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Partner woes


Original Post
Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

My main climbing partner, who has tapered off his climbing dramatically over the last few years to pursue other interests, has also stopped learning about new and perhaps better ways of constructing trad anchors and sport lowering setups.

We both came into the sport in the 90's and learned mainly from John Longs books about climbing anchors, and a class we took on trad leading from a AMGA guide. Most of the techniques are solid and are not dangerous or sketchy. But a lot of new techniques are out there that I employ that really put him off. We both usually carry and use a PAS type device.

What do you tell someone who you want to climb with that new techniques aren't making them unsafe, and that if they just took a couple of minutes to learn them they might actually improve?  Mostly I am talking about using slings instead of the rope/cordalette for anchors. I use either a quad or just an unknotted sling and he still uses the rope and series of clove hitches.

Both safe and effective....but I don't like using the rope as part of the anchor when on multipitch routes, in case I need to escape the belay.

Michael McNutt · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5

Honestly, it sounds like a non problem. If his anchors are safe, why nitpick?  This new equalized quad bullshit just causes people to fuck around at the transition more.  Your anchor checklist should be for quality of placements, redundancy, and equalization.  That's it.  If he accomplishes that with the rope or cord, then you have nothing to complain about.  

Andy Summers · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 50

There is a lot of easily accessible information available these days, but it's on him to actually read/watch it and convince himself that he's not gonna die.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrgadjo9niY - DMM Techincal Video on Slings at Anchors
https://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/qc-lab-sling-strength-in-3-different-anchor-configurations.html - QC LAB: Sling Strength in 3 Anchor Configurations
https://americanalpineclub.org/resources-blog/2017/7/31/anchors - Anchors

Maybe go for videos? I mean, who doesn't like watching people break shit?

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

Sounds like a non-issue.  The only time I consider showing an experienced partner a new technique is when my method is safer and/or faster.

Harold Sutton · · Syracuse NY · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 1

Best remedy might be for them to get out and climb with those systems more.  The issue you are describing happens to me all the time, but often with noobs i am taking out that have not seen many multi pitch stations, natural anchor setups or the all to common sketchy sun bleached slings for rap stations.  

It all comes down to a learned exposure to a certain risk level.  When I bring my second up I usually give them the opportunity to ask any questions or recommend any modifications to the setup always with the caveat "This is how i choose to do it in this instance based certain reasons, there are other ways that would work and we could debate them for half a day"  

The reality that i have come to is that it is the leaders choice and as long as it is safe for the application then have at it.  

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

Sounds like Buck isn't complaining about his partner's anchors but but his partner is about Buck's.

Honestly, Buck, if you've been climbing with someone for 20+ years and they suddenly don't like your "new-fangled" technique, I'd take a look at the longevity and value in that relationship and probably just accommodate the person, even if he's wrong. I have a buddy who sometimes tells me things like I need to put lockers on the bolt ends of bolted anchors. I could waste breath arguing, but I just tend to nod my head and throw on a couple lockers because I really value this person's company and reliability. 

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Señor Arroz wrote: Sounds like Buck isn't complaining about his partner's anchors but but his partner is about Buck's.

Honestly, Buck, if you've been climbing with someone for 20+ years and they suddenly don't like your "new-fangled" technique, I'd take a look at the longevity and value in that relationship and probably just accommodate the person, even if he's wrong. I have a buddy who sometimes tells me things like I need to put lockers on the bolt ends of bolted anchors. I could waste breath arguing, but I just tend to nod my head and throw on a couple lockers because I really value this person's company and reliability. 

This. I am always looking for the quickest-safest-lightest etc way of doing things.  But I guess I could just let it be. He is a fast climber, that puts in a lot of gear, usually nuts and hexes, that take me a long time to get out. I am trying to get him to put more cams in. 

My partner isn't really that into climbing anymore, just does it to keep in touch with me, I think.  I don't SCUBA or MTB, he doesn't ski, so we kind of lost touch for a while. 

I think I'll just shut up and not try and sell him on the efficiency of MY way, and we'll just climb slower, just to maintain the relationship. I want to do JTree over Thanksgiving...
Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740
Buck Rio wrote:
Both safe and effective....but I don't like using the rope as part of the anchor when on multipitch routes, in case I need to escape the belay.

Untie from the rope. You just escaped the belay.


Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30
Buck Rio wrote:

This. I am always looking for the quickest-safest-lightest etc way of doing things.  But I guess I could just let it be. He is a fast climber, that puts in a lot of gear, usually nuts and hexes, that take me a long time to get out. I am trying to get him to put more cams in.


How about you practicing getting nuts out quicker? Using heaps of nuts are after all lighter than the standard "double rack of cams".

sgt.sausage · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0

I don't tell him anything.

I tell you: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Patrik wrote:

How about you practicing getting nuts out quicker? Using heaps of nuts are after all lighter than the standard "double rack of cams".

Dude:  I am a PRO at getting out nuts. I started climbing when nobody had cams...But my buddy often has a full rack of cams left at the belay, and no nuts lol. Plus he is so strong, he can stop mid-crux, and throw in a nut, its crazy. Cleaning that of course is a problem for ME. I don't like hanging unless necessary. My leads are usually 3/4 cams, maybe a nut or two...

