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Top Rope Projecting - Opinion Please
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Nov 3, 2015
So last weekend, my boyfriend and I were sport climbing at a local crag. This is the situation we faced: classic harder climb, 8 bolts, 70? ft of climbing, one person in front of us getting ready to climb… on top rope, no big deal, sounds great, we have not been on it before, maybe we can get some beta, we will wait. The next hour (if not longer) was excruciating. I honestly have no problem with people working something on top rope and taking their time, but this guy had no business on this route. I do not think he completed a move without falling, his belayer basically pulled him up, he made endless excuses for how slow he was being, and he sat there, hanging on the rope swearing he would finish. We stayed quiet and hung out patiently. Well I might have gone for a walk but we said nothing negative to the guy. His saving grace was that he offered to hang our draws for us when he finally got to the anchor; unfortunately he hung them all backwards…. doh! But whatever...So tell me MP, what are your thoughts on top rope projecting? Side note: my best friend thinks I am being pretentious for even commenting on this, but I honestly want to know, what is the general opinion about top rope projecting? Am I a dick for thinking that you should not jump grades just so you can say you “projected a classic -insert grade- climb”? ebethreegs
Joined Jun 16, 2014
1 points
Nov 3, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: The one they call The Husky, Natasha Holliday, Esq...
ebethreegs wrote:
Am I a dick for thinking that you should not jump grades just so you can say you “projected a classic -insert grade- climb”?


How were you able to ascertain his motivation for climbing the route? Did you ask him?
Dave Holliday
Joined Feb 3, 2003
1,283 points
Nov 3, 2015
The other party was there first. You need to get there earlier, or be prepared to climb something else. It's that simple.

Nothing wrong with TR'ing a climb that's too hard for you.
FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
284 points
Administrator
Nov 3, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the lip on Angle of the Dangle. Photo by S...
He's on the route. Move on, or wait are your options. Happens all the time. Micah Klesick
From Vancouver, WA
Joined Aug 18, 2013
4,237 points
Nov 3, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Red Rock
All true projects imo start on top rope. If you want to do something really hard that is outside what you can currently do than you aren't going to be leading it.

Once you get the moves down and figure out where to clip from you can try to lead it. If you are leading it from the start than it isn't really a project because it is probably well within your climbing ability.

I would much rather see people like that trying to do something that they can't than all the people I have run into who will not even try to climb a route because they think it is to hard.

Sux that you got there when someone else was working on a route hard for them that may have been easy for you, but that is just what can happen sometimes. I normally don't have a problem sharing ropes with others and if they want to run up the route I am working on i generally don't mind taking a break and letting them go up.
ViperScale
Joined Dec 22, 2013
201 points
Nov 3, 2015
There's nothing wrong with toprope projecting; a LOT of harder trad climbs get done that way, and if it's a hard vertical climb that you don't have a shot at onsighting, it's the most efficient way to go.

But, if he really could not do even one or two moves without falling, the guy was out of his element, and not really projecting the route. I don't think you were being too pretentious in thinking that.
Pnelson
Joined Jan 1, 2015
58 points
Nov 3, 2015
ViperScale wrote:
All true projects imo start on top rope. If you want to do something really hard that is outside what you can currently do than you aren't going to be leading it.


Incorrect
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Nov 3, 2015
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:
Incorrect
he said IMO...

first come first serve is the rule if there are any, waiting for any sport line for an hour makes it seem like ... well... hit lists just arent my thing
T Roper
From DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA
Joined Mar 31, 2006
1,053 points
Nov 3, 2015
Micah Klesick wrote:
He's on the route. Move on, or wait are your options. Happens all the time.

+1. Fact of life at popular sport crags these days.
Perhaps you should tell us why you and your BF have your hearts so set on this particular climb.
S. Neoh
Joined Oct 4, 2009
563 points
Administrator
Nov 4, 2015
FrankPS wrote:
The other party was there first. You need to get there earlier, or be prepared to climb something else. It's that simple.



I disagree with this. This isn't a big route in the mountains, or even a grade III at the locale trad crag. The old ethic doesn't apply in my opinion. There is a thing called courtesy, or should be.

If people are waiting for a climb (especially a classic) and you're hanging all over it, take a reasonable amount of time and then come down and let them climb while you rest. Maybe you'll get some beta, and you'll certainly get some karma points.

As far as top-roping a project, I do it all the time. But I try not to clog-up a classic route for hours. Hell, I try to keep it reasonable even if no one is waiting out of respect for my belayer.
John Byrnes
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Dec 11, 2007
451 points
Nov 4, 2015
I think you should have climbed something else.

However, if you're engaged with the climber while he hangs pathetically, I think you could tactfully convey your desire to climb that route, and somehow imply that he has failed. "Perhaps it would be good to take a break and work on something else?!?"

