbing at the new since the late 90’s, even donated funds to some of the bolters back then.
There will always be people like this. You were new once, remember?
Geoff, I meant to come off as sarcastic and pissed, which can be pretty harsh. Sorry about that–the weekend hit a nerve.
I agree–I was new once. What I wasn’t was inconsiderate. There’s a different between being inexperienced (which I definitely was, possibly still am!) and being rude.
This post is ignorant, arrogant and elitist. If you want an explanation of why, read through your own writing and realize that if it were not for new climbers leaving gyms to climb outdoors there would no money in rock climbing.
This is the worst piece of condescending writing i’ve ever read
Thanks for the comment, Anon! Very helpful.
Dave Cassidy says
Unfortunately this is what happens to popular areas around the world. I think it’s more likely to happen in areas where there are big gyms that are relatively close to climbing areas. Sometimes accidents are necessary for people to develop a sense of respect for their surroundings, if not natural selection will weed them out. As for lowering of the chains I only condone if it’s uber steep and people are prepared to leave behind a couple biners or d-links. Climbing is so cheap in relation to other outdoor sports. (ie skiing, kayaking, mountain biking) Leaving $5-$15 behind for the satisfaction of climbing something that someone put $100+ and tons of time into seems fair. (in addition to the hardware the developer also had to buy an expensive ass hammer drill)
Dave, definitely agree with you. Wish we could educate people more effectively..
An overhanging/traversing route with perma draws is different. This route should never be lowered from, in my opinion.
This is one of the dumbest blogs I have ever read.
Thanks for the comment, Random! Very helpful.
If you hate other people so much, learn to trad climb and go find somewhere remote.
Honestly I have to agree with you. There should be a level of respect for other people and equipment. I don’t think gym climbing is inherently to blame though. People can be misinformed coming from any background.
Thanks, Nate. It so happened that two of the three people who pissed me off were from gyms, so I did make that connection, but you are right it could come from anywhere.
I do think that some people learn to climb in a gym and think climbing outside will be the exact same, and end up being irresponsible. It’s not the irresponsibility that bothered me in this case, it was their attitude.
Looks like this got some attention on reddit.
So I’ve heard…
Wonder who posted it? Glad the discussion can be continued, whether in favor of the post or not…
Kevin Rehberg says
I think if you do sit on a route for a while, which I do sometimes, let other people use your rope if you are not climbing it at the moment.
I agree, Kevin. Unfortunately this group had around 10 people in it and they all wanted to climb it.
It’s my view that 10 people who show up as a group have just as much of a right to climb a route, than people in a group of, say, two or three. This is what happens, sometimes and you just gotta go home or find another route.
I think a little more awareness for the people that want to climb the popular climbs would be nice. Like he said, at least let people TR on your ropes or clip your draws on a quick lead run.
Hey! Lee isn’t a douchebag so stop saying that.
Thanks Katie :). I think people might have trouble interpreting tone over the internet (or are thinking rage is arrogance?).
The title alone is arrogance.
I’d happily read your rebuttal in place of your anonymous name calling.
If you frequent the New or any other popular climbing area enough you will be sympathetic to the message here. A crowd of newbies is no reason to have a bad day but when I see people behaving in the manner noted above I, too, get irritated (except who doesn’t like throwing rocks in the river). Lee, your sarcasm was not lost on me (or most people, I’d like to believe). But some people are dense so, unfortunately, you may need to clarify your tone in the future. Thanks for the post.
By the way Anon, I do expect crowds at popular crags just like I expect crowds at Disneyland. The behavior noted above is akin to cutting in line, not simply being there. And who likes that?
Thanks, Jav! I’ll back down on the throwing rocks was wrong part–that should have been prevented by the parents. Throw all the rocks you want as long as you’re being safe! Glad you understood the sarcasm, but I’m still going to be a little more clear with my tone next time haha!
Lee Kennedy says
Thank you for the insightful comment, Cameron. Glad you could add to the discussion.
