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#37347 - 05/29/08 03:31 AM A very upsetting incident
Dana Offline
addict

Registered: 07/13/00
Posts: 619
This past Sunday afternoon my partner and I, Dana B., were topping out to the right of the Madame G's buttress. We noticed a young woman at the top rap station, in position to cast off, who hadn't moved for quite a while. We were close enough to hear her talking to her partner - he was at the lower set of bolts on the Northern Pillar face - and what she was saying was pretty frightening. "Michael, are you sure this is right? I'm terrified. I'm really scared." Her partner's response? "Just lean back and do it." This exchange got repeated several times until finally we felt as if we had to intervene (we had no desire to watch a 200 foot ground fall) and it quickly became clear that she had no idea what she was doing and no idea if her set up was safe, correct, etc. (Us: Are both strands of the rope through your rap device? Her: I don't know.) I shot up to the top, scrambled down and found someone terrified and on the verge of crying. But she wouldn't unhook and come with me - and I spent some time trying to persuade her to do so - because, she said, her partner would be angry and disappointed if she didn't do the rap. All I could do was make sure everything was right and give her as much encouragement and advice as I could, and fortunately she made it down - although her performance was very unsettling to watch.

I'm sure that guy will never read this post, but in case he does, I'd just like him to know that I've been climbing almost 40 years, climbed all over the US and Europe, been coming to the 'Gunks for 35 years, met thousands and thousands of climbers . . . and buddy, you are the biggest asshole I've ever seen. By far.

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#37360 - 05/29/08 01:53 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Dana]
wombat Offline
member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
i think that i am going to only climb by headlamp and at millbrook during April/May from now on. Too much scariness until the numnuts start going to the beach come june. sure wish i could climb weekdays and skip the weekend lunacy before i see someone die

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#37365 - 05/29/08 02:36 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Dana]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Dana,

Major kudos to you for trying to help. I'm sure that even though she was terrified, she did feel better for having you around.

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#37367 - 05/29/08 02:41 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Julie]
phil Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/12/01
Posts: 2627
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
The last time I was hanging around on the cliffs, I came back to work to so relaxed... what happened to the climbers who just wanted to work on thier tans and smoke dope?

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#37370 - 05/29/08 03:54 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Dana]
Dana Offline
addict

Registered: 07/13/00
Posts: 619
Editor's note. The text should have read; "My partner, Dana B., and I . . . " By a wild coincidence, my regular climbing partner and I have the same first name and the same last initial.


Edited by Dana (05/29/08 03:55 PM)

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#37381 - 05/29/08 05:58 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Dana]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I've told this story on various forums including this one, I think, but I'm gettin' old so y'all should cut me slack for repeating myself.

Years ago, Joe Kelsey and I rescued a woman from a Canadian Alpine Guide on a rock climb in Banff. She was obviously a very new climber; this might have even been her first time out---she literally still had price tags hanging on some of her gear. The Guide had chosen a route whose second pitch had a 60 foot 5.5 traverse under an overhang with, I think, two pitons protecting the second about 20 feet apart. When Joe and I arrived at the
belay stance, the Guide was at the next belay out of sight above the overhang and the young woman was scratching fearfully at one of the 5.5 moves with the rope running from her 20 feet out to the left to the first piton. The Guide was screaming at her that "you could ride a bicycle across that traverse," and she was in tears.

We explained to her that she had engaged an a$$hole [the correct spelling was censored-why didn't this happen to Dana?] of the proportions described above by Dana and that her fears were totally reasonable. If she fell, she would take a huge pendulum and end up hanging twenty feet or more below the traverse, perhaps not even able to touch the rock because the traverse was undercut. This was in the days before harnesses, and a person hanging from their waist was thought to have about 20 minutes, perhaps less, before they died of suffocation, unless they knew some tricks that certainly weren't in her repetoire.

We offered her the choice of a back belay or being lowered to the ground. She wisely chose being lowered over continuing in the company of an idiot who was willing to expose her (for a substantial fee, mind you) to the kind of dangers she currently faced. So she untied from the Guide, tied in to our rope, we provided her with a figure-eight seat sling and lowered her a full rope-length to the ground. She untied and walked off through the woods sobbing, as the Guide cursed and screamed above us.

