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New (big!) gym opening in Golden - Earthtreks
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By Edwin C
Mar 17, 2014
JCM wrote:
I honestly think the opposite is true. With the absurdly low first bolt clipped, it is really hard for the belayer to jump to give an adequately soft catch, without (the belayer) getting slammed into the wall or that first draw. Skipping the first gives the belayer a lot more room to move, and to jump when the leader falls, and just makes for a better belay. The belayer can give a soft catch, without the danger of getting yanked into the bottom of the wall. Secondly, I don't think that clipping the first bolt is a good idea for protecting a fall before the second bolt. Any fall at that height, with so little rope out, is going to be really jarring, and you'll probably wrecking-ball into your belayer. From that height, with a soft pad beneath, I'd much rather just land on the ground. Also, as you said, skipping a clip high on a route is safer than blowing it. The clipping issues here basically come from the fact that the draws at this gym are inconveniently close together. Of course, a gym needs close bolts for safety/liability purposes, but this gym seems to take this idea a bit too far. The difficult clips issues basically comes from the fact that, to clip every bolt, you have to clip every other move, just about. Routes setting can't put in a decent clipping stance at every bolt, since having stances this frequently would horribly interrupt any route continuity. A first bolt placed at reasonable height (perhaps halfway between the current first and second bolts), and a slightly greater bolt spacing higher on the route, would solve all of these issues....and actually increase safety.


Agreed! Well stated.

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By Joe Champerlin
Mar 19, 2014
Me at the top of the best corner crack in all of the Red River George, Andromeda Strain.
Travis24 wrote:
I am the belayer mentioned in the above post. Yes I am tired of being lectured to and harassed about something I do correctly. I have seen others lectured at for belaying correctly as well. This is a link to a Dead Point Magazine article. Paragraph 5 explains exactly how I belay. dpmclimbing.com/climbing-gear/... I also have email correspondence between a Petzl Tech and myself in which the tech confirms that both the "new" pistol grip method and the "old" classic method are still considered safe and approved. I am proficient in both methods of belaying but much prefer the classic technique. The employees I have been (sometimes rudely) lectured by seem to think that I should learn to belay by reading a poster on the wall and not trust my own good judgment and a method that has the approval of the manufacturer.


Two cents from an AMGA guide and someone that frequently visits and trains in climbing gyms. I challenge you to compare belaying with the gri-gri with the “classic”(pre 2008) method vs the "new"(released in 2008) technique. The "new" technique maximizes our control of the brake strand and minimizes our ability to prevent the cam from engaging in the event of a fall.

Petzl cautions users of the classic technique to minimize time holding the cam down because the belayer's hold on the rope is reduced and in a fall there is a chance (there are documented accidents of this occurring) that the belayer may squeeze the cam in a fall and loose control of the rope.

Due to liability reasons I'm pretty sure climbing gyms can't rely on people's "own good judgment" or a Colorado climber's "experience". I have seen accidents occur because of people’s judgment and experience be clouded by ego and pride. Commercial organizations like gyms and guide services have to comply with industry accepted practices and in gym setting, objective observations of belay technique (good or bad) and comment on it if it is not with in that facility's standards on belaying.

Someone in the thread mentioned different gyms have different standards of belaying, CA gyms and their standards on belaying for their customers with one method of belaying only, directly off of ground anchors, and gri-gri's. While movement in boulder's staff does not to correct people's belaying at all. Every gym I have been to have their own policies and procedures in regards to belaying and it sucks that sometimes I can't belay how I want to but I remind myself that I am at a private business not the crag so I swallow my pride and listen to what another professional in the industry has to say to me.

I pose the question to all rock climbers, Why use an outdated technique that is considered less safe, that increases the chance of user error? And why would you be upset when a gym employee asks you to use an updated/recommended belay method, is it really that hard to change/learn something new that will keep you and your partner safer?

Check out the following petzl videos on the Youtube. "The worlds worst belayer" is friggan hilarious. I'm sure we all can see an area where we all can improve on with our own belaying.

youtu.be/aSVchbjVKLE

youtu.be/V9hsWjA3SmU





If you look at what petzl is doing with how the information on the Gri-Gri has evolved from 2008 to the present(2014). One can see that petzl is trying to get folks to move away from the "classic technique in the 2008 vid and even now none of their current informational material for the Gri-gri shows the "classic" technique anymore. That is why you had to reference a DPM gear review(not instructions)on a product. The product tester references an older (2008)petzl vid no new instructions on the "classic technique.

