Whistle as means of communication?


Scott Phil · · NC · Joined May 2010 · Points: 191

Whistles are problematic for the reasons mentioned above.  Bicycle horns would allow a full range of climbing commands and are potentially hands free. Garden gnomes and band are optional.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,040
Scott Phil wrote:

Whistles are problematic for the reasons mentioned above.  Bicycle horns would allow a full range of climbing commands and are potentially hands free. Garden gnomes and band are optional.

Yeah, but....i mean....

Jack Mullen · · Oceanside, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0
BigB wrote:

maybe we should consider intercom systems at the belays ....

I did see a party in eldo today using walkie talkies for their commands.

Josiah Ferguson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 15

For what it's worth...

I was climbing a multipitch recently and the party ahead of us was whistling at each other to communicate and I thought it was genius and effective. I especially noticed it when, on one pitch, there was a long traverse and a lot of wind and this pair had no trouble communicating through the wind while my partner and I (our third day climbing together at that point) had to resort to rope signals.

A few differences from what was brought up in the first post. 1, they werent using emergency whistles, just their mouths. 2, there were only two of them not a clusterfuck of five. 3, it was simple: whistle means on belay, whistle back means climbing. 4, this party was quick and clearly experienced, not a shit show.

The take away: it ain't necessarily the tool that's the problem, just the folks using it. As long as your communication is understood by your partner and not impairing communication between me and mine, I don't give a shit.

Skye Swoboda-Colberg · · Laramie, Wyoming · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 110

There is an appropriate time and place for whistles, I have found them useful in Alpine Terrain such as the Tetons or Wind River Range where (1) You don't have a lot of other parties around, (2) You're climbing full rope length pitches (3) There is so much wind you have no other means of communication other than radios (bulky/expensive) and rope tugs (sketchy). They should not be used in settings where you can address your partners by name, and you still need to make a plan before you leave the ground. It goes something like this:

Whistle from top: You can take me off Belay, whistle from bottom: You are off belay, Whistle from top: You are on belay, Whistle from bottom: Climbing.

Some chalk bags have rescue whistles built into the cordlock.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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