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By RedRockRat
Nov 2, 2012
All I survey. <br />
So recently I went to a new climbing gym while visiting my lady in the flat lands and had to do a belay check with the gym staff. No big deal SOP. Ok it costs 3$ to do a belay check....still no big deal. Staffer informs me that our technique (which is the AAI, AMGA, IFMGA, PCI approved techniques) are improper and we will have to pay the 45$ to take a basic belay class to climb. Ok now its a deal not a big one yet but a deal. I explain the methods and reasoning behind our technique. Still not budging. Still not a big deal but damn frustrating manager time, manager says hes never seen anyone use the method we are demonstrating and has never heard of the AMGA or AAI which were my two examples. Ok fine we'll go bouldering.

This gym seems to teach unsafe techniques as their mantra. What should one do? Was it just those two staffers or is the whole gym. Do I report unsafe behavior on such a large scale? Then who too? Its also the only gym or vertical rock within hours of my ladies home what is she supposed to do not climb for the next 3 months, build a home wall, just do endless pullups on a hang board?

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By amarius
Nov 2, 2012
Perhaps you could start by explaining which technique you were using, and what the gym was trying to teach?

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Nov 2, 2012
Bocan
I watched a girl take a lead test back clipping the entire way up. We said something to the instructer who then replied, "I'll tell her when she gets back down".

You read enough threads on gyms in general and you'll find quite a few examples of many different unsafe activities generating in the gym.

If it's that big of a deal to you, talk to the manager. You might have to play by their rules regardless.

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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 2, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on
brake an ankle and sue

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By Josh Kornish
From Missoula, MT
Nov 2, 2012
Humboldt Bouldering
Vertical World - (Seattle Vicinity). Exact same thing. Just incredibly ignorant staff.

Honestly the least pleasurable gym I ever went to and will not go back.

Send them a link with AMGA and AAI approved techniques.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Nov 2, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Scott McMahon wrote:
I watched a girl take a lead test back clipping the entire way up. We said something to the instructer who then replied, "I'll tell her when she gets back down". You read enough threads on gyms in general and you'll find quite a few examples of many different unsafe activities generating in the gym. If it's that big of a deal to you, talk to the manager. You might have to play by their rules regardless.

Why was it wrong to tell her when she got back down to the ground? The dangers of backclipping are still remote compared to the danger of a gripped out gumbie trying to fix the problem mid-route. I think that waiting to tell her and not freaking her out mid-route is probably not all that bad a decision.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 2, 2012
I remember a few years back I had just finished my Rock Instructor course and had gone to visit my friends in San Jose- we went to Planet Granite Sunnyvale and I almost failed my belay test because they insisted I use the Pinch and Slide method of belay. My friend thankfully intervened, otherwise I would have probably gotten kicked out by flipping out on the guy.

Bottom line: The gym is a private establishment and they are free to create whatever rules they see fit to create. You just have to roll with it. The best you could do is approach the gym manager or owner and see if they would be willing to at least hear your concerns.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Nov 2, 2012
John Wilder wrote:
I remember a few years back I had just finished my Rock Instructor course and had gone to visit my friends in San Jose- we went to Planet Granite Sunnyvale and I almost failed my belay test because they insisted I use the Pinch and Slide method of belay. My friend thankfully intervened, otherwise I would have probably gotten kicked out by flipping out on the guy. Bottom line: The gym is a private establishment and they are free to create whatever rules they see fit to create. You just have to roll with it. The best you could do is approach the gym manager or owner and see if they would be willing to at least hear your concerns.

A little OT, but what method do you prefer?

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Nov 2, 2012
Bocan
csproul wrote:
Why was it wrong to tell her when she got back down to the ground? The dangers of backclipping are still remote compared to the danger of a gripped out gumbie trying to fix the problem mid-route. I think that waiting to tell her and not freaking her out mid-route is probably not all that bad a decision.


Because she was only half way up the route. He basically intended to let her do it all the way to the top, which is also what he did. A simple "hey clip the other direction" would have helped. I'd rather not have someone wait to tell me that I've put myself in a dangerous situation, but that's just my opinion of course.

