This place is getting crowded, but let’s play nice.
Climbing is my passion and I’m thrilled at the prospect of meeting passionate climbers. Lately, I’ve noticed a huge spike in new climbers flailing around the crag and gym. Do you want to get a good laugh? Take a moment to watch new climbers campus around, make big moves, and compete in dyno add-on duels. Now that you’ve had a good laugh, think about how you were when you first started climbing. If you’re anything like me, you were totally psyched for a good campus add-on duel and oblivious to climbing etiquette.
I strongly believe there should be a happy symbiosis between new and, dare I say, “old” climbers. Hence, the do’s and don’ts from each perspective:
I’m a New Climber
You’ve got your first flapper and came back for more; it’s official, you’re a climber! Welcome to the club, so happy you made it. Here’s some etiquette beta to help you whether you’re at the gym or the crag (Crag (noun) – climbing jargon for an outside climbing area).
- Climbing at the Crag (outside)
- Firstly, leave no trace. Pack your trash and carry it out with you. Seriously! Leaving your trash at the crag is bad for the environment and will guarantee you get some dirty looks.
- If you show up to a climb that’s already being climbed, be nice! Ask the group already climbing if they mind you joining them. Offer to share your crash pad(s), or even your PB&J.
- Some climbers like music, some don’t. Always ask if it’s okay to put some tunes on. This may sounds crazy, but to some people, the relaxing appeal of nature doesn’t include your latest jam.
- Pulling on Plastic (gym climbing)
- The urge to campus every climb is strong. I totally understand. As a new climber, you’re still figuring things out and learning how to approach each climb. Go ahead and campus every climb, but just be sure to take a look around before you do. Campus-ing is fun, but campus-ing over another climber, or in the direct path of another climber is a great way for both of you to get hurt. Be powerful, but also be mindful.
- There’s something called beta. Beta is essentially the intended way to do a climb, or a way that worked for you. Many climbers like to figure out problems for themselves; it’s part of the challenge. If you see someone struggling, always ask if they want help before telling them how you think a climb should be done. This is called “spraying beta”. Try not to do it; it’s frowned upon.
- Pay attention, it’s free. Try to keep an overall awareness of things happening around you. If you see something you don’t understand, ask about it. If you see a situation emerging that looks unsafe, kindly say something.
I’m an experienced and possibly “older” climber
You’ve got a couple of FAs under your belt, don’t remember what a non-climbing vacation is like, and are sick and tired of the new kids tearing up your lawn.
- At The Crag
- With great knowledge, there is great responsibility. Take from that statement what you will.
- Climbing is becoming more popular than ever before, so it’s up to the more experienced climbers to set a high standard of respect in the community. New climbers can be reckless, but it’s only because they’re still learning. If you see a new climber doing something that looks dangerous or out of place at the crag, kindly explain to them how they can improve what they’re doing. You may save them a serious injury.
- At The Gym
- The gym is getting crowded and all of the newbs are jumping on the routes you want to climb. Well, climbing is awesome! Did you expect it to be a small community forever? There’s an opportunity here to practice patience and set the etiquette bar high. As climbing continues to grow, your efforts to be nice will certainly ripple into the future and help create a positive environment for us all.
- “There’s some bro ‘campus-flailing’ around the project I’m working, and he’s been there forever.” – Most of us weren’t overly graceful at climbing when we first started, so try to see the full circle of humor in this situation. If the person is willing to listen, perhaps throw a friendly reminder their way that other people are waiting to climb. It’s possible the person is so psyched, they have horse blinders on and are completely unaware you’re waiting to climb. If the person is unapproachable, try asking one of smallest youth team girls to follow the campus flailing king around and smoothly send every climb they’re flexing their muscles on.
- Did that newb really just punch the wall?
Remember, our happiness is substantially increased by our environment, so please make an attempt to stay classy. Good luck out there!