We were pretty apprehensive about continuing the climb and meeting up with the enraged Guide, but as it turned out he soloed off in a huff and we never saw him or the young woman again.

In my experience, the phenomenom of "experienced" men abusing "inexperienced" women on climbs, sometimes just psychologically but other times, perhaps, putting them in real danger, is neither new nor rare. Why some men do this to women they presumably have positive feelings for is one of the enduring mysteries, to me anyway, of relations between the sexes.

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#37388 - 05/29/08 06:44 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: rg@ofmc]
wombat Offline
member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
i am not sure that its a gender thing as much as an asshole thing (lets see if I get the $'s).

Several years ago i climbed Whitney East Buttress with a cpl friends and guides from Sierra Mountaineering. The lead guide was the son of a Teton legend and an asshole of epic proportions. The trip started off great when he tried to insist we climb the East Face so they could show the route to a visiting Austrian guide (who wasnt officially working but turned out to be the only decent one of the lot). We had to threaten to call his boss to get the climb we booked.

I was battling a bit of a stomach bug but everything went great until the shit hit the fan at about 14,000 (literally). By the time i made it back to iceberg lake I was hallucinating from dehydration and so cramped i could hardly walk. the guide had two apparent plans: 1) press on through the night and 2) when that was vetoed, stay in their own tents and let my friends take care of me through the night. They didnt recognize the symptons of dehydration (i believe his diagnosis was a viral infection) and couldnt be troubled to heat properly heat water enough to make cup o soup when it was the only thing that i could choke down. My friends went to bed hungry because he completely ignored the food preference sheets we filled out and didnt bring enough food they liked. With some fluids, i was fine by morning. the austrian was the only one to bother to check on the condition of their client and the head guide tried to sell us photos from the trip at the bottom.

there are too many examples of people (guides and non-guides) who show too little consideration for the responsibility that they have when taking new climbers out.

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#37392 - 05/29/08 07:19 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: wombat]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
hmm there's a climb that was put up by gunks local called Montezuma's Revenge in the Whitney area. from what i was told it was sh!t hitting the climb and climbing partner


Edited by talus (05/29/08 07:26 PM)
_________________________
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#37393 - 05/29/08 07:32 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: talus]
wombat Offline
member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
funny. I was more considerate of my fellow climbers. the latrine on top (which i think was removed) was certainly the most scenic throne i have been on.

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#37433 - 05/30/08 02:55 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: wombat]
Bolt_Skytop Offline
addict

Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 422
Loc: New Paltz, New York
I used that toilet in July of 2000. It is one of my favorite photos and definetely the most scenic toilet I have ever shit on.

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#37569 - 06/04/08 02:17 AM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Bolt_Skytop]
acdnyc Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 208
Loc: NYC/Kerhonkson
Back in the 20th Century a guy and I started to talk about what gyms we climbed at as we set TRs above Kens Crack and that 5.10 to the right. Me, 59th St, he laughed and asked why I would climb there. Because it's cheap. I rapped down and got ready to climb while the other climber finished his joint and got ready to rap. I noticed a few 59ers walking by as I rapped and I said hi and they replied in kind. All of the sudden one of my fellow 59ers started screaming at the other climber as he leaned back to rap. I couldn’t see what was going on but the other guy finally rapped to the ground and he seemed a little paler than I remembered him.
He had forgotten to put both sides of his rope through his belay device and if I hadn’t been a 59er my friend wouldn’t have seen his mistake and he would of come down head first on or between the boulder by Ken’s.
If he hadn’t been an ass I might have stayed around to see his mistake and helped him out. He basically got luck.
_________________________
jugs or mugs

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#37572 - 06/04/08 01:11 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Bolt_Skytop]
mikeharo Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/06/06
Posts: 6
What happened to the climbers who just wanted to work on their tan....??????

Its much cooler to tell everyone that you're a badass rock climber than to actual figure out that you enjoy something and then work toward becoming good at it. I can't wait until ice gets more popular and the uneducated macho men take over that...then the real fun starts.