Oh and some context I saw this girl have to retake her test like on 4 seperate occasions. Luckily nothing came of it, but he should have instructed her better. She was on her 3rd backclipped draw before we even mentioned it to him.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Nov 2, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Scott McMahon wrote:
Because she was only half way up the route. He basically intended to let her do it all the way to the top, which is also what he did. A simple "hey clip the other direction" would have helped. Oh and some context I saw this girl have to retake her test like on 4 seperate occasions. Luckily nothing came of it, but he should have instructed her better. She was on her 3rd backclipped draw before we even mentioned it to him. I'd rather not have someone wait to tell me that I've put myself in a dangerous situation, but that's just my opinion of course.

Sure she shouldn't have done it in the first place and should have been taught better, but it is still going to less safe to let it be than to have her unclip the rope and reclip it, risking a fall while doing so. I'd rather she fell on a backclipped rope than one that was not clipped at all. The risks associated with backclipping are far less than the risk of unclipping the rope and fumbling to get it reclipped. Fail her from the test and make sure she understands what she did wrong and teach her to do it the correct way. But stopping her in the middle of the test and potentially putting her in a less safe position doesn't make any sense to me.

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Nov 2, 2012
Bocan
csproul wrote:
Sure she shouldn't have done it in the first place and should have been taught better, but it is still going to less safe to let it be than to have her unclip the rope and reclip it, risking a fall while doing so. I'd rather she fell on a backclipped rope than one that was not clipped at all. The risks associated with backclipping are far less than the risk of unclipping the rope and fumbling to get it reclipped. Fail her from the test and make sure she understands what she did wrong and teach her to do it the correct way. But stopping her in the middle of the test and potentially putting her in a less safe position doesn't make any sense to me.


I agree with you, I was thinking more along of the lines of the NEXT bolt advise her to clip correctly, instead of letting her go the entire route backclipping. Not necessarily fixing the bad draws.

haha and yeah I'd rather have a bc draw than no draw at all.

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By mission
Nov 2, 2012
csproul wrote:
Sure she shouldn't have done it in the first place and should have been taught better, but it is still going to less safe to let it be than to have her unclip the rope and reclip it, risking a fall while doing so. I'd rather she fell on a backclipped rope than one that was not clipped at all. The risks associated with backclipping are far less than the risk of unclipping the rope and fumbling to get it reclipped. Fail her from the test and make sure she understands what she did wrong and teach her to do it the correct way. But stopping her in the middle of the test and potentially putting her in a less safe position doesn't make any sense to me.


Is making her lower not an option?

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Nov 2, 2012
Bocan
mission wrote:
Is making her lower not an option?


Touche'...I think we both missed that!

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Nov 2, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Scott McMahon wrote:
Touche'...I think we both missed that!

Both very good points!

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 2, 2012
David Horgan wrote:
A little OT, but what method do you prefer?


Pretty much anything but the pinch and slide, a method that hasnt been taught by the AMGA in years. the BUS (Bump, under, slide) method is the new one- where you use one hand for backup while sliding the other while its in the brake position, not the feeding position as it is for the pinch and slide method.

(for a grigri, it doesnt really matter, but for an ATC, the pinch and slide creates a weak point in the system if a climber falls while the belayer is sliding their hand down the rope)

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By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 2, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
John Wilder wrote:
(for a grigri, it doesnt really matter, but for an ATC, the pinch and slide creates a weak point in the system if a climber falls while the belayer is sliding their hand down the rope)



??? Never ever saw that as a 'weak point'. That sliding hand isn't just loose on the rope. It's gripped on the rope. It's a well tested and trusted belay method that allows for complete rope management when using an ATC. Agree is sure doesn't work with a grigri. I think belay devices these days dictate what kind of belay method you will use, so a REAL professional gym should be well trained in just about any kind of device to allow for belaying. That would take alot of effort on the gym's part of course. maybe they just need to hire some smart all purpose all-belay-device climbers instead. I own at least 10 different styles of belay plate or device. Management of each one takes practice of course.