Imagine if the new had the restrictions of hueco. Maintain poor crag ethics and it could happen. We should all be working to educate those around us.
Lee Kennedy says
I’m unfamiliar with the Hueco restrictions–what are they? I can imagine it would be a lot worse..
Lee Kennedy says
Wow they’re just closing parts of the park down. Definitely the worst case scenario to keep in mind.
Mike Williams says
Hey Lee, I’m not going to give you a hard time about your post like everyone else. Sometimes you run into a rough time at the crag. Honestly though, Orange Oswald is a nightmare and I can’t imagine why people still swarm to it. Well, I understand, great climbs by the water and enough for you and all your friends. My suggestion is to not be part of the problem by splitting your group up and heading out to any of the other 2500 routes in the region. Crowded crags suck. But if you’re at one, you’re part of the problem. I’ve been climbing here for over a decade and I’ve never climbed at a crowded crag. I just move on.
As for lowering through rings: I am one of the people that replaces the hardware. I’m a member of the NRAC board and one of our main goals is to raise money for new hardware and then make sure it gets put out there in the region. I spend a lot of time in the gorge replacing bolts. There is a short list of people permitted by the NPS to drill in the gorge and we’re all on the same page about this.
Feel free to lower through the rings. That’s what they are for. Personally, I encourage it and I don’t know of a single local climber that rappels from the anchors. It’s faster and much safer to lower. Safety is the top priority. You can go hands free to clean gear on the way down, and it’s much safer if the route is traversing or steep, like you mentioned.
Most importantly in my mind though, is that throughout the entire anchor-cleaning process, you are never off belay. We’ve had one climbing-related fatality in the gorge and it was an anchor cleaning accident (she was setting up to rappel). I’m not saying it’s unsafe to rappel. I’m saying that statistically, people all over the country die more from rappeling off routes than they do lowering. Much of the time, it’s a communication error between the belayer/climber. Belayer thinks the guy is going to rappel, takes him off belay. Climber thinks he’s being lowered, unclips…fatality. It happens ALL THE TIME. And it blows my mind. It is so senseless and so easily preventable. If we have to spend 20 bucks on new rings to prevent even one more accident, I think everyone would agree that’s a fair price.
I guided here for many years and I always taught folks to lower. It creates consistency with your partner as well. There is no confusion about whether you’re going to rappel or lower. The belayer puts the climber on belay and doesn’t take them off until they’re back on the ground. It’s the safest way to do things and I promise you that I would personally take the time to replace every anchor in the gorge if it would keep our crag even 5% less likely to see another fatality. Make that 1%!
Like I said, everyone has their own opinion on things and mine is no more valuable than yours. But I do speak for the local community, and all the folks that replace the hardware, when I say that it is perfectly acceptable to lower off the rings here at the New. From experience, it’s also acceptable to lower at any of the single-pitch crags I’ve been to across the US from Smith Rock to Rumney, to Rifle, Tensleep, Tennessee, and on and on.
Continue to rappel if you like, but please don’t discourage others from lowering after cleaning the anchor. Toproping your whole group, all day, on the rings…that’s another story.
Thanks for getting a discussion going about this.
Lee Kennedy says
Dang. Thanks for jumping in the discussion, Mike. Finally, an “authority” on the subject!
I never thought rappelling was a problem, but I suppose a few deaths could be averted by lowering. If you can make a fatal mistake trying to clean/rappel, I’d think you could make similar ones trying to clean/lower, but who knows.
I think the lesson here is this: local “ethics” are ultimately decided by the locals, by those who made the FAs and maintain the area. There are no overriding rules that apply everywhere. If you grew up in an area, the local “rules” are probably pretty clear to you. But, what if you’re visiting? How should you know whether to lower vs rappel?
