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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 10, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

if he had a grigri, and you had good gear below you, i would whip on him. hopefully burn his hands and drop his phone.


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By Mark Lewis
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Sep 10, 2012

Shitty situation to be sure.

Not sure what exactly I'd say to the belayer. I don't know all the specifics of the route but if the tree you mention is solid I would have rigged a rappel with some spare webbing or cord (if you had some on you) and bailed, cleaning my gear on the way down.

Definitely would part ways with the belayer when I got off the climb.


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

Darren Mabe wrote:
if he had a grigri, and you had good gear below you, i would whip on him. hopefully burn his hands and drop his phone.


ZachR wrote:
The belayer is using an ATC-XP.


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By Tristan B
From La Crescenta, CA
Sep 10, 2012
Hanging out on Royal Arches

Why didn't you just text him for some slack?


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 10, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Jon Zucco wrote:

well, whip anyway. that would really burn his hands. some people have to learn lessons the hard way. (like climbing with 13yr old girl strangers in the first place)


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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.

Tristan B wrote:
Why didn't you just text him for some slack?

LMAO.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 10, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Tristan B wrote:
Why didn't you just text him for some slack?

best solution


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By Rocky_Mtn_High
From Arvada, CO
Sep 10, 2012
Lamb's Slide

It's hard for me to imagine that anyone would be that irresponsible -- not only short-roping you, but totally disengaged from the climb and completely unprepared to catch you in the event of a fall!

Needless to say, the climb ends then and there; the immediate question is how to descend safely and retrieve your gear. I like the idea of rapping off the tree, thereby eliminating any reliance on someone who has demonstrated utter unreliability and lost your trust completely. Depending on how far offline the tree is, you may need to sacrifice a small amount of gear to place a redirect at the top of your line so that you can clean your gear safely.

On the ground, I'd no doubt vent my anger at the "belayer" and let him/her know how dangerous the situation was. The final question is whether or not to "out" the belayer publicly. That's a tough call, but the negligence in this case is so extreme that I'd be tempted to do it, with the goal of potentially preventing other climbers from endangering their lives by climbing with someone who is so dangerously irresponsible.

BTW, such a person might easily be able to demonstrate sufficient belaying skills in a pre-climb checkout (whatever form that might take), but it would be difficult to tell in advance how diligent and careful a belayer someone will turn out to be in actual climbing situations. I guess if I were climbing with someone new, I'd start with a climb well within my abilities and climb as if it were a free solo until I had a chance to observe and to assess my new partner's skills (belaying, anchor building, rope management, etc.)


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By Blissab
Sep 10, 2012

Anchor yourself to the belay anchor.

Then put your technology buddy on belay and then inform this person that climbing and belaying is a two-way street. Inform this person that his belaying needs to shape-up if he expects a proper belay.

Otherwise, Pull-out your cell-phone and give him as much slack in the TR as humanly possible.. This should cure the bad dog.

And then never climb with this person again.


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By skeeter
From Lakewood CA
Sep 10, 2012

get down safely as possible, thank to be alive, leave


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By Wannabe
Sep 10, 2012

Jake Jones wrote:
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.

Jake,
I can't fault you on the complaints about Ellenor and her posting. No issue there. My concern is this idea in your post that you need to be "polite" about finding out if your potential partner knows what to do. I just come out and ask now, "Do you know what you're doing?" I actually try to be a little confrontational about it without being too much of a dick. Its interesting to see people's different reactions but let's face it-- at bottom this is about my life. I'm willing to ruffle a few feathers for my life and I think we should all be willing to do that. I'm sure my tact would change if I was camping by myself at NRG for the summer partnerless but that sounds like a special situation to me. Mores and taboos are fine in some settings but I'm just not sure they belong in climbing. Honestly most people chuckle about my question and proceed to explain their belay device to me. I have yet to catch one of them being inattentive and I think in part that's because everybody is kinda clear that this is serious.

I did watch an acquaintance answer a cellphone while belaying and I probably wasn't enough of a dick about that. I yelled at him till he put it away but it took a bit. People have some crazy ideas out there.


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By Jason Todd
From Ranchester, WY
Sep 10, 2012
DT

Boot stab him in the fart box.


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By Em Cos
From Boulder, CO
Sep 10, 2012

In the scenario you described, this person either doesn't care about your life or is too stupid to realize the potentially fatal consequences of their actions. Either way, it's not going to be fixed with a simple reminder.

I would bail immediately, leaving behind as much of their gear and as little of mine as possible. Tie the rope to the tree, rap down, clean your gear on the way. Make sure you've got all your stuff, pack up, walk away. Separate cars is good, if you were the driver even better.

If this really happened as you say, while belaying you with an ATC, this person intentionally went hands off for several minutes while you were on lead. This type of behavior could kill someone. I'm very glad it didn't kill you, but for the sake of the next poor bastard who finds them in the partner-finder, I really think you should share who it was. This isn't a momentary lapse of judgment, this is potentially fatally negligent belaying.


