Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Do you speak up when seeing someone making mistakes?
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 3.  1  2  3   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By Matt Pierce
From Denver, CO
Jul 31, 2012
View from the first belay ledge on The Staircase (...
I still consider myself new to climbing because it seems like I learn new things every time I go out...

I often watch other climbers and quietly evaluate their techniques in my head.

I know this is talked about on here from time to time but my question is: If you see other climbers making mistakes or climbing in an unsafe way, do you say anything to them? Tactfully? Offer advice? Point things out?

While climbing about a month ago I proceeded to backclip my first bolt on a route and didnt even notice - neither did my belayer. A guy belaying next to me sort of quietly pointed it out. He then apologized and said "wasnt trying to be nosey, just thought Id say something". I of course offered my thanks for pointing out my mistake. It didnt bother me at all that he had said something.

I was out at a crag recently and was waiting on my climbing partner so I was watching some people climb. 1 girl started up a sport route and clipped the first bolt but then proceeded to backclip the next one. I took note but didnt say anything. Then she proceeded to backclip the third bolt. Her belayer didnt notice and I was a little concerned so I walked over and quietly said something to him. More accurately I asked something like "uh, hey arent those backclipped?". The guy kind of gave me a quick defensive reply but a girl belaying next to him heard me (even though I was trying to be discreet about it) and said "yeah those are backclipped, not good". He said he would let her know and I offered up a quick apology but said I wanted to point it out. I sat back down a little ways away and kept watching but the guy never told her she was backclipping. She climbed a little out of sight and I quit watching - kinda shocked he didnt holler up to her.

I took a photo that Ill attach here - I know its kind of hard to see.

So - thoughts? Do you say something if you notice a person making mistakes? How about if you see someone making a big mistake at an anchor or something like that?

Backclips
Backclips

FLAG
By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jul 31, 2012
You'll get two types of response to this:

"Speak up to save their lives."

"None of your business - it's Darwin's natural selection at work."

Here is a previous thread with some of those thoughts:

mountainproject.com/v/when-is-...

FLAG
By i smell a rat
Jul 31, 2012
always say something but take care to realize how you say it may make the difference in whether or not someone listens. If they dont listen its not your fault if something bad happens.

FLAG
By David Barbour
From Denver
Jul 31, 2012
What sucks about that situation is the guy's decision to be a snotty fuck put the climber in more danger than was necessary. If one of my partners reacted like that, I wouldn't climb with them anymore.

FLAG
By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jul 31, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
I've been on both sides of it. I've never objected to any pointers or advice or corrections- whether I felt they were valid or not. I have had people that I could tell just wanted to play the "wise sage" role by offering advice, and I've had people that were genuinely concerned and had an interest in passing on information that would help.

It's been my experience, as a receiver of unsolicited advice, that most of the time it's for the best, and even if it is someone just tooting their horn, it's worth listening to. Experience is experience, whether it's eccentric or not. Some of the most valuable lessons I've learned were from experienced climbers. Just my opinion.

On the giving unsolicited advice side of the coin, I've had people take it good, and take it badly. Because of that, I only give advice or point something out when I think that me not pointing it out is likely to result in someone getting injured- and then, the party's demeanor is a deciding factor.

In the case you show, with every draw backclipped, I probably would have said something.

FLAG
By fat cow
From St. Paul, MN
Jul 31, 2012
perfect seam
He probably didn't know what backclipping was, or the potential dangers and therefore didn't say anything. There are a lot of people who don't know anything about climbing out there being cool. It's not dangerous or knowledge intensive after all.

In a situation like this it is worth saying something, if not for their sake for your own... As it would probably ruin your day watching them get hurt badly

FLAG
By Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Jul 31, 2012
Climbers that you need to give advice to tend to be defensive and insecure (they know they're noobs, but they're trying to pretend they're not), so chances are you won't get a good reception.

But I'd rather speak up (and I have zero ability to be diplomatic and deferential when doing so, I just get right to the point) than have somebody's injury or death on my conscience later.

FLAG
By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2012
Bocan
Saw a girl backclip 5 draws and finally when she reached the crux I shouted up to her. She didn't really know what I was talking about.

Scary stuff.

FLAG
 
By fat cow
From St. Paul, MN
Jul 31, 2012
perfect seam
Scott McMahon wrote:
Saw a girl backclip 5 draws and finally when she reached the crux I shouted up to her. She didn't really know what I was talking about. Scary stuff.



exactly

FLAG
By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2012
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "...
Last time I said anything to anyone it was minor and I might not have had the best tact. The funny thing was the guy's response to me:
Me: You might want to mention to your partner that it's not so safe to clip into those hollow aluminum rap rings for the belay."
Him: (dismissive) "We've been climbing for several decades, so I think we know how to be safe."
Me: "Really, you don't look that old to me."
Him: (dismissive) "Looks can be deceiving."
me: (getting testy) "Really, how old are you?"
him: "27"
me: (almost laughing) "Oh, well, that's a little younger than I thought. When you said 'several decades', I thought you meant 'several decades.' I always thought that 'several' meant more than 2."
Him: (nothing).