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#37573 - 06/04/08 03:06 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: mikeharo]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Umm.. it's happening already!
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#37580 - 06/04/08 07:30 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Dillbag]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
its really too bad that guides act thaqt way. Hopefully the AMGA process will improve the level of professionalism, since guiding has notyhing to do about the guide but everything to do with the client. A guide who is an awesome climber is a worthless guide unless they understand the client thing.

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#37584 - 06/04/08 08:18 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Chas]
wombat Offline
member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
i believe that you can be a good guide w/out AMGA training, but I have had much better experience with those that did. Likewise, friends who had undergone the training also seem to benefit. As Chas notes, guiding is about providing a service to a client, including quality of experience in addition to safety and accomplishment. The hardcore climber may actually have a personality very incompatible with guiding. I am hopeful that the AMGA will help the situation, and in return, the industry will be structured to provide a decent wage to more than just a few owners and celebrities.

With the exception of a few non-certified guides that I know, I always recommend to friends that they retain someone with at least some AMGA training, and that they should be willing to pay a bit more for it.

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#37589 - 06/04/08 10:58 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: wombat]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I hope it is clear that my account reflects on one particular individual and not on the guiding profession in general. The incident I described happened perhaps 40 years ago, and a lot has changed in the US and Canada in the guide education process. Nonetheless, the literature going back to Willi Unsoeld and Gaston Rebuffat (and perhaps further) makes it clear that the guide climbs for his client and not for himself; there's nothing new about that.

On the other hand, not every sobbing or panicky second is prima facie evidence of an abusive leader. It seems to me that guides and others who take on teaching roles have an obligation to the sport as well as an obligation to their clients, and there is perhaps a conflict between these obligations. Although I certainly don't condone the kind of abuse Dana and I have described, I also believe that in attempting to shield beginners from all physical and psychic discomforts, climbing itself may be changed to a blander and apparently less risky, more mainstream pursuit, with a lot more paticipants clamoring for the same resources and exerting growing pressure to remove aspects that used to be fundamental. We already have the plaisir climbing movements in Europe to confirm this trend.

To give a more practical idea of what I'm speaking of, some time back I recounted that when I was guiding, as a matter of principle I never did any top-roping and always made sure that beginners (with no prior experience) did an (easy) multipitch climb on their first day. This description stimulated a lot of flak, with a number of people saying that the terror of getting that high on the first day would have prevented them from ever pursuing the sport, which they only now enjoyed thanks to a protracted period of top-roping at relatively low elevations.

My response was that if something about getting up high and moving upward over rock didn't grab you and make you want to do more, even if you were afraid at times, then climbing really wasn't for you. (For the record, I am not speaking of an experience in which you are left alone on the cliff face, out of contact with the leader, to cope with whatever difficulties present themselves.)

For this attempt at revealing what climbing was about, I was accused of elitism, that modern all-purpose knee-jerk attack, typically offered and accepted without even a shred of thought about whether there is, in reality, anything hierarchical about the situation at hand. (Most recently, we've heard Hillary Clinton, that dyed-in-the-wool commoner, disparage "elite opinion," in this case the virtually unanimous agreement of every economist in the country not actually associated her campaign.)

So in addition to abusive leaders, there are also people who are really in need of another form recreation. In the most abusive of all relations, those people are made to feel inadequate for who they are.

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#37600 - 06/05/08 02:44 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: rg@ofmc]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Its pretty easy to say that if a beginner doesn't take to heights right away (s)he will never be a true climber, but in reality there is a continiuim from the person that is found quaking in the shoes 10ft off the ground and Honnold or Reardon, and most of us fall somewhere in between. The person who is closer to the former should really think about will this be really right for them, and who knows maybe it will be.

And this IS coming from an elitist pig (I really think that most people should be able to climb 5.11+ to 5.13 trad if theyt would really try since if I can any one can, and I've worked with women that lead that level within 3 years of climbing).


Edited by Chas (06/05/08 03:04 PM)

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#37601 - 06/05/08 03:04 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: rg@ofmc]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
I used to teach the tie-in class at the BRG, and I always told the story of my first time climbing:

I went up three feet, indoor wall, and had.to.come.down.NOW!