Coming from NC, where most of the crags have old-school ethics (have you ever been to Moore’s Wall or Stone?), my default is leave no trace. I shouldn’t assume that is the case everywhere. But, I wonder what a young New local would do if he went to Moore’s? Would they assume their hometown ethics are the case elsewhere?
The part that concerned me was that the kid who I talked to didn’t even believe lowering was worse for the hardware. And I’m quite sure he’s not a New local. If that’s his “default” without even thinking about it, how else could his ignorance affect a crag?
Maybe a solution is a quick word in a preface of a guidebook (I feel like I’m talking to the right person about this?). “The New has active volunteers who replace the hardware, so feel free to lower when cleaning a route. Please don’t assume our ethics apply elsewhere”. I feel like a lot of people hear the first part, but not the second.
Anyways, glad you could help clear some things up, Mike. Oh and, thanks for developing and maintaining such a world-class bunch of rocks!
anon climber says
The guidebook for the Owens River Gorge has an explanation at the beginning that covers exactly what you’re talking about. There they use Mussy Hooks and the book explains that it’s ok to lower on them (but not toprope). As a visiting climber it was great to have that info. Also, what a great way of building anchors. If only they became more popular.
Lee Kennedy says
Yeah I’ve heard of these Mussy Hooks before and the fact that they’ve instituted them as a direct solution is excellent! I haven’t read the New guidebook in a while, but I don’t think the issue is addressed. In some places, where I’ve seen it addressed (for example, here at Climbing.com), they resort to lowering as the go-to answer without consideration of local ethics. That is the unfortunate side of things I wish would go away.
Steve Lineberry says
Yea, thanks for chiming in Mike. I think I have the same issue as Lee does. Also being from NC and being taught that lowering is bad I tend to apply that thinking to other crags within my driving distance. Crags that are further away I usually spend more time in determining the local ethics before going.
I agree, there are a lot of ignorant people when it comes to climbing. I had a guy once tell me that he was concerned about my wife and I pulling the anchors out of a route because we were simul-rapping. I spouted off a few words involving kilo-newtons, static weight and dynamic falls and he looked at my like I was speaking another language. The thing is we are all ignorant at some point in our life about climbing and there is still so much about climbing that I am ignorant about.
I happened to be there the same weekend referred to in the article and I did run into “the global warming kid” on Sunday at endless wall. He come across very pretentious and I only chatted with him for a few minutes. He was not local and he seemed to mainly excel at gym climbing. I have noticed that climbers who mainly gym climb usually don’t think about such things as local ethics when climbing outside. Usually social education works this out which is what you attempted to do. I’m sure if he was a very humble by your comment then he probably wouldn’t have ended up in this blog post. Correct me if I am wrong but my guess is it was his attitude bothered you more than the fact he lowered through a few rings.
Thanks again for the post, good laughs, and conversation.
Lee Kennedy says
You got it, Steve. Rules tend to be controversial, but our attitude toward them should not be. I’ll chalk up the kid’s attitude to youth, but when it’s cool to be ignorant, I have a problem.
I think there is a combination of genuine cluelessness going on, along with some people who are truly inconsiderate. I think usually it’s the former that is the problem… People are often amenable to correction if you approach it the right way. (This is true in the gym AND outside.) And I’ve rarely had a problem with people hogging climbing routes of any kind if you ask them in the right way if you can work in, trade, etc…this has been true in places as diverse as Pilot Mtn, NRG, Ouray, CO, Red Rocks, NV, and Stanage, UK. There are always a few a**holes, but in my experience it’s fairly rare with climbers of any kind.
I do agree that lowering through the rap rings is a fairly well known no-no. What I’ve been less sure about is how big of a no-no it is to put the biners for your top-rope anchor through the rap rings, particularly where there is very little room on the actual bolts to fit them through? I try not to clip biners through the rap rings if I can avoid this but I see lots of experienced climbers do this regularly.
