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By kilonot
Sep 10, 2012

You are climbing with someone for the first time whom you connected with through the MP partner finder. They claim to have similar or greater experience than you and are leading trad.

You are leading a pitch. You mantle onto a large ledge. Think three feet wide with grass and bushes, but sloping outward. You pause for a minute or two to find a gear placement, plug in a tricam, sling it long and then attempt to start climbing again but suddenly run into immense rope drag, despite the pitch being dead straight. You call down to your belayer asking if they can see what's causing the drag. Since you can't possibly continue climbing with this much drag, even on 5.4, you start looking around for a place to build a belay. You see a tree off to the right and head over to it fighting immense drag the entire way. When you reach the tree, you look down at your belayer and see him texting. Not only is he texting, but to your amazement, he is texting with both hands. You yank some slack through the belay device and he doesn't even look up. You sling the tree and clove to it to make yourself safe and watch your belayer for several minutes, firing off texts with the dexterity of a 13 year old girl. At this point you realize that all that drag was not from the pro but from your belayer not feeding you rope.

In this little story, the rope belongs to the belayer and all the pro, about 10 pieces which were protecting the pitch, belong to the climber. The belayer is using an ATC-XP.

I'll stop the story here and have your opinions on what happens next.


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

Things like that happen...that's why u weed out. Simple: dump! End of story


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Sep 10, 2012
Bocan

bail and rap down on anchors made from his gear.


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By kilonot
Sep 10, 2012

Scott McMahon wrote:
bail and rap down on anchors made from his gear.
The gear belongs to the climber.


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By Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 10, 2012
Great quality rock on this one!

piss on him.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Sep 10, 2012
Bocan

ZachR wrote:
The gear belongs to the climber.


Oh oops...one eye-ing it this morning.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Sep 10, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

you should DEFINITELY put his name on MP so people know not to climb with this ass-clown in the future.


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Sep 10, 2012
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

If it was truly that bad, I might even post their name up here. They shouldn't be offering themselves as a competent partner here on MP.


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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Sep 10, 2012

ZachR wrote:
You are climbing with someone for the first time whom you connected with through the MP partner finder. They claim to have similar or greater experience than you and are leading trad. You are leading a pitch. You mantle onto a large ledge. Think three feet wide with grass and bushes, but sloping outward. You pause for a minute or two to find a gear placement, plug in a tricam, sling it long and then attempt to start climbing again but suddenly run into immense rope drag, despite the pitch being dead straight. You call down to your belayer asking if they can see what's causing the drag. Since you can't possibly continue climbing with this much drag, even on 5.4, you start looking around for a place to build a belay. You see a tree off to the right and head over to it fighting immense drag the entire way. When you reach the tree, you look down at your belayer and see him texting. Not only is he texting, but to your amazement, he is texting with both hands. You yank some slack through the belay device and he doesn't even look up. You sling the tree and clove to it to make yourself safe and watch your belayer for several minutes, firing off texts with the dexterity of a 13 year old girl. At this point you realize that all that drag was not from the pro but from your belayer not feeding you rope. In this little story, the rope belongs to the belayer and all the pro, about 10 pieces which were protecting the pitch, belong to the climber. The belayer is using an ATC-XP. I'll stop the story here and have your opinions on what happens next.


Obviously it'd be time to rap and call it a day.

But for next time, with a different partner, would you have asked more questions prior to deciding whether to meet up with them or not? Gone to a gym with them first?

I recently met up with someone via MP and our outside trad plan got shut down by weather so we went to a gym instead, and another established partner of mine met us there. By the time the drive and the gym visit were over, I was confident that I'd feel very comfortable climbing outside with her, and that turned out to be exactly the case when we went climbing outside the next two days.

Even though I hadn't intended to "screen" her so intensively (her resume looked more than adequate to guarantee a safe belay), I was thinking in hindsight that if I was a little unsure about someone, a gym would be a good place to make up my mind.


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By Eric D
From Gnarnia
Sep 10, 2012
Born again on the last move of the Red Dihedral, high Sierras.

I have climbed with people from MP here and there. I have decided that I would rather not climb than climb with someone I don't know.


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

M Sprague wrote:
If it was truly that bad, I might even post their name up here. They shouldn't be offering themselves as a competent partner here on MP.

Silly talk. Everybody thinks of themselves as entitled to be climbed with. Its your responsibility to determine your new partners abilities and is he or is he not full of shit. Like a job interview. That's why there are rules on how to climb with new partners!


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

Eric D wrote:
I have climbed with people from MP here and there. I have decided that I would rather not climb than climb with someone I don't know.

I rope solo or pull people off self belays at gyms ...of course new partner rules always apply. Its a gamble!


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By Eric Krantz
From Black Hills
Sep 10, 2012
smoke break, pitch 5 or 6 (or 7??) of Dark Shadows

ZachR wrote:
You call down to your belayer asking if they can see what's causing the drag.


What was the response? Was there a response? They didn't feed more rope?

Depending on who drove to the trailhead: Tie the rope around the tree and rap down. Then, "Bye!"


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By ROC
From Englewood, CO
Sep 10, 2012

Had a similar texting incident happen to me with a long time partner of about 7 years. That was the last time we roped up together.


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By Sir Spanxalot
Sep 10, 2012
no

I smell a troll, but I heard of a guy in UT getting pretty f--ked up by a belayer taking in slack because he wasn't paying attention (texting) and pulled the guy off!

First, were you outta earshot? I'da yelled "hey f--ko WTF do you think you are doing?". I would have proceeded to get myself safe and get back to the ground by fixing his rope to that tree and single line rapping while pulling my gear. When I reached the ground, I would have proceeded to pound his face with my fist!

