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Borrowing a lead rope from the gym


Original Post
BIG FUN · · Westminster, CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

Looking for some feedback on the "industry standard". Visited Ubergrippen today in Denver and asked to borrow a leadrope to teach my girlfriend how to lead belay. I was denied this simple request by the general manager (beard, wears a beanie) who said i was not qualified to teach her and therefore not allowed to borrow a rope. I was informed the only way for someone to get the experience required to Lead belay was to take a 6 hour, $160 class. I made it very clear she would not be practicing how to lead and i wouldn't go on the sharp end without a check out. I've borrowed ropes from movement and earth treks without a second thought from the staff. Was i wrong to ask? The GM made it seem like i was the asshole for asking as he was condescending and rude. 


Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 569

Maybe you could have borrowed a different girlfriend from them. 

Evan Kirk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 65

Insurance mandated policy. GM is probably more aware of the issues regarding this than most staff members at most gyms. Private companies can make their own rules. 

climberish · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 10

Almost every gym I've been to or worked at has policies barring a member from teaching someone how to belay on premises due to insurance policies. 

Tomily ma · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 305

I went to a shooting range and asked to borrow a pistol to teach someone how to shoot.  

Max Forbes · · Vermont & Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 108

It’s fairly standard for gyms to have policies that dictate that all instruction that takes place in the gym comes from staff only. Just one of those crappy liability things that they have to deal with. 

JFM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,768

It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,630

Not surprised. Walk a mile in their shoes?

climberish · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 10

takes one to know one

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

 You passed their lead belay test prior to this visit? You had a third person with you to belay you to TR while you taught her how to lead belay or to belay her while she mock leads? If no then you should have known how that was goin go down.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

I manage a gym and this is standard across the country. Gyms are liable for all instruction that takes place on premises, so the default is to ensure that all of that instruction takes place according to what the gym has laid out in its instructional plans with its insurance company- which requires employees to do all instruction. 

I know this can feel like it sucks and it pins customers into paying for the instruction, but the thing is that while *you* may know how to teach lead climbing properly, that other guy over there may not. Policies are always created because of possible scenarios, not individual ones. 

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

6 hour lead class? That seems like a long time.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
mediocre wrote:

6 hour lead class? That seems like a long time.

I’ve encountered climbers with 3 yrs lead experience that still don’t know what they’re doing or how to do it safely. 


Sir Camsalot · · thankgodchickenhead, Ut · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 145

I wouldn't want to lead on a rope I knew nothing about. Why not take your own lead rope?

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535
Sir Camsalot wrote:

I wouldn't want to lead on a rope I knew nothing about. Why not take your own lead rope?

Many gyms provide ropes and don't allow you to use your own. 

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Marc801 C wrote:

I’ve encountered climbers with 3 yrs lead experience that still don’t know what they’re doing or how to do it safely. 


YES YES YES!!!!

SeƱor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Never, ever, tell a gym you're going to instruct or teach someone there. As far as loaning you the rope. Do they have loaner ropes for lead? My primary gym requires that you BYO rope. I've been to other gyms that require that you use theirs. Personally, I much prefer bringing my own. But I wouldn't expect a gym that doesn't have loaner ropes as a standard practice to suddenly break one out for me. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 745

No gym that I've ever been to ever allowed a random guy to walk in the door and TEACH a friend/girlfriend how to belay (lead or toprope) in their gym.

The gyms that require you to use their gym ropes will check out ropes to you without asking who you intend to climb with, and that is probably how you got the rope in other gyms, but in general you have to be lead and/or lead belay-certified in their gym, or tell them when checking in that you'd like to take a (lead) climb/belay test.

It doesn't mean that the only way to learn how to lead belay is to take their lead class, of course. Take your girlfriend out and teach her on your own gear all you want, and then take that test in the gym if you want to climb in the gym. But the rule in every gym that I've taken a belay test in was that you take the belay test when you first come into the gym, without any kind of " practice" or "refresher".

Franck Vee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 70

I don't think you're an a-hole for asking, and I hope the GM is better at managing than at PR.

This being said, I'm not surprised. If I had a gym, I wouldn't want random people "teaching" other random people at mine. First off, the person being thaught can't lead without having past the certification. Even if you do mock lead and there are 3 of you, what tells me that the TR belayer won't give out too much slack and ground the climber? Nothing. 160$ is stiff (greedy) for a base lead climbing class, but then just go outside if you do have the knowledge to do it properly yourself... otherwise find a cheaper gym?

Chalk in the Wind · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 3

I'm being mindful of Rule #1, but since your profile says you lead trad and you have ticks for outdoor sport and trad leads, I'm assuming you have your own rope and gear, so why not go outside and get on a nice, easy route? If possible, set a fixed line and attach an ascender (like solo TR) as a backup until you're comfortable with her belaying. Have her catch some short, safe TR falls as well.

I know Colorado can be cold this time of year, but surely there are nice days and sunny walls.


Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105

Any gym that says "our insurance requires <absurdly specific practice>" is lying. Insurance requirements are not that detailed.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Colorado
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