I’d rather see an outdoor newbie lower through rap rings, though, than try to clean and set up a rappel where they really don’t know what they are doing. In my experience, it seems that many people who lower through the rap rings either (1) have no idea that they aren’t supposed to do this and it didn’t even cross their minds that it might be bad for the rap rings, or (2) they lack confidence in their cleaning/rapping skills. I don’t think there are too many people who just don’t care whether they are wearing the rings out.
It’s a fine line between people getting to have fun climbing with their friends, and people irritating the crap out of other climbers around them with their non-climbing related joviality. I was recently in Ouray ice climbing next to a bunch of dudes acting like they had just landed in Las Vegas for a bachelor party….which was admittedly grating at 8 am in the morning. But I sort of tamped down my natural distaste, and noted that they were competent climbers for all the smack-talk, and we ended up trading ropes with them, etc. They were nice guys and quieted down some as they got tired from climbing 🙂 I’ve had to ask nearby people to keep it down a little bit so I could hear my climbing partner at critical times, and most people are willing to accomodate if you are nice about it.
Lee Kennedy says
I’m with you about paragraph 3. Much rather a newbie lower than risk injury, but after that first time or two, I don’t see why they can’t do it on their own. When it comes down to it though, I don’t care about that specific issue. If Mike is fine with replacing all the anchors and people donate to their local orgs to fund them, that’s fine. I just wish people were more aware of their impact and open to discussion.
Regular New Climber, James says
Oh Lee, how I feel your sentiment. This article is exactly why I no longer make it past Narcisist Cave @ Summersville, even when bringing along noobs. As any frequenter of the crag is well-aware, on any weekend Oswald is an outdoor gym filled with inconsiderate noobs… though I must say I have yet to see someone try to set up a hammock on the wall. I would’ve absolutely lost my shit on that douchecanoe and his party. As a general rule, if you see something, say something – kinda like homeland security. I hate that my best advice is simply to avoid that wall. Go to Endless, Beauty, etc. Oswald, Sandstonia, and Butcher’s Branch are where incidents like these are most likely to occur.
Lee Kennedy says
Always going to be inconsiderate people, that’s just unfortunate. Hopefully we can all do our part of spreading the anti-inconsiderate-ness message. Really don’t want the solution to be “just stop going there”!
You should’ve spoken up and told them you want to climb. Sounds like they were just horsing around having a good time in there own way. People throw rocks into water, it’s a fact. Old people young people, everyone. Accidents happen and people get hit. You sound like a tightwad but big about someone getting hit in the head w a rock as if it was you who got the staples in your head. You were climbing in beginners routes, what do you expect to run in to? Your over the top and sound like your more concerned with controlling people than actually climbing and having fun. I do agree with not damaging the anchors but you said he was a kid, kids think they know everything until SHOWN. You need to chill and remember everyone is thereto have fun.
Lee Kennedy says
Hey Mike. Saying “Are you guys going to be on these routes long?” is telling them we’d want to climb in my opinion, which we did.
Not sure I understand “you sound like a tightwad but big about someone getting hit in the head…”, but okay sure thanks for the input.
As far as being on beginners routes, I would expect courteous climbers, whether they’re beginners or not.
Regarding the “kid” statement, if you read the comments, you’d see that I said “I called him a “kid” because of how he acted. He was old enough to know the difference.”
I agree that everyone is there to have fun, which is why people should be respectful about what routes they are hogging, safe so that we don’t have to worry about getting rocks thrown at us, and not rude when discussing ethics. That would have been fun. What happened was not.
Man this sport sounds STOOPID
Possibly the shittest article ever written. Lee you are a noob!
Lee Kennedy says
The only reason I’m approving this one is to show another example of the anonymous commenters and what they add to the discussion.
Glad you stopped by, bro.
The tradition for lowering or rappelling down is different in different areas.
However, I would like to point out that lowering down makes more sense if rappelling only takes 30 extra seconds to set up, and I would wager it takes longer on average.