I'm sure I would have failed your test, RG. Yet time has proven me ... guilty as any other climber. So I'd agree with Chas that there's a continuum of folks out there, and that their first experiences don't always extrapolate to needing another form of recreation.

I don't find it elitist of you; but I don't see the need to 'test' people, either - it's as disrespectful to the entire human before you, as any other form of ultimatum. You just can't sum up a human being in one ... anything.

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#37609 - 06/05/08 06:42 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Well, first of all, doing a multipitch climb is not some kind of specialized test. It's just climbing, or it used to be. Second of all, I think both Chas and Julie may have misunderstood my point. The issue is not what you felt on your first climb, it is whether you want to come back. Climbers of all levels of experience get scared, in fact some people claim that getting scared and dealing with it is part of the attraction of climbing. Consider, for example, John Cleare writing in Rock Climbers in Action in Snowdonia:

After all, among other things we climb for thrills. For that tingle in the instep, for that hot damp fear on the finger-tips.

I guess we won't be reading that anytime soon in an American publication, but acknowledged or not, performance under stress is an integral part of climbing. This doesn't mean you purposely go about frightening a beginner, but it also needn't mean that you sanitize the experience to the point that it no longer represents the real thing. I actually think the modern approach, which slowly but surely convinces many people not to be afraid when they should be, is potentially dangerous, and to some extent accounts for the idiotic behavior on the crag we see more and more of.

Julie had to come down after three feet on an indoor wall---but she came back. I don't know what she was trying that day, but I see beginners in the gym regularly put on pumpy steep routes for their first experience. Coming from a mountaineering background and having spent the majority of my climbing time as a back-country rock-climber, I guess I think the essence of climbing is being outside and getting up to the top of something, not conquering some minute patch of difficulty and lowering off. I'll bet anything that with appropriate encouragement and a careful leader who insured easy and direct communication at all times, Julie, who came down after three feet in the gym, could have done, say, Northern Pillar. In the several years I guided, I never had anyone insist that they had to go down, and I always made it clear that we could go down if the experience was too much. There were only one or two people who didn't come back for more (with me), so assuming I encountered a fairly broad sample of the spectrum Chas mentioned, it doesn't seem as if the approach I described was a very severe "test."

I did have a client who refused to start. We hiked up the boulder field, and when we got to the base of the cliff, she said, "Gee, that was just great! Thanks so much for this experience!" I said, "Uh...you're welcome...um...actually, this is where we start climbing..."

She looked up at the cliff and said, "Are you crazy? I'm not going up there!"

So we walked over to Skytop, did the "rough path" from the hotel to the Crevice, visited the tower, had a milkshake in the visitor's pavillion, and made a day of scrambling out of it. I told her about other things of the same sort she could do in the Gunks and at Breakneck, and some more advanced scrambles she could aspire to in the Adirondaks. I offered to cut my fee in half since we hadn't done any "real climbing," but she said it was everything she had wanted and paid in full. I saw her several times after that on the carriage road and was always greeted warmly.

Many of the climbers I know seem to be anxious to convince everyone else to become climbers too. There can be an almost evangelical air about them. I think we have enough climbers, thank you very much, and we don't need to encourage it. By all means help and mentor those who are interested, but stop devising ways to get people into the sport who never would have done it.

This is, of course, a geezer's rant, the belated cry of the boy within the man who discovered a love for the mountains. I understand (and even revel in) my irrelevance to the modern scene, so carry on...

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#37610 - 06/05/08 08:04 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: rg@ofmc]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
rg, great story! At least she had the sense to back off BEFORE she had the chance to turn into the stereotypical screaming beginner.