I was just dying for him to ask me how long I had been climbing so I could tell him "since the day you were born, which is long enough that I don't feel any need to exaggerate it."
Then I realized that it wasn't a competition and it wasn't the time for verbal put-downs. It was about the fact that one shouldn't be clipped it to the hollow aluminum rap ring at a belay station to belay their partner off of.
So instead I appologized if I came across as bossy and said I had not been sleeping well and had some health problems, which probably gave me a bad attitude, but that no less, I was concerned about anchor damage or failure.
But in any case, they were not interested and I had said my peace and my conscience was as clear as it was going to get without starting a fight on the wall.
Sometimes that's all you can do.

FLAG
By Woodchuck ATC
Jul 31, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
I safety or belayer and climber seem cludless on climbing, I speak up. Otherwise I let it be, as many don't want beta or opinions, even if helpful.

FLAG
By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Jul 31, 2012
Eiger summit
Are you sure those are back-clipped? It is hard to tell but the first one looks like the draw may just be twisted and it is clipped correctly. The second one is harder to tell.
--- Invalid image id: 107728816 ---

FLAG
By Matt Hasenohr
Jul 31, 2012
I like to take this approach: if that exact desicion/mistake that they are making will result in me having to be apart of a rescue operation, I will say something. If there doing something that is stupid, but safe, I will let it be.

If the belayer nor the climber realises the climber is backclipping, it's probably not a bad idea to just make a quick comment to the belayer. I've seen a lot of people yell up at the climber like they're untieing their rope and really belittle the person, which I don't totally agree with, but hey it is their life we're talking about.

I don't know how many times this question is brought up amongst my friends and fellow climbers, but it seems more and more important with the increasing number of new climbers.

FLAG
By bearbreeder
Jul 31, 2012
unless they are in obvious and immediate danger, i dont bother generally ...

ive seen people not doing the best practices ... such as death triangle on bolts, which however wont kill you on 2 good bolts on TR ... etc ...

ive also had some "expert" TR tough guys run around telling me that 2 opposed draws arent safe to lower/TR off of ... or going around telling people their footwork sucks when they themselves obviously cant get up the same climb ... or telling people that youll die if you never use a prussik

etc ...

FLAG
By Matt Pierce
From Denver, CO
Jul 31, 2012
View from the first belay ledge on The Staircase (...
Brian wrote:
Are you sure those are back-clipped? It is hard to tell but the first one looks like the draw may just be twisted and it is clipped correctly. The second one is harder to tell.


Yeah - that was a pic from far away with my phone - they are not twisted :(

FLAG
By pfwein
From Boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2012
Tony B wrote:
When you said 'several decades', I thought you meant 'several decades.' I always thought that 'several' meant more than 2." Him: (nothing).

I always thought several meant more than one, although exactly two would be an uncommon usage.
I looked at a dictionary: more than one and more than two are both listed. See merriam-webster.com/dictionary... ("more than one" is listed before "more than two").
So I'm not so sure about the English lesson in this story, but I've no doubt the actual climbing advice was spot on and the guy should have taken it.

FLAG
 
By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Jul 31, 2012
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks
Matt Pierce wrote:
So - thoughts? Do you say something if you notice a person making mistakes? How about if you see someone making a big mistake at an anchor or something like that?



If someone is making a mistake that is putting themselves or someone else in danger I will speak up (as tactfully as possible). It's better to have someone think I'm a jerk than to watch someone get hurt or killed. In your backclipping story I certainly would have said something.

One good story I have that comes to mind happened a couple of months ago at the gym. There were these two guys on the lead wall who were just starting to climb. The guy belaying was using a gri gri and obviously had no idea what he was doing (he must have passed the lead belay test using another type of device, or maybe he didn't even take the test, they don't really check at the gym). I watched as the leader reached the first bolt and was imediatly short roped as the belayer tried to just pull the thick gym rope through the gri gri, I thought it was a bit commical, but not too unsafe so I didn't say anything. When the leader reached the second bolt, the belayer decided to change strategies so that he wouldn't short rope the leader, and with his left hand he grabbed the lever on the device and pulled it back, then he let go of the brake strand with his right hand, and started feeding slack to the leader by pulling it up through the device with what should have been his brake hand. There was no gym staff around, so I decided I'd better step in before the leader (who didn't look too confident himself) ended up blowing the clip and decking.