Why? The hardware will surely last for at least 10000 people lowering down, and probably more like 100000. Now, consider the most efficient time investment: 30 seconds times 10000 climbs makes 5000 minutes, or 83 hours. The cost in time to replace a rappelling ring is far lower than 83 hours. Thus it is more efficient for humanity (and the climbing community) as a whole that people lower down, especially on popular routes that are in high demand.
This can be improved even more by putting a steel carabiner at the top, to reduce the replacement time. Each climber would likely only need to donate one steel carabiner to cover a lifetime of lowering down. Compare that to the cost of other climbing gear (even just your aluminum belay carabiner that is more expensive and needs to be replaced more often). You will find that a world where everyone lowers down makes sense.
Lee Kennedy says
Hey Armand. Sorry for taking a second to get to this. Glad to see an intelligent comment show up in this post!
I totally agree that the tradition differs in different areas. As Mike mentioned above, you can see that he prefers people to lower at the New. Overall, that’s fine. But I still believe there’s a truth underneath it all, and that is that rappelling is inherently a better idea.
One reason has to do with your analysis. You’re taking the responsibility away from the climber and putting it on the land owner/bolt replacer person. This further enforces the terrible gym-to-crag mentality that is going on right now that says that a climber can do whatever he/she wants to when they’re outside because someone else will come by and clean up after them. I am friends with some locals that are replacing bolts at Pilot Mountain in NC, and they do it on their own time (they live 1.5 hours from the crag), often using their own money to buy the hardware, and their efforts go largely unappreciated. You are making that situation worse by saying that it’s just their job to fix everything and climbers should do what is most convenient for them, disregarding the people who have to fix the problems they make.
I don’t know the details about Mike Williams’s life, but it looks like he gets to spend a lot of his time in the climbing world (making videos/blogging/making guidebooks/etc), so replacing bolts often might not be as big of a deal. For what I can assume is the situation for most of the rest of the community, the people doing that work may have full time jobs, a wife/husband and kids, they don’t live 20 minutes from the crag, etc. So it’s a big deal for them.
Why is it so hard for people to rappel anyways?
I am not actually trying to put the cost on the locals. Though the responsiblity does have to rest with a local group. What I am trying to say is that it makes global sense to lower off, that the cost of that wear is tiny in comparison with the cost of all other gear we purchase. And that climbers should donate that little extra amount to finance the wear. I do not think people are unwilling to donate, it just needs to be organized.
Myself, I am active in the local climbing club where I live, and we keep an eye on and replace anchors as needed. Replacing a steel carabiner is quite quick and something you can do when you are just visiting the crag to climb.
Lee Kennedy says
You’re saying that climbers should do whatever they want (lower) and the gear will be replaced by someone else. Even if you’re a member in your local club, you’re still advocating that someone else should spend their time fixing an issue that could have been prevented in the first place. In my opinion, that’s unreasonably selfish and inconsiderate.
Most climbers are not “active in their local climbing club” and do not personally contribute to anchor replacement–in your case, do whatever you want. You’re giving back, which is great. You can’t make the same assumption for everyone else. For the majority of climbers, they should be taught to have as little impact as possible when they climb (rappel). It’s a shame to me that people willing advocate against that.
What I am saying is, if I am waiting to climb a busy route, I would rather that they lower off right away than delay to set up to rappel down. And I do rappel myself; when trad climbing, or when there otherwise is no suitable anchor at the top of the route.
To take unnecessary time to rappel down when someone else is waiting to climb the route is what I consider selfish and inconsiderate. As I said before; the time is saved a hundred times over or more because replacing a lower-off steel carabiner is so much quicker than rappelling.
That said, I think you understand me, and I understand you, we just disagree 🙂
Lee Kennedy says
Most of the time when I climb, there isn’t someone immediately waiting to get on the route I’m on. And if they are, 30 seconds doesn’t make a difference.