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#37611 - 06/05/08 08:09 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: pedestrian]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4275
Loc: Poughkeepsie
I had a client a couple years ago who never even made it to the climb. We were half way up the talus slope in Stoney Clove and he got vertigo and couldn't continue up any higher. (He was fine later at Asbestos)

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#37612 - 06/05/08 08:20 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: rg@ofmc]
wombat Offline
member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
here here for the old man of the mountain! i understand that it is a NIMBY sentiment, but I really wish we could roll back the growth of climbing walls. They have created such a crush and that is just off the college gyms. I can't even imagine when the birthday party crowd gets older. it'll be like surfing in cali with people stacked up in droves on any decent break.

fortunately ice climbing is still considered kinda whacky and you cant do it in a gym. that it's cold and miserable and you always bleed helps keep the numbers down.

i do agree with Rich's point that too many people lack appropriate fear from too easy a learning process. Fear can be good

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#37613 - 06/05/08 08:21 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Mike Rawdon]
wombat Offline
member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
 Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
I had a client a couple years ago who never even made it to the climb. We were half way up the talus slope in Stoney Clove and he got vertigo and couldn't continue up any higher. (He was fine later at Asbestos)


so much for ice climbing as a refuge of the cranky and solitary

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#37614 - 06/05/08 08:43 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Mike Rawdon]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
 Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
I had a client a couple years ago who never even made it to the climb. We were half way up the talus slope in Stoney Clove and he got vertigo and couldn't continue up any higher. (He was fine later at Asbestos)


I don't blame him, that talus slope stinks. Especially when it's buried under 1.5 feet of new, unconsolidated snow: just enough so you can't see which rocks are going to shift underneath you, not enough to make the climb easier...

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#37615 - 06/05/08 08:48 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Mike Rawdon]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
I had a client a couple years ago who never even made it to the climb. We were half way up the talus slope in Stoney Clove and he got vertigo and couldn't continue up any higher. (He was fine later at Asbestos)


Who the hell in their right mind wants to go up that disaster of a talus slope???

If talus slopes had grades this would be 9+

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#37617 - 06/05/08 09:08 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: wombat]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
 Originally Posted By: wombat
here here for the old man of the mountain! i understand that it is a NIMBY sentiment, but I really wish we could roll back the growth of climbing walls. They have created such a crush and that is just off the college gyms. I can't even imagine when the birthday party crowd gets older. it'll be like surfing in cali with people stacked up in droves on any decent break.

fortunately ice climbing is still considered kinda whacky and you cant do it in a gym. that it's cold and miserable and you always bleed helps keep the numbers down.

i do agree with Rich's point that too many people lack appropriate fear from too easy a learning process. Fear can be good


I don't think they have an inappropriate amount of fear. I think that many of them have what I think is an appropriate amount of fear (if you look at the statistics, the death rates are going down). I'm a sort of old fart that looks forward to them getting strong and into it. A climb that I've been trying recently, (a thin crack climb protected through a very long crux with aid only cams and then opens to an offwidth- and goes in the hard .12/easy .13 range (atleast thatis the range of grades given by the handful that have done it). The kid just totally walked the route. The kid has taken his strength from sports climbing (the local .13d's bore him), developed good trad skills and now just walks the routes I'm working. I'm happy to see that kind of talent.

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#37619 - 06/05/08 09:54 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Chas]
wombat Offline
member

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
chas - i think your kid might be a little bit of an exception. Aside from a few genetic freaks, it takes a pretty good amount of work to sport climb 13d and "easy" 13 trad. hats off to those that climb any routes that i can't and won't be able to climb. i certainly have nothing against the talented, but rather the reckless and the careless who don't have respect for the sport, the environment and other people around them. And I hate the crowds, who tend to be more populous on the easier climbs that I am on.

i dont have the data sets to adequately weigh the death or injury rates versus various types of climbers and improvements in gear. fortunately, there seems to be alot of good fortune and resilience that keeps people safe

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#37624 - 06/05/08 10:58 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: wombat]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Chas, I'd be interested in seeing the statistics on death rates in climbing over the years. Could you give me a reference for your statement?

Meanwhile, my remarks about the fear desensitization process comes from observations at the gym combined with what seems to be a steady parade of fiascos on the rock.

Consider the latest High E extravaganza, for example. What could the leader have been thinking? How did the second and third manage to agree to this arrangement? A little appropriate fear ahead of time would have avoided a major panic attack and rope mutilation incident later on.