After the leader had clipped the bolt and asked for a take I asked the belayer if he'd ever belayed with a gri gri before and he told me that he does all the time. I then mentioned that if the leader had fallen while trying to clip the bolt, the belayer wouldn't have been able to stop him before he hit the ground. To this, the belayer said something like "you realize he is climbing up so he needs slack right?" in a very defensive and butt hurt manner. I told him that I do realize that since I have belayed leaders with a gri gri for over 10 years, and that I wasn't trying to be a jerk, but I didn't want someone to get hurt. At this point, the climber asked to be lowered, and when he got down I offered to show them the correct methods for feeding out slack with a gri gri. I showed them both the new and old methods and emphasized that they should never take their hand off the brake strand while belaying. I could tell that the belayer was very offended, but I'd rather have someone not like me than have someone injured or dead.

Neither of them did any more leading that day, so I don't know if they ever tried out the correct method to belay, but I did hear the belayer making some butt hurt comments to one of his friends about the incident later, I thought it was kind of funny.

FLAG
By Matt Pierce
From Denver, CO
Jul 31, 2012
View from the first belay ledge on The Staircase (...
kennoyce wrote:
If someone is making a mistake that is putting themselves or someone else in danger I will speak up (as tactfully as possible). It's better to have someone think I'm a jerk than to watch someone get hurt or killed. In your backclipping story I certainly would have said something. One good story I have that comes to mind happened a couple of months ago at the gym. There were these two guys on the lead wall who were just starting to climb. The guy belaying was using a gri gri and obviously had no idea what he was doing (he must have passed the lead belay test using another type of device, or maybe he didn't even take the test, they don't really check at the gym). I watched as the leader reached the first bolt and was imediatly short roped as the belayer tried to just pull the thick gym rope through the gri gri, I thought it was a bit commical, but not too unsafe so I didn't say anything. When the leader reached the second bolt, the belayer decided to change strategies so that he wouldn't short rope the leader, and with his left hand he grabbed the lever on the device and pulled it back, then he let go of the brake strand with his right hand, and started feeding slack to the leader by pulling it up through the device with what should have been his brake hand. There was no gym staff around, so I decided I'd better step in before the leader (who didn't look too confident himself) ended up blowing the clip and decking. After the leader had clipped the bolt and asked for a take I asked the belayer if he'd ever belayed with a gri gri before and he told me that he does all the time. I then mentioned that if the leader had fallen while trying to clip the bolt, the belayer wouldn't have been able to stop him before he hit the ground. To this, the belayer said something like "you realize he is climbing up so he needs slack right?" in a very defensive and butt hurt manner. I told him that I do realize that since I have belayed leaders with a gri gri for over 10 years, and that I wasn't trying to be a jerk, but I didn't want someone to get hurt. At this point, the climber asked to be lowered, and when he got down I offered to show them the correct methods for feeding out slack with a gri gri. I showed them both the new and old methods and emphasized that they should never take their hand off the brake strand while belaying. I could tell that the belayer was very offended, but I'd rather have someone not like me than have someone injured or dead. Neither of them did any more leading that day, so I don't know if they ever tried out the correct method to belay, but I did hear the belayer making some butt hurt comments to one of his friends about the incident later, I thought it was kind of funny.


Thanks for sharing - reminds me of when I took the lead belay test at the gym. I guess the staff dude thought I wasnt standing close enough to the wall (I was about 2 feet away) and told me so in a very matter-of-fact kind of way. It was a little picky in my opinion - I wasnt doing anything unsafe etc. But I let it go - no biggie - just closed the gap...

FLAG
By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Jul 31, 2012
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks
Matt Pierce wrote:
Thanks for sharing - reminds me of when I took the lead belay test at the gym. I guess the staff dude thought I wasnt standing close enough to the wall (I was about 2 feet away) and told me so in a very matter-of-fact kind of way. It was a little picky in my opinion - I wasnt doing anything unsafe etc. But I let it go - no biggie - just closed the gap...


That right there is the biggest way to tell if someone is a noob or not. If someone gets all butt-hurt when advice is offered, they are most certainly a noob. You showed your non-noob-ness by just taking the advice even though you didn't think it necessary.

FLAG
By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 31, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
one way to get your point across is to passive-aggressively post it on mp.

FLAG
By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2012
Bocan
It's a really tough decision to make really, but every time I go out I see someone put themselves in perilious positions.

- The girl back clipping all the way up
- Her belayer first time belaying with a gri-gri...what a scream when the leader went down 5 feet quickly.
- The guy I wanted to give route beta to when he skipped the 3rd bolt because he couldn't clip. Ground fall territory.
- The guy on the Edge of Time clipped in through both ends of the draw while he hung on the first bolt for an hour. 9+ route and his belayer was belaying wrong. Oh and he had no gear for the bolt runout.
- The many new belayers consistently taking their hand of the brake strand while lead belaying.
- A school teaching brand new climbers to single line rap over a roof by bunching their legs up instead of legs out, butt down. Can you say face smash?