I would hope the people that are around you when you climb would rather you treat the gear the best you can than be delayed 30 seconds. If you’re disagreeing with me, you’re furthering the not-my-problem attitude that is becoming more prevalent and is poisoning our sport.
With maybe the exception of your dubbed ‘Facebook Climbers’, I must admit that I feel you are exactly the type of reason I fear to climb outside. I would love to climb outdoors more. I started with gym climbing. I live in a city, I’m busy, I’ve only been climbing four months and I don’t even know many people who know how to setup outdoor climbs, so I find what I can and try to join in. Though, in my experience, it’s this kind of pretentiousness that scares me away. Instead of criticizing, you could have just said, “Oh hey, I can see you’re lowering through the rings…that’s really damaging…you should do it this way. Good skill to have and safer for other climbers.” It doesn’t sound like you were constructive. Maybe after the ‘Facebookers’ and rock throwers, you were already stressed, but it’s how we react to situations that define us, no?
I guess my feeling is I’ve bumped into a lot of ‘elitists’ like you and it’s creeped me out from even trying. We all had to start in the same place, no? I wish there was a more welcoming climbing community.
Lee Kennedy says
Thanks for commenting, Franki.
I’m glad you’re scared. That means you care. Unlike the people who I ran into that day (to whom I did, at first, say “are you lowering through the rings? that’s bad for the gear up there”, to whom, at first, I tried to be constructive to), who immediately thought their way was right. You’re exactly the kind of person that we want out there. I’d encourage you to give it a shot, it sounds like you’ll fit in well.
I found this article by googling “rock climbers are assholes”
I started climbing many years ago and then fell out of it a bit. In Minnesota gym climbing is the only thing you can do for about half the year and so that’s how I began. Now, two months ago I’m getting back into the sport and was reminded of just how fucking pretentious climbers are. With the multitude of outdoor activities I participate in climbing is definitely the most condescending and elitist.
Alright, having got that off my chest… here’s the thing about being a “gym climber” entering into the world of outdoor climbing: you only know what you know. Unless someone is there to show you proper etiquette you are going to be fumbling your way through and making unintentional mistakes. Example: My second or third time out I had built an anchor for TR (I have anchor building experience through rafting) and I wanted to try rappelling. For safety sake I asked another climber if I could demonstrate for him to ensure I was doing everything correctly. His response, “if you don’t know that then you don’t deserve to be here.”
That is the type of attitude that turned me off to climbing for years. I was so tired of the condescending way people treated someone who is trying to learn the correct way of doing things (so that blog posts like this don’t have to be written.)
Yes the hammock kids were being dicks, yes there are assholes in every sport/hobby, and yes you have a few good points. But as many people have pointed out, this article comes off as arrogant. I’m no stranger to sarcasm or hyperbole but even when that is stripped away the arrogance is still there.
I like to casually climb. I’ll never be great at it because I don’t have a desire to spend all of my time working on it, that doesn’t mean I enjoy it any less or that you’ve got more of a right to climb than I do.
Be helpful, not pretentious.
Lee Kennedy says
Man I don’t understand why someone would be condescending to someone who is trying to learn. It sounds like you’ve encountered some assholes. They’re out there, but they’re a minority.
Regarding this post–your comment is of the type that makes me want to take it down. The intention was not to be a dick. I had a shitty day at the crag, posted a comment on facebook about it that got a big response, and decided to write a post about it that gets waaaaaaay more traffic than I thought it would. It was not supposed to stand the test of time as a beacon of understanding and humility. It’s sarcastic and sensationalistic and arrogant. I’m sorry it offended you. It was not supposed to be helpful. At this point, I’m leaving it up just for historical purposes, but I promise you this is not meant to encourage this kind of behavior (hence the pre- and post-scripts I added).
I’m up for debate over specific issues, but all I can say in response to “youre a dick” is “that was kinda the point, sorry if it offended you”.
Thank you for responding instead of taking down my post. This is honestly the first time I’ve posted any comment online.
