I was sitting on the porch at the campground the other night talking climbing with some people and trad climbing came up.
One of my buddies is a boulderer primarily and also climbs sport. His girlfriend was talking about wanting to try some gear protected routes.
He goes, "Lilly, that stuff is dangerous. If you fall on a piece and it pops, the next one has like three times the chance of blowing as the first one does. It's called zippering."
I tried to correct him, but he'd have none of it. This guy also assured a buddy of mine he knew how to place gear and led a 5.8 hand crack. When my friend was cleaning it for him he said all the pieces were tipped out and not worth a damn.
"Got a nut stuck on this route in November. It's in the slab section, it's a red BD nut. Three guys hammered on it for 30 minutes trying to get it out, I think it's safe to say it's in there good. Please try and remove it if you have the time though."
As he gets out of his Mercedes at the Red Rock Redevenous parking lot... wearing a brand new rack of trad gear - Douche Bigelow yells across the dirt parking lot : I cant wait to try trad climbing - I flashed a 5.11 in the gym last night! Grrrrrr
I was at a party standing around with a bunch of high testosterone guys and of course the topic turned to sports, and then which ones were the hardest. One of my friends casually asked me, by way of a lead in, "don't you rock climb?"
Before I could answer, an outdoorsman type, that drives an offroad 4-wheeler with a case of beer in the back on the weekends and has his keys suspended from his beltloop on a locking carabiner, chimed in. "Rock climbing is just pulling yourself up on equipment you pound in the rock, the true skill comes in rappelling!"....he said with a superior air as he puffed on his Marlboro and quaffed another Bud Lite.
'Standing far from the first piece protects me from rocks and lets me dig my heels in when he falls' -This one I told the person to move closer to the first piece because if the leader fell she was going to be ripped towards the wall. Oh well.
I was at the Red River Gorge at Left Flank and there was a group of guys, 5 or so, with a typical spread. We had a tried and true climber who thought he knew it all, a muscle guy with his sleeves cut off and biceps bulging, 2 average guys who looked like they were really trying to learn from the climber who thought he knew it all, and then one shy guy not really a part of this scene. the climber was at the top of the route setting the top rope for the rest of them and he called for a take after setting up the anchor. he then proceeded into a story...
climber: "hey man, remember that one time you were belaying me on that hard 9. you know the one where i got to the top and i said 'k, im there' and then i clipped both draws and asked for a take while looking back down to you. and i realized you were walking over to your pack to get some water, totally off the belay??"
belayer: "oh yeah, i remember that. i thought you meant when you said that you were there that you wanted to be taken off belay."
climber: "yeah, that was totally crazy!"
needless to say these guys seemed to have followed us around all day and provided constant entertainment. (we made sure they werent doing anything too stupid) However, when one of the average guys was lead belaying the muscle guy (due to the weight differential they had the belayer anchor into a tree behind him) he was standing with a slack piece of webbing between his legs connecting the tree to his rappel loop. well when muscle man fell... there was a jolt through that guys body. i was pretty impressed that he held onto the rope with as hard of a shot he took to his jewels!
I'm hiking along the base of the East Rampart at Devils Lake, and I see someone drop a rope down on Dyslexia, the hardest route in the area that has only been climbed a handful of times at most. Impressed, I ask who is working on the route. "Nah, we're just rappelling today." The following weekend I was back and I hear a cheering crowd yelling "Go (someone's name), come on, yeah!" When I looked, I found it was not some impressive send, just some guy rappelling very slowly down a 50 foot cliff. I was somewhat amused.
"Sometimes it just breaks." Climbers response to my buddies question, "what happened?", after witnessing this guy take a 20foot ground fall. Climber was cleaning a route while being lowered through a piece of webbing.
Yes, sometimes that will make the webbing break. Unbelievable! I trust that you saved their lives later in the future by informing them what idiots there were.
Nah, we're just rappelling today." The following weekend I was back and I hear a cheering crowd yelling "Go (someone's name), come on, yeah!" When I looked, I found it was not some impressive send, just some guy rappelling very slowly down a 50 foot cliff. I was somewhat amused.
Did he have a Marlboro hangin out of his mouth and a sixer of Bud Lite? (see my post above)
A (cough, cough) friend of mine called "Jimbo the crazy red neck" (he knows we call him that, and doesn't mind) told me this several times. Not the dumbest though (Jimbo is a talented survivalist), but it both tickled, and scared me.
"Hey, I heard you like to climb rocks, I do too, I did all that rappelling stuff, and jumped out of airplanes when I was in the military, and do a lot of rock climbing when I'm out hunting deer, and coyotes, not with ropes, I climb without ropes, and equipment." "When are you taking me climbing?!" Note: he was being serious.
When at a popular winter top roping spot last December, a father/son combo shows up for some "climbing". The father instructs the son to do the walk around and set up the top rope by running one end through the anchors and then tossing the rope down, the kid gets to the top runs about 6 feet of rope through the anchor and yells "look out below" then tosses the rope still coiled to dad. Dad looked up at son and said "Son you remind me allot of your mother, let's go fishing"
My friend and I ran into some "climbers" on an approach trail in the Witchita Mountain Wildlife Refuge a few years back. They saw our rope and gear and started up a conversation with us.
Climber: "you guys going climbing". I politely said "yes". Climber: Something like "We are climbing too". Me: "oh yeah". (Note: they had no packs and were wearing Nike's or something) Climber: "we don't use rope's, we just use there fingers!" Said with an attitude.