Its funny that you directly contacted a petzl rep to get the acknowledgement you need that your method of belaying is recognized as still acceptable just so you could stick it to any poor gym employee that dares correct your belay technique. Way to stick it to the man, damn those cooperate gyms. Damn the Man, save the Empire!

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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Mar 19, 2014
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stiletto, Sharkstooth, Forbidden Tower, Petit Grepon, The Saber, The Foil, The Moon & The Jackknife.
I'm also a fan of skipping the first clip when it appears prudent to safety, which I think is pretty often with padded floors. If the first 'biner is indeed 3' off the ground, that's unnecessarily low and more dangerous to both the climber and belayer; the climber risks being ripped into the wall and the belayer risks a head-to-ass collision.

I'd be temped to do the following on any route that I risked falling on before clipping the third draw: rainbow through the first bolt (while clipping it) to the second, clip, and then lower or downclimb the actual moves on the route I was attempting and unclipping the first draw. It would be kind of annoying at times, but would actually add a little bit of climbing, as I find most gym routes not long enough for my personal taste.

Disclaimer: I've never climbed there and likely won't until next winter. Hopefully they've sorted things out before then.

Regarding the old/new ways of belaying with a Grigri, I used the old method for about ten years before hearing about the new method. I'm generally averse to changing a method that's worked so long for me, but I decided to give it a try. I won't be going back to the old method.

The new method allows you to feed the rope just as quickly (once you get used to it) while adding a small buffer of safety, although it does take a little more foresight/action to determine when your climber is about to make a clip. When I used the old method, I was pretty conscientious about watching my climber make the clip so that if he popped off, I was able to at least remove my thumb from the bar that arrests the fall and (hopefully) even get my hand back to the brake line. However, I've definitely seen a lot of people chatting at a crag/gym without even watching his climber while using the old method (mostly Euros) and it's always worried me. I understand there are usually some pretty good audible clues when someone is falling, but I really don't like solely relying on those and am uncomfortable when someone uses them while belaying me.

I see no reason not to switch to the updated method. It's kind of like using two oval 'biners together instead of a dog bone or sling in between. It worked for many years for many folks, but is it really the safest option?

I've never used a Grigri 2 but I've been using my trusty OG Grigris for many years now; I really doubt there's a difference in belaying methods between the two devices but someone might correct me on that.

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By rob.calm
From Loveland, Colorado
Mar 20, 2014
Mother #1 on the Nautilus at Vedauwoo. Rob is calm on this happy offwidth
Marc: What does this mean?

"rainbow through the first bolt (while clipping it) to the second, clip,"

r.c

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Mar 20, 2014
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
rob.calm wrote:
Marc: What does this mean? "rainbow through the first bolt (while clipping it) to the second, clip," r.c

Not following a particular gym route....not following a particular colored tape, instead grabbing anything, e.g. grab tape from any color of the rainbow.

I think his point being to just get the first couple draws clipped by climbing the easiest way up, then come down and send your route. Kind of the gym version of a stick clip without the stick.

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By slim
Administrator
Mar 20, 2014
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Joe Champerlin wrote:
... I pose the question to all rock climbers, Why use an outdated technique that is considered less safe, that increases the chance of user error? And why would you be upset when a gym employee asks you to use an updated/recommended belay method, is it really that hard to change/learn something new that will keep you and your partner safer? ...


if you have a bad left shoulder, the 'new' method blows. i don't really see much of an improvement with the new method. you are still holding the cam down to feed rope, and it kinks the shit out of your rope.

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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Mar 20, 2014
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stiletto, Sharkstooth, Forbidden Tower, Petit Grepon, The Saber, The Foil, The Moon & The Jackknife.
slim wrote:
if you have a bad left shoulder, the 'new' method blows. i don't really see much of an improvement with the new method. you are still holding the cam down to feed rope, and it kinks the shit out of your rope.


My left arm does the same exact thing with both methods. Your shoulder is so bad that you have trouble feeding rope through a Grigri but it's OK climbing? I find that curious.

The improvement with the new method is that you can keep your hand on the brake line. That's Belaying 101, no?

Your rope won't get kinked if you do an exact reverse motion when going back to what Petzl call the "primary belay position." I do it slightly different than they show in the video, but it's basically the same thing; kinking is just less of an issue the way I do it.

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By Joe Champerlin
Mar 20, 2014
Me at the top of the best corner crack in all of the Red River George, Andromeda Strain.
slim wrote:
if you have a bad left shoulder, the 'new' method blows. i don't really see much of an improvement with the new method. you are still holding the cam down to feed rope, and it kinks the shit out of your rope.


