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Can climbing be too safe?
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By Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Oct 5, 2012
Tebow Climbs.  Bet you didn't know that.
Buff Johnson wrote:
What did they say when you pulled out the belay knife?


LOL!!!!

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By KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Oct 5, 2012
Last time I went to a gym, they taught my partner (a beginner) to hold the rope forward at an unbraked angle. Later, she almost dropped me...fell almost half the distance of the wall.

I had explained to them that it was keeping the rope unbraked most of the time, but they said that they would not certify us any other way. This was in Boulder about 11-12 yrs ago.

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By slk
From Reno, NV
Oct 5, 2012
me
3 words. Fuck the Gym!!!

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By ChristopherAust
From Ohio
Oct 5, 2012
omg
KevinCO wrote:
Last time I went to a gym, they taught my partner (a beginner) to hold the rope forward at an unbraked angle. Later, she almost dropped me...fell almost half the distance of the wall. I had explained to them that it was keeping the rope unbraked most of the time, but they said that they would not certify us any other way. This was in Boulder about 11-12 yrs ago.

Sorry, my life is worth more than being certified to climb at a gym. The interesting thing is there's the main gym I climb at and they teach one method but certify all sorts of methods, so if you really want someone to belay you that takes their brake-hand off the rope and switches hands a lot to belay, you can do that. Buyer beware sort of thing I guess. But it makes it tricky because you have to really watch someone belay first before you want to go up on a wall with them catching. If you're new and you don't have any friends, it can be quite daunting I guess. But why would you go to a gym in Boulder? Aren't there real rocks out that way?

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By KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Oct 5, 2012
swordfishes wrote:
Sorry, my life is worth more than being certified to climb at a gym. The interesting thing is there's the main gym I climb at and they teach one method but certify all sorts of methods, so if you really want someone to belay you that takes their brake-hand off the rope and switches hands a lot to belay, you can do that. Buyer beware sort of thing I guess. But it makes it tricky because you have to really watch someone belay first before you want to go up on a wall with them catching. If you're new and you don't have any friends, it can be quite daunting I guess. But why would you go to a gym in Boulder? Aren't there real rocks out that way?


The exact answer I gave to my prospective partner the day before when he didn't want to climb outside in the cold. Back then I was climbing with my step-daughter in December. I had taken her climbing outside a few times before, so had given her the intro lessons. The gym instructions contradicted those previous lessons and she followed that 'authority'.

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By ChristopherAust
From Ohio
Oct 5, 2012
omg
KevinCO wrote:
The exact answer I gave to my prospective partner the day before when he didn't want to climb outside in the cold. Back then I was climbing with my step-daughter in December. I had taken her climbing outside a few times before, so had given her the intro lessons. The gym instructions contradicted those previous lessons and she followed that 'authority'.

It's hard for most people to go against authority, even if they know it's wrong. For instance: Milgram Experiment

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Oct 5, 2012
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.
Ryan N wrote:
^^^good one Rob. Elena is fine. Though I did consider dropping her to prove a point once. She's safe for the moment...

No point required. Just do it.

On a more serious note... With relevance to the OP: What is probably going on there is like ISO 9000. They have a procedure, their insurance requires that they follow it. They do not allow jr staff to waive or make deviations from the requirement.

I was given all kinds of belay advice from a teenager working the counter at a Swedish climbing gym once. I'd suspect I've been leading and belaying trad since her parents were in their teens. Anyway, she didn't like me wrapping the rope on my brake hand (ice climbing style) by way of example, so I quit doing it for her. She watched Jo and I like hawks for a while and eventually figured out that we were OK.
Sometimes it will be about a back-up knot on your figure 8. Whatever... it's not actually safer, it's just a condition of their insurance, and they are required to do it 'just so.'

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By John Husky
Oct 5, 2012
The gym is a place where maybe you have to go in order to climb once in a while. It is definately not a place to go learn how to climb.

Try having a thicker skin and assume that some spotty college kid is going to give you a silly critique.

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By Ryan N
From San Louis Obispo
Oct 5, 2012
RJN
I get it the point. I'm at a gym I gotta deal with gym rules. No big deal. Is this not the place to come and bitch about absolutely nothing to people I don't know?

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By Blissab
Oct 5, 2012
Dom wrote:
What pisses me off with Insurance companies,(someone from that domain correct me if I'm wrong) is they put Mountaineering, trad climbing, soloing, sport climbing, gym climbing, etc. in the same equation. There's a world of difference between Walking on Snow at 25 000 FT. and climbing a bolted route.


It's because insurance companies think that its all "Mountain Climbing".

Ever try to obtain life insurance, when the insurance agent has seen your pictures on the wall and knows that you "Mountain Climb"...oh by the way, my O2 bottle is empty.

On another note, has anyone experienced Carabiners in New Bedford, MA...their registration form is more extensive than signing mortgage papers.

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By Tradoholic
Oct 5, 2012
Ryan N wrote:
I've been climbing for some years now. I have come to accept the risk that my adventure seeking behavior comes with. During a recent trip to a climbing gym both my leading style and my belaying style were put under heavy critique while taking a lead test. I'm not an unsafe climber myself, and while climbing rock, ice, and alpine routes all over the western US I have never had an accident. I have had a number of close calls and mini epics but have always got myself and partner out with no physical harm( sometimes a hurt ego), but always got home safe. There are many different ways in climbing to do it the "right" way. So is it more important to use the method that you are more comfortable with, or the newest "accepted" way of climbing? My point is I believe that climbing can become too safe at a risk to the climber by putting too much attention on mundane details and not enough on the situation at hand. Being able to be versatile in my climbing techniques allows me to choose certain methods for certain situations. Thoughts? I know I'm gonna die.


Ignore the bullshit in the gym, employees just gotta do as they are told. BTW, the insurance excuse for this behavior is a lie, it's just as excuse to make you comply. I know, I've used it to make uppity "climbers" from CO STFU about how they know how to climb because they are from ColoRADo. Must insurance companies understand that they don't understand climbing and don't push specific practices, they just want to see that a standard has been created and taught to the peon staff.

That said, YES the strict attention to mundane details causes people to worry more about those details and how to do them step by step, rather than actually using their brains. The key to being a safe climber is about judgement and no instruction booklet can teach you that.

I was once in a gym somewhere and wanted to lead but yea, had to take the test, but it just so happen that one of the mags had a sweet shot of me sending due to an article about my local area. So I picked it up out of the display on the counter, flipped to the appropriate page, stuck my gnarled climber finger onto the page and snarled to the hapless teenager behind the desk, "Here's my fucking lead test." Then smiled and happily took the convoluted test belaying the way he wanted me to and passed with flying colors. In other words, feel free to fuck with dopey gym employees a bit but ultimately just take the test and belay they way they want you to and STFU.

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