Yeah, I’ve met some asshole climbers, but I think that the machismo is pretty pervasive in the sport. It seems like people are competing in a battle I’m unaware of participating in. My complaint is that there is a lack of community in climbing for beginners.
I’m currently living in Portland (insert vitriolic statements of hipsterism) and the recurring joke is that everyone who moved here after me can go fuck off. We do this because we found something that we think is special and we claim a personal ownership over it.
I think the same lack of humility can be applied to climbing.
Also, super goddamn cool of you to post something like this. That takes a pair of brass clanking balls.
Lee Kennedy says
Sucks you see so much negativity. I see a lot of positivity too, so hopefully you’ll see some more in the future.
I think you could have handled the situation much better than you did. It feels like when you confronted these people about their mistakes you did it less for the sake of teaching and more for the sake of telling them off. A big give away is the fact that you were asking multiple people if they were lowering correctly.
And the reason that KID probably couldn’t maintain eye contact with you is because you come off super aggressive. “How could you not know this?” isn’t something you should say to someone who you feel needs to be educated. Climbers who have a better grip of their emotions and who are able to talk to others without making them feel like an idiot should do the teaching.
Also posting a picture of the KID isn’t something I’m ok with. Click on source and you get the full image of him without the black box concealing his identity. It’s especially upsetting because you seem to only have bad things to say about.
Lee Kennedy says
Didn’t think about the source showing the full picture. I’ve removed that. Thanks for spotting that.
Lee Kennedy says
I asked multiple people b/c I wasn’t aware (at the time) that people even considered lowering off of vertical routes. Not to show off or something.
Whether the kid could maintain eye contact or not is not the point. The point is he was willingly lowering when I (then) thought he shouldn’t. Obviously, as I said, I was upset at that point, which is why I came off aggressive.
As I’ve said to all the negative commenters that have shown up here after the initial hoopla, a lot has changed since I wrote this post in 2012.
I was using the eye contact as an example of a way you come off as aggressive. My point is that you aren’t able to handle your emotions in those situations and shouldn’t teach until you are able to.
and I didn’t mean show off, I mean it seems like you put yourself in those situations because it seems like you really enjoy conflict. You probably won’t accept that and you probably don’t even realize it because it’s something that happens subconsciously, but to me it seems pretty apparent
Lee Kennedy says
Dude…you’re making wide generalizations and you’re basing this off of one sensationalist post I wrote 3 years ago. I appreciate the input but you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Well most people wouldn’t have even made a post in the first place and wouldn’t still be responding to posts on a blog that’s 3 years old
Lee Kennedy says
Okay? Well I did and I am. I’m sorry, I’m missing your point.
You’re the equivalent to the old lady on the plane who just looks for shit to get angry at so she can tell her family/friends about it once she gets off. In your case you made a long blog post about it, when most would have just dropped it and moved on with their lives. And the fact that you respond to every negative comment (even though you yourself pointed out its been three years) in a passive agresive way (when again most would have dropped it by now) shows that you probably still aren’t the best with dealing with your emotions. But I’m kind of fed up of talking to you. You don’t seem to think you did anything wrong in this situation and it doesn’t seem like you will accept anything other than “you’re right” as a viable response to this hate filled and unnecessary blog post.
Lee Kennedy says
Sigh. Man I’m normally up for a healthy debate (like this thread for example), but you’re just a troll. l’ll just give this as an example, and then call it. You said “It feels like when you confronted these people about their mistakes you did it less for the sake of teaching and more for the sake of telling them off. A big give away is the fact that you were asking multiple people if they were lowering correctly.” As you can read, directly in the post, we asked how long the people with the hammocks would be. Never told them off. We taught the first lady why lowering is bad (it directly says TAUGHT in the post). Didn’t tell her off. And, as you can read in the post, I talked to two people about it.