Years ago people used to be afraid of High E. It was exposed and pumpy, even if the holds are big. Now a guy who can't do it without hanging on every piece takes two people up it, presumably less capable then him and without any of the basic skills needed to help themselves, ties them 15 feet apart, and then belays in the woods out of effective communication range. To my mind, only a touching faith that climbing is way safer than it really is would allow three people to acquiesce to a process so loaded with pitfalls. One can't help but wonder whether all judgement is suspended once the harness buckle is doubled back and and a proper figure-eight has been tied.

But this is just one example, I've seen plenty more and I'm sure everyone could chime in with their favorite.

With all due respect and admiration for the 5.13 kid, the example is irrelevant. I have no doubt that the path from gym to sport to trad will determine the future of the sport and will result in incredible achievements. But that doesn't diminish the observation that trying to make climbing apparently risk-free and attractive to all will end up drawing people into the more dangerous realm of trad climbing with an inadequate appreciation of the risks they are actually taking.

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#37626 - 06/05/08 11:29 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: rg@ofmc]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
Fear desensitization doesn't explain it for me. Seems like plenty of gym climbers are plenty afraid when they get out on real rock, myself included.

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#37634 - 06/06/08 04:13 AM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: pedestrian]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
 Originally Posted By: pedestrian
Fear desensitization doesn't explain it for me. Seems like plenty of gym climbers are plenty afraid when they get out on real rock, myself included.


Then fear desensitization just didn't work on you, that's all.

More seriously, it is a bit of a stretch, although I think not entirely without merit. But sometimes, as the discussion goes along, one can get caught up in points that aren't terribly sustainable, and this may be one of those times. I don't really want to make a Custer's Last Stand on the Fear Desensitization Issue.

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#37635 - 06/06/08 07:26 AM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: rg@ofmc]
intrepid02 Offline
Snarky Bastard

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 1421
Loc: Boulder
I have a roommate (let's call him Bob) who is a complete waste of flesh. When he moved in to our house in downtown Boulder I noted the climbing gear that he hung up in his room, almost as if it were on display...

Fast forward 1 week. It is midnight on a warm, full-moon night in July. Myself and another friend are discussing a trip up the 3rd Flatiron. Bob asks if he can tag along.

"Have you done any multipitch trad and rapelling before?"

"Oh, yeah, tons!"

"Great! Come along. It'll be fun!"

Fast forward another couple of hours to find the 3 of us on the summit. Bob is putting himself on rappel.

"Uhh... Bob, don't unclip from the anchor yet. You're belay device is only through one strand of the rope."

"What do you mean?" replies Bob with an air of indignation.

"Bob, you're only clipped through one strand of the rope. That's not going to work for a rappell."

"Dude! I know what I'm doing. This is how I always do it!"

Anyway, you get the idea. I eventually convinced him to put both strands of the rope through his ATC and then watched him very carefully for the rest of the descent.

I never climbed with him again. Had I been able to foresee what a nightmare it would have been to live with him, I might have just let him take the big ride. It might have been my last chance to allow Darwin to do his work... He's going to be a proud pappa of twins with one of my girlfriend's co-workers in August.

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#37638 - 06/06/08 02:25 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: intrepid02]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Wombat and RG,

I must just see a different bunch of people and a different demographics. I find the young guys at the gym psyched at getting outside, but also very aware of the dangers and very keen at having someone work with them. Once I get past the "cultural" differences (since I'm probably more then twice the age of most of them) I find most of them very enthusiastic, less ego then you would think, and by and by in most part a joy to climb with.

(and the "freak" that I described is becoming less and less of the "freak" you would want to believe in).

And in most part I don't see that being "scared" of High-E is a good thing. Having a realistic understanding of the risks involved and the constant dilagence at maintain a safe work attitude is good, have a good understanding of the capabilities of equipment, but keeping it all in perspective is important. I came from the mindset that you described and it took me a long time (and I still work on it) to "leave less cards on the table" and utilize my potential more.

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#37639 - 06/06/08 03:08 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Chas]
KathyS Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 196
Loc: NY, USA
I'm wondering if the modern trend toward on making everything "ultra-safe" isn't lulling some folks into a false sense of security, especially young folks who didn't grow up in the era before mandatory seatbelt laws, bike helmets and warning labels on everything. I met a young woman in the climbing gym over the winter who was clearly new, and we chatted about climbing and technique. She kept asking me if it was totally safe. I replied honestly that climbing was never "totally" safe, and that risks were always present. Knowledge and skills were the tools one needed to minimize risk. I never saw her again. I felt bad that I may have scared her away, but perhaps it was not the right sport for her if she required "total" safety.