Did I say something in every instance. No and truthfully when I see this crap going down, I bail. I don't want to be around to watch somebody take a ground fall. And these are just a few things off the top of my head. I'm not perfect for sure, but I do my best to make sure I'm taking as many precautions as I can.

My opinion is that the gyms have alot to do with these bad practices, especially bad belaying and backclipping. People climb in "safe" environment, and then hit the REI sale for a new rope and draws. Unfortunently the logistics of climbing don't always come naturally and require some amount of study and practice. I try to always take advice if someone knows a better, more effecient or safer way of doing things.

Climbing is a progression.

FLAG
By Larry S
Jul 31, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I always watch what's going on around me. If i see minor mistakes, i'll try and judge the risk, attitude and experience and politely and humbly speak up. Polite and Humble are important. But i have had occasions where talk was not enough or not quick enough and intervention has been needed.

Two winters ago, i was at the local gym. A guy who i don't know personally but recognize as an experienced climber, probably been climbing since i was born, is there w/ a woman i've never seen before. They were climbing for a while, doing all top rope stuff as this appears to be her first time. My buddy is just about to lead something a few routes over from them, i'm gettin ready to belay. She's belaying him and he's very near the top of the route, about to lower off.

I just glance over and something is NOT RIGHT w/ her belay, but i can't tell exactly what from this distance... I ran over... My eyes probably glazed over, and i just said "something's not right" in a tone of sheer panic, grabbed the ropes and took over belaying him off of her harness. I don't know how, but somehow she managed to go thru all the motions of taking in rope, never letting her hand off the brake (what she thought was the brake), etc... without actually pulling anything thru the device. It was threaded correctly, she was just miming belaying on the climbers side only. I hand over hand pulled the brake strand out of her ATC as fast as I could and then helped lower the guy to the ground.

So far as the climber new, the rope was going tight and everything was fine... I couple seconds later he could have decked from the top.

FLAG
By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2012
Bocan
Larry S wrote:
I always watch what's going on around me. If i see minor mistakes, i'll try and judge the risk, attitude and experience and politely and humbly speak up. Polite and Humble are important. But i have had occasions where talk was not enough or not quick enough and intervention has been needed. Two winters ago, i was at the local gym. A guy who i don't know personally but recognize as an experienced climber, probably been climbing since i was born, is there w/ a woman i've never seen before. They were climbing for a while, doing all top rope stuff as this appears to be her first time. My buddy is just about to lead something a few routes over from them, i'm gettin ready to belay. She's belaying him and he's very near the top of the route, about to lower off. I just glance over and something is NOT RIGHT w/ her belay, but i can't tell exactly what from this distance... I ran over... My eyes probably glazed over, and i just said "something's not right" in a tone of sheer panic, grabbed the ropes and took over belaying him off of her harness. I don't know how, but somehow she managed to go thru all the motions of taking in rope, never letting her hand off the brake (what she thought was the brake), etc... without actually pulling anything thru the device. It was threaded correctly, she was just miming belaying on the climbers side only. I hand over hand pulled the brake strand out of her ATC as fast as I could and then helped lower the guy to the ground. So far as the climber new, the rope was going tight and everything was fine... I couple seconds later he could have decked from the top.


Wow...WTF!

When I take out new climbers I bring along an experienced belayer. I let the new climbers top rope, but save the lead belaying till after both they and I feel comfortable with the top rope process. Quite often the TR belay teaching will happen in the gym with alot of friction on easy routes. You should never teach someone to belay AND lead belay at the same time.

Unless you hate yourself.

FLAG
By RockyMtnTed
Jul 31, 2012
Scott McMahon wrote:
Wow...WTF! When I take out new climbers I bring along an experienced belayer. I let the new climbers top rope, but save the lead belaying till after both they and I feel comfortable with the top rope process. Quite often the TR belay teaching will happen in the gym with alot of friction on easy routes. You should never teach someone to belay AND lead belay at the same time. Unless you hate yourself.


You do realize in the story you quoted they were top roping? Where did the "lead belaying" tangent come from?

FLAG
 
By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jul 31, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I thi...
If it is something not best practice but won't hurt someone, like a webbing triangle on 2 bolt TR anchor, saying something would be for your ego, leave it alone.

If it a situation where someone could get hurt, why wouldn't you say something? Again for your ego.

FLAG
By Greg D
From Here
Jul 31, 2012
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
I have spent the night in the wilderness with someone with crushed vertebrae and shattered wrist. I have heard bones snapping and heads hitting rock from a hundred foot fall. Then held this guys leg in place till rescue got there. He was barely alive. Both climbers were experienced but with inexperienced belayers. Both incidents may have been preventable as many accidents are.

Speak up. Even if it is not well received it was heard. You may have prevented an accident if not that day maybe a future one.

FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 3.  1  2  3   Next>   Last>>