With the new method the big perk is you maximize your control of the brake strand and minimize your ability to prevent the cam(largest safety feature of the grigri) from engaging. As belayers we know that we should control the break strand whenever possaible. Also that's odd that it bothers your left shoulder because the only thing that really changes between the two methods is your brake hand(right hand) orientation.

I'm sure you know that to pay out a large amount of slack quickly with the new method you have your pointer finger under the flange and your thumb on the rounded side of the lever. If a fall were to occur with your hand in this position even with a firm grip your thumb will roll off the back of the lever preventing you from holding the cam open in the event of a fall.

With the classic method the way you hold the cam open to pay out slack you are decreasing your control of the break strand and increasing your ability to prevent the cam from engaging. The opposite of what we want to do as a belayer and again if you look at the 2008 vid petzl warns about this position, " the belayer's hold on the rope is reduced and in a fall there is a chance that the belayer may squeeze the cam in a fall and loose control of the rope". Why would you want to take that chance with your partners life.

There are accidents involving(do a quick search) the grigri being misused by "experienced" climbers that hold the cam down with the "classic" technique and have dropped folks. Many of these accidents end up on forums(mtn project, rrg climbers coalition, and RC.com) and some make it into the AAC Climbing accidents in N.A. but there are common themes. Usually "experienced" climbers complacency and misuse of device.

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By NickinCO
From colorado
Mar 20, 2014
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.
I went the other day and the gym is cool. One thing I found very disappointing is their lack of ventilation. There was so much chalk dust in the air I wanted a respirator….

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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Mar 21, 2014
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.
Edwin C wrote:
.. I also agree with the Petzl dude that ET needs to better understand climbing in Colorado and respect that most of us know how to climb safely.


How come there are so many accidents then?

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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Mar 21, 2014
Because there are a lot of climbers in this state. I suspect that the climbing accident rate in Colorado is no higher than elsewhere in the country.

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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Mar 21, 2014
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.
It would be interesting to see the statistics. There are a ton of climbers in the Boston area and the gyms are packed, but I don't hear of so many accidents.

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By JonW
Mar 21, 2014
A lot of talk about issues concerning the first bolt on this thread. Personally, I find all the complaining to be unnecessary. People complain about the bolts being too close together and the first bolt being too low. I'm person who tends to follow the rules, so my solution is this - Clip the first bolt when it's at your waist and then reach up (from the same stance) to clip the second bolt. Problem solved.

Maybe it's because I'm weak and hate wasting the energy to lock off to make a clip, but at ET I tend to make two clips from a single stance for most of the route. I clip one draw when it's at my waist and then reach up and clip the next. This also helps with continuity of climbing. I suppose my long reach may help with this, but I'd be willing to wager that most people can make two clips from a single stance. Often at ET, I see leaders reaching up to clip when the bolt is still above their head. With the bolts so close together this is unnecessarily inefficient.

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By Derek Lawrence
From Bailey
Mar 21, 2014
Cocaine Corner
JonW your solution is fine for the leader but does nothing to protect the belayer which is one of the larger concerns for skipping the 1st bolt. That being said, its all good now and you can still be a rule follower and skip the 1st bolt...

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By slim
Administrator
Mar 21, 2014
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
M Sprague wrote:
It would be interesting to see the statistics. There are a ton of climbers in the Boston area and the gyms are packed, but I don't hear of so many accidents.


comparatively speaking, boston doesn't really have a ton of climbers.

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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Mar 21, 2014
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.
slim wrote:
comparatively speaking, boston doesn't really have a ton of climbers.

Maybe not as a ratio of the population, but there are a lot of climbers. It is a densely populated area full of schools and high tec firms with quite a few climbing gyms, the original Boston Rock Gym being one of the earliest in the country (mid 80s)

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By Joe Champerlin
Mar 21, 2014
Me at the top of the best corner crack in all of the Red River George, Andromeda Strain.
M Sprague wrote:
Maybe not as a ratio of the population, but there are a lot of climbers. It is a densely populated area full of schools and high tec firms with quite a few climbing gyms, the original Boston Rock Gym being one of the earliest in the country (mid 80s)


I know right! have you ever see the crowds on a busy weekend at the new England crags in North Conway and Rumney. large metro area = large climber population.

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By Chick on Crack
From Golden, CO
Apr 28, 2014
I just quit the gym as part of Step 1 of GA (gymoholics anonymous). That $70 is going toward cball brew after a long day OUTFREAKINSIDE.