Just one example of how you don’t know what you’re talking about. Like for some reason you think I shouldn’t respond to comments on my blog? That makes sense! Does it just make you feel better to talk shit or something? I’m not going to keep validating you. Find another corner of the internet for your self indulgence.
Don’t agree with your lowering issue. These people will not know how to safely rappel. Most injuries and death are from rappelling. Lowering through rap rings or quick links on a single pitch climb is fine. I bring my $5 quick links with me and leave them where necessary on single pitches. Replacing a quick link is no big deal.
Lee Kennedy says
Hey Bob thanks for the insight. That’s awesome you do that. A few questions:
Dan Brayack says
Bob is correct on all accounts. His source as well as mine is personal experience.
Lee Kennedy says
I am completely open to feedback on either side of the debate as long as it’s NOT anecdotal evidence. When someone says “most injuries and death are from rappeling” are they talking about multi-pitch as well? In that case, I’d tend to agree. What about single pitch? That I’m not sure about. See the rap vs lower post for more info.
you’re like a hall monitor … do you really want to spend your time supervising everyone and having “chats” with them about what they’re doing.
your suggestion that crags become super policed and regulated is more offensive than someone lowering through rings.
Lee Kennedy says
It was sarcasm, bro.
Dan Brayack says
I do place and replace bolts. Don’t rappel, but lower. Drop 5 bucks in the til at water stone. If you do any of my routes just lower. I paid for the hardware myself and if you see any wear, message me and I will go out and replace the hardware. Rings are cheap. Be safe.
Lee Kennedy says
Hey Dan thanks for commenting. It’s awesome to see people who have been around for a while and do some of the grunt work on the cliffs show up on this random little post and give their insight. As Mike Williams pointed out in Feb 2013, he prefers people lower as well, so that’s awesome. I’m all for locals recommending the local ethic.
Unfortunately, this post devolved into the old ‘rappel or lower’ debate. Because of that, I put some more thought into that (and specifically the “be safe” part of it you mentioned), and wrote a post on the safety of each method. I broke each method down into every individual step and found that lowering had more major safety risks. I’m not saying this is definitely true, but I’d be curious of your reason for saying “be safe”, as if lowering is safer?
Fascinating, that so many people are missing your points…and actually attack you for them. I wonder if this sort of ignorance exists elsewhere in the world….like Europe or Japan. Sorry that nobody gets it and kudos for defending yourself for so many yrs…but seriously why bother. They’ll never get it.
Btw, ignorance, arrogance, and a lack of respect comes at all levels, not just newbies. I had a climbing guide pass over me to set up a trad anchor 5 ft above me dragging his doubles all over my anchor and bringing up his partner while i was belaying mine. That’s just one of many similar incidents.
Anyways, good on ya for trying.
Lee Kennedy says
Thanks Wes. You make a good point. It’s not experience level, it just depends on the person. I like to think that most people are respectful and gracious but I know that the internet tends to bring the worst out in a lot of people. So I’m remaining optimistic!
Lots of good points here and a good read. Most of this should be not only common-sense but common courtesy at a crowded crag. Not too sure about the ‘lowering through the rings is bad’, but I see that you amended that. I’ve read things both supporting lowering through the rings, and things against it. I think, as you stated it, best to check with the locals if possible. Still, best for climbers to learn how to rap off the top of a route, otherwise, get your buddy who knows how to do it, to clean the route after.
A noob says
Easy there tiger. I know this post is old, but thought I would comment. This came off really harsh on gym climbers. I’ve only climbed in gyms, been doing it off and on for a couple years now. I’m going outdoor climbing this weekend for the first time and so I’m reading some stuff online.
This came off as really mean: “It’s too easy for people to go to their local climbing gym, buy their own gear, hangdog up a 5.9 and decide they’re ready to go outside.” As someone who has only ever climbed at a gym, who has been buying gear in preparation of going outside, this just felt like a giant middle finger to me.
Lee Kennedy says
You could also take it as ‘This is a great example of people being dicks outside and I’m going to not do that.’