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Ethics on multi-pitch routes


Original Post
Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

It seems that every time I go climb the south ridge of mount gimli either me or someone else gets in  an argument with a slow party at the base of the 1st pitch. This summer I witnessed a screaming match between two parties because the first team that walked from the road in the morning was taking over two hours to lead the first 5.8 pitch (which usually takes 30-40 minutes for an average party), the second team that had camped at the base offered to lead the pitch for them, the first team took offence to this and started arguing that they were there first and therefore can be as slow as they pleased. I wanted to see what you folks think of this and how you would deal with this situation. 

Ps: the reason this is so common is because the route was included in the 50 classics so every 5.10 trad climber thinks it will be a fun first alpine climb. Lots of these new climbers jump the line or aren't on the same page as everyone else

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

80% of climbers are on 20% of the routes. If you want to avoid crowds, you can just go climb anything other than one of the 50 Cowded Classics. Being able to climb a bit harder or willing to walk a little farther than your average gumby helps. Crowds are pretty easy to avoid with even a little extra effort and imagination. If you try to climb the most popular moderate in the range, you should not be surprised when it is crowded.

Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

JCM wrote:

80% of climbers are on 20% of the routes. If you want to avoid crowds, you can just go climb anything other than one of the 50 Cowded Classics. Being able to climb a bit harder or willing to walk a little farther than your average gumby helps. Crowds are pretty easy to avoid with even a little extra effort and imagination. If you try to climb the most popular moderate in the range, you should not be surprised when it is crowded.

Fair point, in the valhallas 99% of the climbers are on the south ridge, it's easy to avoid them. By climbing one of the other gimli routes. But that south ridge is just the best damn climb in the universe, I just can't get enough.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Kevin Mcbride wrote:

It seems that every time I go climb the south ridge of mount gimli either me or someone else gets in  an argument with a slow party at the base of the 1st pitch. This summer I witnessed a screaming match between two parties because the first team was taking over two hours to lead the first 5.8 pitch (which usually takes 30-40 minutes for an average party), the second team offered to lead the pitch for them, the first team took offence to this and started arguing that they were there first and therefore can be as slow as they pleased. I wanted to see what you folks think of this and how you would deal with this situation. 

Ps: the reason this is so common is because the route was included in the 50 classics so every 5.10 trad climber thinks it will be a fun first alpine climb.

First on is first on. Pass if you can, or find something else. 

mcarizona · · Flag · Joined Feb 2007 · Points: 180

Get up earlier.  Once in vegas a 'fast party' passed us.  They got out of the main crack and found plenty of gear 6 feet away and climbed on.  They were cool.  We never saw them again to return the stopper they neglected to clean.

Steve

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,551

Yep, get up earlier so one can beat the crowds and have a backup plan in case that's not early enough.  Someone who got there first has earned the right to not have another party climbing above them.

And common courtesy goes a long way.  Be respectful.  Be polite.

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 498

John Wilder wrote:

First on is first on. Pass if you can, or find something else. 

This. If you force your way past a party ahead of you, you are a penis head. But if you are slow and refuse to let an obviously faster party pass, you’re also a penis head. But the team there first still gets to decide whether they’re gonna be a penis head or not, and if they choose to be a penis head, they were there first and can do what they want. Suck it up and admit you should’ve been there earlier or chosen something different 

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,551

Brian Abram wrote:

This. If you force your way past a party ahead of you, you are a penis head. But if you are slow and refuse to let an obviously faster party pass, you’re also a penis head. But the team there first still gets to decide whether they’re gonna be a penis head or not, and if they choose to be a penis head, they were there first and can do what they want. Suck it up and admit you should’ve been there earlier or chosen something different 

This kind of "penis head" attitude from the later party is what ruins the day for everyone.

Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

Bill Lawry wrote:

Yep, get up earlier so one can beat the crowds and have a backup plan in case that's not early enough.  Someone who got there first has earned the right to not have another party climbing above them.

And common courtesy goes a long way.  Be respectful.  Be polite.

I usually try to be up there just in time for the sun to be up, I never wait long at the base, I'll do one of the 5.10 alternate starts if someone is taking forever, but some people are dead set on the regular start and will wait there until they lose their patience and either leave or get pissed. 

walmongr · · Gilbert AZ · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

Second Party should have gotten up earlier or hiked faster... Their are plenty of "classics" that are not listed I prefer  to not deal with crowds and walking a little further or picking something a little harder is always something i think about when I pick a route.. You should always amuse their is going to be a very early rising party that really wants to climb the classic and more then likely they are at their limit and if you cant get their first or be patient too bad for you...Shut up and get in line or have a plan B.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,551

Kevin Mcbride wrote:

...  but some people are dead set on the regular start and will wait there until they lose their patience and either leave or get pissed. 

Sure, we all have our disappointments whatever the venue.  It can happen at work.  And it can happen with your spouse or significant other.

But losing one's patience with someone just because they are not behaving the way one wants?

Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

I should probably clarify that most arguments I've witnessed stem from different views of ethics, lots of people will jump on the first pitch while another party that was there first is gearing up. Most people (myself included) understand the first is first idea, but some people believe that whoever got in to camp earliest the day before or who ever started walking first is first, and some newbies just jump the line altogether. I'm more interested in how people deal with these kinds of situations 

Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

Changed name of thread to be less misleading

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,551

I've been climbing long moderate multi-pitch, including a handful of classics, for quite some time.  I have never seen anything like what you mention - if I had, I'd have called out the later second party.  And then left for my Plan B.

Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

Bill Lawry wrote:

I've been climbing long moderate multi-pitch, including a handful of classics, for quite some time.  I have never seen anything like what you mention - if I had, I'd have called out the later second party.  And then left for my Plan B.

I guess having a plan b is really the only option. The problem with the valhallas is the the south ridge is the only well traveled route with lots of beta, most other routes are obscure and hard to get beta. Which funnels all the out of towners on to the south ridge.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,551

That does sound like a competitive venue.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

often those bottleneck climbs are what they are because they are the only moderate option with decent gear on that cliff. if you are slow let people pass. Do NOt Pass unless you are fast. that means your whole party. If I blast by a slow party as the leader but my 2nd gets stuck for half an hour thashing on the roof and I have to rig a 5 to1 to get them up it then I am the dick for passing in that situation..

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

Bill Lawry wrote:

That does sound like a competitive venue.

And the other routes are definitely harder.

https://www.mountainproject.com/photo/108471667

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,551

Aye - if I were going there, it’d be to climb just S Ridge.  


Ryan Pfleger · · North Lake Tahoe, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 15

Just to throw a wrinkle in things... what about multipitch ice, or chossy rock? Stuff where there can be real consequences to having a party above you.

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,155

Gimli isn’t one of the 50 classics (though it does look great and popular.)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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