I have climbed with strangers, and when I was unable to have another partner their to verify safty from the ground, I went to a crag with a very familiar climb and did the old belay test.

Your lucky buddy, coulda been much worse!


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By kilonot
Sep 10, 2012

Eric Krantz wrote:
What was the response? Was there a response? They didn't feed more rope? Depending on who drove to the trailhead: Tie the rope around the tree and rap down. Then, "Bye!"


There was no response.

Separate cars.

And leave $400+ of gear in the cliff?


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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Sep 10, 2012

Shit in his backpack when safely back on the ground.


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By Eric Coffman
Sep 10, 2012
mountainlion

I had a similar experience meeting a partner over the internet (but many good ones to this one bad one). Only difference was they were honest and told me they wouldn't be comfortable leading. I was okay to lead everything anyways. They turned down weed and alcohol the night before the climb while hanging with me and a few friends but instead snuck off to do some hard drugs (pills? we don't know what but they were out of it 15 minutes after doing whatever they did). I made the decision not to climb with them in the morning and took them home. I hope you made the same decision. We do this to live not to die. I took them home even though I had soloed the multipitch route I had planned to take them up. I let them know they didn't deserve to climb at Tahquitz if they had to hide what they were doing when we were upfront about our party scene.


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

Its disturbing to hear some responses what people 'would have done' ...excrements aside...get to safety and tell the guy why u think he is not being safe. Be professional about it. Seriously it shows your own character.


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By Jonas Salk
Sep 10, 2012

The term "penalty slack" comes to mind. So what did you end up doing? And for goodness sake, post up the name so no one ends up getting a crappy belay from this person again. Who knows, maybe a public shaming will make them change their ways.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Sep 10, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

BigJuggsjohnson wrote:
Silly talk. Everybody thinks of themselves as entitled to be climbed with. Its your responsibility to determine your new partners abilities and is he or is he not full of shit. Like a job interview. That's why there are rules on how to climb with new partners!


The amount of senseless bullshit you post has reached an epidemic proportion here. Why is it "silly talk" to call someone out that presents themselves to be a viable and safe partner on being just the opposite? What Zach described, if accurate, is a pretty blatant disregard for another person's life. If that doesn't deserve to be highlighted, what does?

I have a good friend that is a teacher and basically camps out at the NRG almost all summer and picks up with random parties because myself and others can't make it up there for all the time that he is there. Obviously you've never hopped on with people you don't know. Try that once: "Hey guys, how's it going? I just need you to fill out this questionnaire and go through a short series of tests adminstered by me to ensure that you can competently belay". Let me know how not climbing after setting up camp almost 6 hours from home works out for you.

There are subtle things you can watch if you know what to look for- although I doubt you know what some of them are. If people fumble knots, if they have to reload their belay device because they fed it backward the first time. If a guy can sit there and tie his knot flawlessly while talking beta on the route he's probably done this a few times. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean he's a great belayer, but it's probably a safe bet that he is.

What are these "rules" you refer to? How would you conduct your "job interview" without basically offending someone you just met and exposing your predisposition to the fear that they could perhaps be a clueless and unsafe noob?

Other than checking them out in a gym, watching them belay someone else that actually falls, or getting on something you know you can pull- there is no sure-fire way of determining belaying skill of a stranger- and even then, if you can do all three of the above, that's still not guaranteeing anything. Sometimes you just have to trust people and go with your gut feeling. That's way easier to do when you're on 5.easy as opposed to something near your limit that you could fall on.


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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Sep 10, 2012

Eric D wrote:
I have climbed with people from MP here and there. I have decided that I would rather not climb than climb with someone I don't know.


This stance could present some logistical hurdles for a person new to the sport who does not know any climbers.

For what it's worth, I've met 4 of my principal partners online, some of whom I've been climbing with for over 10 years and now are good friends. Glad I didn't miss out on that...you just have go slow and size things up, just like you would with someone you met any other way.


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Sep 10, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

As long as he was using a gri-gri everythings cool, climb on!


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

Ha! I have my says of checking people' s abilities without endangering anybody. Besides in the bluntest instance I told the person he is a weak leader, pointed his mistakes several times prior to that ( all safety ) . Heck yea his ego got bruised but so what ? he got over it. Im not climbing with people who are not safe or incompatible personality. Offended? OK then spare me!


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Sep 10, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

Zach, what'd you do? I would've put myself in direct like you did and yelled down to the belayer, "hey, put your phone down. You are responsible for my life right now, please pay attention and put your brake hand on... NOW!" They need to see that this is serious and you are NOT COOL with what they are doing. I can't say I would've felt comfortable climbing the remainder with this doofas, but out of principle, I wouldn't want to bail and leave MY gear either... Tough spot to be in.

Also: Can you PM me who it was? I can understand not wanting to publicly post this person's name here. But I would love to know so I don't die from unknowingly climbing with someone who's belay is fatally irresponsible.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Sep 10, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

BigJuggsjohnson wrote:
Ha! I have my says of checking people' s abilities without endangering anybody.


I'll assume you meant "ways". What are your ways? I'm interested to read them. What made this guy a "weak leader"? And if he's leading, assuming you have the coherence to correct a shitty anchor on which your life rests, what danger were you in personally other than rock fall perhaps?

May I remind you that this thread, you know, the one we're currently in, one you commented in just minutes ago, is about a guy that was leading with unsafe belaying, not the other way around. So your anecdote is useless. Another woeful example where you've managed to type a couple paragraphs without ever actually saying anything.


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