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By michaeltarne
Nov 2, 2012
I work at a climbing wall, and after teaching lots of people how to belay, the pinch and slide method isn't inherently less safe, but it's a hell of a lot easier to screw up. And then bad things happen.

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By Ross Henry
Nov 3, 2012
me in seneca
Chances are if its not a certified method, then there is something wrong with it--point out why its dangerous. Then ask them why the official method is bad? Probably already did this, definitely seems ridiculous

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By Medic741
From Pittsford, New York
Nov 3, 2012
When I was a bum at Frey
Noob+pinch slide=grabs wrong rope in'scary' fall. Bad. Especially with atcs

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By richie
From englewood, tn
Nov 3, 2012
you should have used a hip belay

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 3, 2012
michaeltarne wrote:
I work at a climbing wall, and after teaching lots of people how to belay, the pinch and slide method isn't inherently less safe, but it's a hell of a lot easier to screw up. And then bad things happen.


bingo. which is why the AMGA stopped teaching it years ago. we're talking about belay certs at climbing gyms for people who have little/no belaying experience, not people who have been climbing for a decade or more and caught hundreds/thousands of falls.

edit: and the sliding moment is a weak point for the pinch and slide, because the moment when your hand is above the device is the moment of least friction available. this is not to say its impossible to make a catch- its not, but again, with a panicing noob who has had little experience, its a damn dangerous moment.

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By Allen Corneau
From Houston, TX
Nov 3, 2012
Our gym teaches an awkward method that does nothing for teaching people how to really belay, it's just about pulling rope though the Grigri.

The one thing going for it is it's very likely that the noob-belayer will keep at least one hand on the break side of the rope at all times. The bad thing is it's not uncommon for me to see said noob-belayers with their hands up by their chins while the climber is siting on the rope after a fall.

Ugh.

Anyway... does anyone know an official name for the style of TR belaying where you're constantly switching break/guide hands? I call it the "Euro-swap" but I've never come across anyone else that knows it, much less knows the "official" name for it.

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By Em Cos
From Boulder, CO
Nov 3, 2012
I've heard it called the french flop, and it's useful when your partner is moving fast over easy terrain.

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By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Nov 3, 2012
Mathematical!
mission wrote:
Is making her lower not an option?


That's our policy at the gym I work for. If you back clip or z-clip during a belay test, it's an auto fail, and the climber has to lower and try again another day.

I wonder what it is about gyms that seem to breed such idiotic behavior. I like climbing in the gym, but I learned to climb outside with a proper climbing mentor before I ever got a gym membership. Could that be the difference? Does it just boil down to "real world" experience?

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By michaeltarne
Nov 3, 2012
You're definitely an exception. I climbed in a gym before I climbed outside and most (all) of my climbing partners are the same way. And at least in the gym I work at 99.9% of people that come through don't have any interest in going outside; some don't even realize the correlation between gym climbing and real climbing. Something along the lines of "whoa, you climb outside? That must be really hard."

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By matt davies
Nov 3, 2012
RedRockRat wrote:
So recently I went to a new climbing gym while visiting my lady in the flat lands and had to do a belay check with the gym staff. No big deal SOP. Ok it costs 3$ to do a belay check....still no big deal. Staffer informs me that our technique (which is the AAI, AMGA, IFMGA, PCI approved techniques) are improper and we will have to pay the 45$ to take a basic belay class to climb. Ok now its a deal not a big one yet but a deal. I explain the methods and reasoning behind our technique. Still not budging. Still not a big deal but damn frustrating manager time, manager says hes never seen anyone use the method we are demonstrating and has never heard of the AMGA or AAI which were my two examples. Ok fine we'll go bouldering. This gym seems to teach unsafe techniques as their mantra. What should one do? Was it just those two staffers or is the whole gym. Do I report unsafe behavior on such a large scale? Then who too? Its also the only gym or vertical rock within hours of my ladies home what is she supposed to do not climb for the next 3 months, build a home wall, just do endless pullups on a hang board?

The above is outrageous and unacceptable. It denigrates the very spirit of the sport.

FLAG


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