Kathy

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#37641 - 06/06/08 04:24 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Chas]
Timbo Online   content
addict

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 694
Loc: Delaware
 Originally Posted By: Chas
Wombat and RG,

I must just see a different bunch of people and a different demographics.


I think you have the answer there, C - demographics. I think you are observing western arttitudes and we on the east coast are observing eastern attitudes.

The difference I detect is that you can get killed doing fun stuff in the west (and you are allowed to do so). Fewer restrictions, fewer fences, fewer signs. Even roads go unsigned or unmarked as to avalanche or rock fall dangers. People who live out there expect that and know how to avoid it.

Out here, we can't do much of anything on public land that might get us killed. No swimming, fences at every overlook or high spot with signs that say "Do not cross fence", signs at every cliff warning us we might fall. It's really hard to kill yourself by getting lost in the "wilderness" in the east, you must be really stupid or unlucky to do so. The average east coasters are, by and large, ignorant of what dangers await in true wilderness situations. They expect to be kept safe and assume every activity is safe (and regulated ???). They do not foresee getting hurt or killed as a possibility.

Oversimplification, obviously, but I think the "safe" attitude is much more prevalent here than out west.

Tim S
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#37644 - 06/06/08 05:00 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Timbo]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
For good or bad, the gyms will train you to do well on overhanging, juggy climbs. I think most gym trained climbers look at High E as easy due to this training. Cracks and slab will scare the hell out of them, even if of a pretty light grade. The gunks moderates are tailor made for gym climbers, who then later realize there is more to it than simply climbing your arse up something.

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#37647 - 06/06/08 05:23 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: chip]
Terrie Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 247
Flagstaff does tend to have unbelievable hard climbers coming out of there, from what I've seen. Harrrrrd climbers, but laid back, nice people. The ones I have met are not Type A at all. There must be something good going on out there.
_________________________
Links to my blog, and online t-shirt shop

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#37651 - 06/06/08 06:09 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Terrie]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
What I think the difference from "East" to "West" (since I developed as a climber as a Gunkie) is that in the East, a large percentage of the climbers are living there because of job requirements whereas in the West a large perecntage of climbers are living there because of the availiability of climbing despite their job requirements.

I think that the vast majority of us (there are exceptions but I know that I am not one of them) sort of develop a mindset that is similar to that of the group of people around them. If most of the people around you live somewhere because of work, you will probably develop a more conservative (in terms of climbing) mindset (which is the way I developed). If most of the people around you are there because of climbing, you will probably develop a more outgoing mindset (again in terms of climbing).

Neither way is right or wrong, just different. I just know that because I had learned with a very conservative mindset, breaking through into some grades in trad climbing were more difficult (not physically but more of mentally believing I could do it), specifically the 5.10's (which came for me in the Gunks), and into the 5.11's (started in the Gunks and solidified out West) and then into the .12's required a huge leap mentally. Whereas the people I climb with now, it was completely normal since they saw a lot of people doin it so the mental jump wasn't so great for them. Just different.
In this town (Flagstaff) its easy to be laid back. Climbing is 5 minutes away, and a long road trip is 4 hours.


Edited by Chas (06/06/08 06:14 PM)

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#37659 - 06/06/08 07:41 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: Chas]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
Chas - isn't that another way of saying the numbers are softer out west? ;\)

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#37663 - 06/06/08 08:37 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: acdnyc]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3764
Loc: Ulster County, NY
ACD...that story sounds vaguely familiar.....hmmmm. Was I the ashhole or the savior of the asshole? I forget because it's been so long and I have Alzheimers.

RR

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#37664 - 06/06/08 08:37 PM Re: A very upsetting incident [Re: pedestrian]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
come on out..... I have some soft 5.9's that scare the liv'n #$&& out of me and I'd rather solo any 5.9 in the Gunks then do this thing.

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