I am just whining, he is a great friend and will do anything for you.  Since he pretty much stopped climbing I missed out on a lot of trips we could have gone on.

Finding a reliable partner that I enjoy spending time with is super hard for me. I am not naturally an outgoing person. But I love climbing. The physicality and movement and the sense of danger all combine to focus your thought on the moment....not many other things do that for me.
Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Concentrate on save v. unsafe.

If he is a safe partner be thankful you have someone to climb with. If you need someone faster, then climb with whoever. But honestly, you are gonna find quirks in just about anyone and no one climbs just like we do.

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Harumpfster Boondoggle wrote: Concentrate on save v. unsafe.

If he is a safe partner be thankful you have someone to climb with. If you need someone faster, then climb with whoever. But honestly, you are gonna find quirks in just about anyone and no one climbs just like we do.

Thanks, seriously. Uber safe, just something of a Luddite when it comes to climbing...

Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30
Buck Rio wrote: I use either a quad or just an unknotted sling ...

Buck Rio wrote: Finding a reliable partner that I enjoy spending time with is super hard for me. 

I just gave you a hint ...

BTW, how do you make an unknotted sling have redundancy as used for an anchor setup?
Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,631

The first question to answer:  Do you want to be right?  Or do you want to be happy?

The second (and last) question:  Do you know what it takes for you and your partner to both be happy?

don'tchuffonme · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 25
Paul Hutton wrote: Untie from the rope. You just escaped the belay.


Why 13 people liked this is beyond me.  It's possible to to still be belaying and not tied in.  This is idiocy.  Untying from the rope just means you're not connected.  It doesn't mean you've escaped the belay.

Garrett R. · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 40
Patrik wrote:

How about you practicing getting nuts out quicker? Using heaps of nuts are after all lighter than the standard "double rack of cams".

Lighter doesn't always mean faster... Carrying a bit more gear will probably speed most parties up - easier to just fire in what is convenient, don't have to spend time fiddling to make that nut work just to save that cam for the anchor,  don't have to climb cautiously and deliberately because you're needing to run it out between placements and that makes you nervous, etc.

I maintain that it is quicker and more efficient to clean a cam than a nut (especially if the partner is in the habit of setting his nuts every time) in the majority of scenarios, and  it takes less time to re-rack and sort at the transition.

There are a plethora of reasons speed-ascent parties (for most routes) carry a rack of cams and not a rack of nuts.
Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 15,846

You didn't say what kind of climbing you're doing...1, 2 maybe 3 pitch climbs on developed crags, or 8-10 and more pitch climbs in the "outback".  I've been climbing 5 decades and still have "old friends" still using the "old ways and old gear, I climb with on the former, but wouldn't go on the latter with.  Time is usually the essence....a 4-biner "rap break" takes a while to set up and get right...no issue for 2 raps on a sunny day, a different story 8 raps in the rain.

So climb safe and climb happy, it's a shame some people don't want to "learn new / alternate ways" of doing something; but it's there choice just as it's your choice what to do about it.  

BTW  Tieing in to a mid-cliff anchor with ONLY the rope is WAY OLD SCHOOL (like 1950's-early=60's).  If you learned this from a guide in the 1990's he/she was a bit behind the times; unless you mis-interpreted what he was saying and he/she was really teaching you an "emergency" tie-in ("Hey, if something happens and you lose your gear, here's what you can do"), or a tie-in for going "light and fast" (i.e minimal equipment on easy terrain). Cordolette-to-a-power-point has been pretty std since the 1980's at least.

Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740
don'tchuffonme wrote:

Why 13 people liked this is beyond me.  It's possible to to still be belaying and not tied in.  This is idiocy.  Untying from the rope just means you're not connected.  It doesn't mean you've escaped the belay.

Obviously, you should establish some kinda knot below the belay device to retain progress and prevent your follower from being dropped when you leave the belay. Overhand on a bight for assisted braking devices; and for ATC: bight through the belay device's biner, mule hitch on the load strand, backed up by overhand knot immediately next to the mule hitch. Did I cover the Barney style for ya? 

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Patrik wrote:

I just gave you a hint ...

BTW, how do you make an unknotted sling have redundancy as used for an anchor setup?

you use a clove hitch on the master point


Just got back from a week long trip with said partner.  That was his last climbing trip, he told me flat out he is no longer interested in going on a "climbing" trip with me or anybody.

His tolerance for risk has really dropped over the years, and now he doesn't even like 5.7 trad routes. But he'll go caving and canyoneering and scuba diving or sport climbing....

Oh well, all things must pass. I guess I'll be hitting up the partner boards and Facebook for new climbing partners. We had a good run of fun trips to cool places.

City of Rocks
Yosemite
Joshua Tree x 4
Devils Lake x many
North Shore x many
Boulder/Estes Park/Eldorado x 2
Black Hills x 2
Devils Tower
Blue Mounds x many
Mount Lemmon
Section 13
Wolf Ridge
Taylors Falls x many
RMNP
Probably forgot some...
Sarah Ulrich · · Blacksburg, VA · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Hey Buck, sorry to hear that. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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