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By kilonot
Sep 10, 2012

This is an actual situation which happened yesterday on the first pitch of Hawk in the Gunks. That's the one with the massive scar where a large rockfall took out the old belay tree.

Oddly enough, I did not lose my cool. I was mostly just shocked that someone could be so spectacularly blasť with someone else's life. The tree I anchored to was far too off route to clean on rap, so I knew he'd need to clean the pitch. I didn't see the point in yelling at him since I knew immediately I would never climb with this guy again. I did consider that if I broke his nose, he'd have got what he deserved. I pretended nothing happened, belayed him up to me to clean my gear. I said I was done for the day and we rapped off. I got my gear from him and called it a day. Frankly, I did not see any way to discuss what had happened that could end well. What he did wasn't the result of ignorance, but gross negligence.

On the bright side, the Brau Haus was out of the bavarian pretzel so I tried the german meatballs with spetzel. With a nice Kostrizser, they were spectacular.

I like the idea of peeing on him from above. Unfortunately the tree was too far and my aim too poor.


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

There are TONS of people to climb with at the Gunks! No big loss! Lucky you are safe and unharmed.
Here are my rules to new partners:
1. Observe the person at the gym if met on internet go to a single pitch crag and have a short safety discussion. Establish communication signals.
2. Go to a familiar crag where u can see belayer at the top of the climb.
3. Let him/her lead it if u lead choose familiar line that you would be able to solo.
4. Look down periodically to evaluate his belay, communication, attention.
The whole time assess for smell of alcohol, body language, eye contact, confidence of movement.
Best of luck!


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By Nick Stayner
From The Magic City
Sep 10, 2012
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.

Wow!Makes me thankful that all the partners I've linked up with over the years on here (and there have been many!) have been so awesome.


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By Unassigned User
Sep 10, 2012

Dude I am so sketched out when I am leading that I probably would have cried if I saw someone on their phone instead of belaying me. I dunno, it seems your response was a good one except that I would have corrected him somehow about his belaying technique, how else will he do better next time?


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

Jake Jones wrote:
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.

In case of unsafe leader : it was in a gym, he was struggling up a climb and decided to run it out ...3 last draws. A fall would result in decking besides there was a kid climbing next to the line he was on and could potentially put the kid in danger. I told him to clip and not to run things out because he is too tired to clip. Did not listen...hence ego punch and a dump!


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By kilonot
Sep 10, 2012

J Hazard wrote:
Dude I am so sketched out when I am leading that I probably would have cried if I saw someone on their phone instead of belaying me. I dunno, it seems your response was a good one except that I would have corrected him somehow about his belaying technique, how else will he do better next time?


That's the thing though. There was nothing wrong with his technique. There is something very wrong with his personality.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Sep 10, 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.

Scott Gardiner wrote:
get down safely as possible, thank to be alive, leave

+1 but forgot to add the part about demanding an explanation for why the partner thought this would be OK.
If I was not given a good explanation (I doubt there is one), I'd post it up here and let them have it.
None of my partners brings a phone on a route or at least never takes it out of a pack that I've ever seen. Bad etiquette, safety not withstanding.

Jason Todd wrote:
Boot stab him in the fart box.

Best throw-back of the year.


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By RockyMtnTed
Sep 10, 2012

So you are going to let someone else on here climb with him and possibly deck because of his poor technique? Thats nice of you... Glad I am not looking for partners in the gunks!

Honestly I would not want someones blood on my hands, I think you need to let people know who it is.... Like someone else said this is a VERY fatal belaying flaw.


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By BigJuggsjohnson
Sep 10, 2012
Stones

Yea disclose his name. It does not mean he is the only one with unsafe habits but it will hopefully ring some bells there.


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By s.price
From PS,CO
Sep 10, 2012
 Morning Dew ,self portrait

You should post up who this is. Anything less would be a disservice to all MPers.


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By kevin murphy
From Lafayette, Colorado
Sep 10, 2012
road

I have another debate. It's been going back and forth for a while. It may have been at fault. We were climbing rip chord in Bo Can, me belaying, buddy climbing, feeding rope as he clipped, normal, he fell, maybe once or twice, no big deal. There a big move to a jug, he grabbed the draw, which I could't see, I feed him rope normally, with a bit of slack left, to climb easily, right when he clipped the draw he lets go without saying take, fall, something. Falls 10 feet, no big deal, all air. But I got the feeling from the third in our group, and him, that I did something wrong. What do you think?


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Sep 10, 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.

kevin murphy wrote:
I have another debate. It's been going back and forth for a while. It may have been at fault. We were climbing rip chord in Bo Can, me belaying, buddy climbing, feeding rope as he clipped, normal, he fell, maybe once or twice, no big deal. There a big move to a jug, he grabbed the draw, which I could't see, I feed him rope normally, with a bit of slack left, to climb easily, right when he clipped the draw he lets go without saying take, fall, something. Falls 10 feet, no big deal, all air. But I got the feeling from the third in our group, and him, that I did something wrong. What do you think?

No opinion since I wasn't there. Better ask Elanor...


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