Crag crashing: cool or not cool?


Original Post
Spencer Parkin · · Bountiful · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

While watching a YouTube video bemoaning the near extinction of the dirt back climber, I found it interesting that crag crashing was mentioned as a primary means of eliciting a climbing partner.  What do you think of the practice?  I would suspect that only those crag crashers willing and able to lead would be welcome and successful.

Plenty of times I've hiked to crags by myself to check them out, but never had enough courage to ask anyone already there if they wanted to climb.  That is, except for one guy that was rope-soloing Pentapitch.  He managed to belay himself as he led the climb.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,115

Met one of my climbers partners that way. I was looking for some other friends and could not find them so I asked if I could join him and two others. He and I have good friends for 30 years. Done big walls and big hills together all over the world.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 888

What do you think people did before MP and the gym. If you didn't have anybody to climb with you went to the crag.

Break the cycle........... ;)

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 449

Seems to me that if you have something to offer "crag crashing" is acceptable. Doesn't have to be a lead, you could bring a good story or some snacks and clean the pitch for us.

s.price · · PS,CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,038

The best lifelong partners I have ever met were just because I showed up at a crag and wanted to hang out with some like minded folk.

Other than my best partner. We met at a bar and have been married for 27 years. No one else I would rather spoon with if things turn ugly.

Eric Fjellanger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 830

This is called making friends. Climbers are friendly, open, and generous, like most people. The walls you feel separate you from strangers are in your mind. Try it and see.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 930

i don't mind it.  that being said, i don't want to hear a lot of arguing when i decline the request.  i don't climb with random people.

n00b · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40

Totally unacceptable. If you can't find a friend to belay you you don't belong at the crag. I don't want losers hanging around while I'm sending, brah.

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 50

I'm not morally opposed to it, but I guess it depends on what you mean by "crag-crashing"... If you have an toprope or anchor set up, and you want to share ropes and anchors, you're in. (Though I'll inspect your anchor myself first, and I probably won't let you belay me until I've seen your habits.) Likewise, if you're looking to lead, and have a rack/draws and rope, I'd be happy to belay you up a route. If you're some random person who shows up with no gear except your harness and shoes, expecting to jump in on my group's rotation, climbing on the dozens of pounds of gear that we schlepped up the approach, you'll tend to have a lower success rate. In all of the above cases, personality helps; be friendly, ask nicely, don't be demanding.

I guess what I'm saying is, make sure you bring something to the table.

Bill 1552 · · Portland, OR · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 265

I have done it a number of times while travelling. Have never been denied but I'm generally selective on who I approach. Look for groups of 3+ and always have my own gear and willing to lead anything I plan to climb. I have also invited others to join when they have approached. A positive attitude goes a long way. Being closed off to meeting new people is limiting. 

Spencer Parkin · · Bountiful · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for the replies.

Being lowered from top-rope anchors is always my biggest concern; so I can see why an unknown person, friendly or not, might not always be welcome.  For all they know, I have no idea how to belay, etc.

Climbing clubs may be a good option since vetting new partners is a continual and expected reoccurring process.  Just pay your dues.

Who wants to join the Parkin Climbing Club?  It's free, but since its members (only me to-date) are primarily married with children, we can only meet once or twice a month.

Wilson On The Drums · · Woodbury, MN · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 860
Spencer Parkin wrote:

"What do you think of the practice?  I would suspect that only those crag crashers willing and able to lead would be welcome and successful." 

Welcome and successful brings up the interesting topic of how one judges another's belay technique on the spot. 

Verdict: Cool. Similar situation: I was out bouldering one day and noticed a guy rope-soloing but back on the ground for the moment. We talked for a bit, he couldn't make progress and I had always wanted to climb the wall he was working on. We climbed https://www.mountainproject.com/v/107187962 that day and both had an absolute blast! Speaking of judging one's belay technique I assumed since he was rope-soloing he'd have everything belay-wise dialed. I followed the second pitch and when I got to the belay noticed no redirect or autoblock setup, at least no belay technique that I was aware of as being safe. He said that's one way he top belayed but agreed to use a safer one on the next pitch.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 12,639

Similar to Allen, I used to do it all the time especially when I traveled for work more often.  Have made lifelong friends that way.  

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
Spencer Parkin wrote:

Thanks for the replies.

Being lowered from top-rope anchors is always my biggest concern; so I can see why an unknown person, friendly or not, might not always be welcome.  For all they know, I have no idea how to belay, etc.

Climbing clubs may be a good option since vetting new partners is a continual and expected reoccurring process.  Just pay your dues.

Who wants to join the Parkin Climbing Club?  It's free, but since its members (only me to-date) are primarily married with children, we can only meet once or twice a month.

If the Parkin climbing club ever comes to Boise, there's a belayer here to catch ya...

Having a stranger lower you give you pause? One thing a visitor did that I thought was clever, was to slap his grigri on the belay side and clip in. I was still feeding rope and lowering, but he could always over ride and slow or stop to clean, or if I decided to dump him. Yes, he could have just rappelled, but that would still leave the question of me lowering him unanswered. There was a weight difference, too, so it was important to see if that would be a factor. 

Best, OLH

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 60
Old lady H wrote:

If the Parkin climbing club ever comes to Boise, there's a belayer here to catch ya...

Having a stranger lower you give you pause? One thing a visitor did that I thought was clever, was to slap his grigri on the belay side and clip in. I was still feeding rope and lowering, but he could always over ride and slow or stop to clean, or if I decided to dump him. Yes, he could have just rappelled, but that would still leave the question of me lowering him unanswered. There was a weight difference, too, so it was important to see if that would be a factor. 

Best, OLH

You don't need a grigri to do this.  A simple hand on the belayer's side while being lowered is enough to stop yourself in the case of any belayer error.  I'm kind of a safety freak, and whenever I'm about to be lowered by someone whom I have less than 110% trust in, I always grab their side of the rope as I yell "take!"  Seriously, try it sometime.

Tomily ma · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 290

It's a kinda sad state of the world that someone asked this question. 

On second thought, I can't think of a single climber I know personally or just from seeing at the crag that would not offer a stranger a ride or run a lap on a tr or whatever. MP forums are for spraying and micro aggressions, but your local climbing community is just that: a community. 

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 449
Pnelson wrote:

You don't need a grigri to do this.  A simple hand on the belayer's side while being lowered is enough to stop yourself in the case of any belayer error.

Also, you could throw a prusik on the belay rope saving you from being dropped and as a bonus you won't swing out from the climb while pulling gear on the way down.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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