ET is alright. The staff is really nice (except the one chick who makes fun of Colorado climbers). Yoga is great, with exception of one specific instructor who never seems to know what she's going to teach. But the routes aren't super fun and they don't change them enough. The bouldering cave, in my humblest opinion, sucks! And holy heyzus, if you're going to leave your baby capsule under a route, I'm not going to apologize if I land on its head.

Just say no to GYM. (Actually, focus solely on gym climbing so all I hear on the crags is crickets.)

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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Oct 15, 2014
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stiletto, Sharkstooth, Forbidden Tower, Petit Grepon, The Saber, The Foil, The Moon & The Jackknife.
My GF and her 13 yo daughter are thinking about getting a membership here.

How are people feeling about ET Golden these days?

Thank you in advance!

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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Oct 15, 2014
Marc H wrote:
My GF and her 13 yo daughter are thinking about getting a membership here. How are people feeling about ET Golden these days? Thank you in advance!


Judging from the crowds last night, I'd say people are feeling pretty good about the place. I went through a couple of punch cards last winter, since I now live closer to the gym I bought a membership for this winter.

The sheer amount of space, height and variety of terrain in the gym is great, the route setting is good, and they seem to have improved the consistency of the grading. Quite a few of the boulder problems last night had been there a while, but I guess that's to be expected after a slow summer season.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Oct 15, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Chick on Crack wrote:
And holy heyzus, if you're going to leave your baby capsule under a route, I'm not going to apologize if I land on its head.


Haha.. I myself think kids are a puzzle so I'm not the best babysitter. I do however enjoy the childless crowd's reaction to unruly children running around the gym. It reminds me of the whole dogs at the crag discussion.

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By JASON A.
Oct 15, 2014
Just being badass
Tzilla Rapdrilla wrote:
It seems that ET is having a bit of an adjustment period getting used to a much different clientele in Denver vs. their other gyms. I suspect that dealing with much more experienced and finicky climbers in Denver is different for them compared to a high noob percentage back east. That said, they do have to manage their risk & deal with uninformed insurers and that may lead to some rules that seem to be nonsense. It may be a harsh contrast to Movement where half the climbers belay with no brake hand & the other hand holding the Gri Gri cam firmly locked open. I think it would be an easy ET improvement to add cards for customers to rate the routes as no one is going to drag their phone around in there and the ratings would likely be much more accurate. Routesetting would be improved from a less bouldering approach, smoother movement & routes set better for people of different heights (more footholds).


I see many more gumby's lead climbing at ET in Golden than I ever did at ET in Maryland. People who lead climb in Maryland usually won't do it till they have a firm understanding of what they are doing. People in Colorado feel that they are entitled to lead climb just because they grew up in the mountains.

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By Wally
From Denver
Oct 16, 2014
Nice stereotype Jason. Great you have this figured out!

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By Jon C. Sullivan
From Boulder, CO
Oct 16, 2014
approach to the Grand
Man I really don't want to hear about east coasters running a gym in cowboy territory then thinking it's ok to talk nonsense about CO climbers. People here are way too proud and competent ( well some anyway, with others at least trying ) to have some east coast mouths running trash about the people they're there to service. Please ET, do not, repeat, do not walk around in a staff shirt and think you can poke fun at the CO crew. We are damn strong, motivated, balls of steel mountain people. If you don't like it, bail, like you all would if you'd step foot into the alpine rock arenas we host above 12,000. I thank you.

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By Ryan Marsters
Oct 16, 2014
I still can't get behind ET's membership billing policy. I went there a dozen or so times this winter and considered getting a membership. However I changed my mind after finding out they had a hold-over fee if I decide to suspend my membership for the summer season. Why would I pay them money not to climb there? They gave me some excuse about the servers and personnel out in the E coast somewhere taking care of the membership, as if IT guys can't figure out a rather rudimentary database setup nowadays.

Here's my understanding, give or take a few bucks:

Membership = $70 signup + $70/mo.

Suspend during the summer season = $10/mo. for up to 3ish mo. After 3 mo. or suspending outright, re-pay the $70 signup fee.

^The numbers there might be off, but that was the gist of it. I'm not going to pay you money not to climb at your gym and I'm certainly not going to re-pay anything resembling a signup fee/kickback to the IT guy that doesn't know how (or claims to not know how) to set up a connected database with suspended accounts.


I haven't been to ET since March or so, but it was a quality gym and fairly easy to get on routes with the occasional wait. They did a good job of incorporating a lot of the early feedback from this thread, with legal considerations, and the ratings were becoming more consistent (except for some cryptochild dude). I'm not a boulderer so I'm not sure if they ever threw mobile pads in there. Still, the texture of the gym is unlike anything outdoors.

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