Be tactfully direct, and/or move on. Sometimes people need someone to tell them how it is. Just don't be a dick.
George W
Joined Sep 14, 2015
41 points
Nov 4, 2015
I don't think it's necessarily appropriate to ask him to forfeit the route or say anything to him about the situation at all. By all accounts, it is his route and he can do whatever he wants now that he has it. Having said that, it's fucking bad form on his part. If there's people wanting to climb behind me I'm not going to sit up there and fucking hang dog my way up 70 feet over the course of the hour. It's one of those manner or etiquette type things. So, what I do is try and act according to how I would want others to act. It doesn't always reciprocate too well, but sometimes it does.
Good luck.
sarcasm
Joined May 22, 2010
448 points
Nov 4, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Function over fashion.  My newest pair of climbing...
Its one of the reasons I like to climb in remote places. Not to avoid the top roper but to avoid the chronic complainer. Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Joined May 28, 2002
839 points
Nov 4, 2015
It's bad form to occupy a route you can't climb all day, lead or TR. highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion
From Colorado
Joined Oct 29, 2012
43 points
Administrator
Nov 4, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Mastigouche
If you absolutely have to do this route today (because you're visiting and it's your last day or something) then explain your schedule issue and if they'd let you squeeze in a quick lead, you can even lead on his rope so all you need to do it pull it, lead and get lowered from his anchor.
But don't start hang-dogging the said route yourself.
Luc
From Montreal, Quebec
Joined Nov 27, 2006
8,841 points
Nov 4, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: alaska
Micah Klesick wrote:
He's on the route. Move on, or wait are your options. Happens all the time.


This -- as long as people are actually climbing/flailing on it, rather than just sitting at the base eating lunch and talking.
agd
Joined Mar 31, 2010
30 points
Nov 4, 2015
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:
It's bad form to occupy a route you can't climb all day, lead or TR.

Yes, but it is indeed a personal choice. Were there really no other routes the OP could climb instead?
Marc801
From Sandy, Utah
Joined Feb 25, 2014
64 points
Nov 4, 2015
Pnelson wrote:
But, if he really could not do even one or two moves without falling, the guy was out of his element, and not really projecting the route. I don't think you were being too pretentious in thinking that.

Just pretentious in asking about it on a climbing forum.
Marc801
From Sandy, Utah
Joined Feb 25, 2014
64 points
Nov 4, 2015
FrankPS wrote:
Nothing wrong with TR'ing a climb that's too hard for you.


But here's the thing... I think there is something wrong with TR'ing or leading a climb that is TOO hard for you. Hard for you... fine, not a problem. "Too hard" is indicative that you need to put in more work to get to that level. Hang, fall, hang, fall, stick the crux move. Perfect, you worked the move. For me, hang and fall all day on every move and never successfully or actually completing a move (because your belayer is weighting the rope) means you probably need to work on your strength, endurance and technique and that this route is over your head. Hanging all day on a climb, working a climb that is too hard for you while other people are waiting, just seems inconsiderate. Save the climb for when you are ready to climb it, don't bum rush it because its a classic or because you want to be able to climb that grade one day, far in your future.
ebethreegs
Joined Jun 16, 2014
1 points
Nov 4, 2015
ebethreegs wrote:
For me, hang and fall all day on every move and never successfully or actually completing a move


Funny - you're the second person on this thread to use the "all day" exaggeration. I doubt it's over an hour, or even a half hour.
FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
284 points
Nov 4, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Shasta summit
Climbing is a subjective sport. There are a hundred different ways to do things. Everyone has their own style and their own opinions about ethics, technique, etc etc. You should have voiced all of your opinions to that climber if it bothered you so much. Just my $.02 Chase D
Joined Apr 27, 2015
214 points
Administrator
Nov 4, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: There's more than one use for an Ice Hammer. Lake ...
At some crags it is quite legitimate to ask the person top-roping to pull their rope so that you can lead the route, I've done this at Joshua Tree based upon the ethics noted in the guide - however it was several people and they were all sitting around at the bottom of the route - so I felt justified.

Attempting to TR a lead which is obviously too hard for you is a complete waste of your time and energy, plus the time of people capable of leading the route waiting below. In fact you'd be better off letting the person below you lead it, as you'll get valuable beta for your attempt. It really comes down to the question of how well-mannered and attentive to the needs of others you are.
Chris Owen
From Big Bear Lake
Joined Jan 1, 2002
10,767 points
Nov 4, 2015
ebethreegs wrote:
So last weekend, my boyfriend and I were sport climbing at a local crag. This is the situation we faced: classic harder climb, 8 bolts, 70? ft of climbing, one person in front of us getting ready to climb… on top rope, no big deal, sounds great, we have not been on it before, maybe we can get some beta, we will wait. The next hour (if not longer) was excruciating. I honestly have no problem with people working something on top rope and taking their time, but this guy had no business on this route. I do not think he completed a move without falling, his belayer basically pulled him up, he made endless excuses for how slow he was being, and he sat there, hanging on the rope swearing he would finish. We stayed quiet and hung out patiently. Well I might have gone for a walk but we said nothing negative to the guy. His saving grace was that he offered to hang our draws for us when he finally got to the anchor; unfortunately he hung them all backwards…. doh! But whatever...So tell me MP, what are your thoughts on top rope projecting? Side note: my best friend thinks I am being pretentious for even commenting on this, but I honestly want to know, what is the general opinion about top rope projecting? Am I a dick for thinking that you should not jump grades just so you can say you “projected a classic -insert grade- climb”?


"I honestly have no problem with people working something on top rope and taking their time, but this guy had no business on this route."

==>

"I honestly have no problem with people working something on top rope and taking their time [as long as they don't take *too* long, are sufficiently qualified and have business being on the route, or aren't otherwise keeping legitimate climbers off the route]"

Some thoughts:

  • Courtesy goes both ways.
  • What happened to good ol' communication? "Hey, since it seems like you'll be on this route for a while, do you mind if we climb through quickly?"
Kent Richards
Joined Jan 10, 2009
81 points
Nov 4, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: A grey fox skull wedged in a crack 100' up on a FA...
IMO, If you are siege top roping a 70' route for an hour while there are other climbers waiting to get on the route you are being an inconsiderate dickhead. Glenn Schuler
From Monument, Co.
Joined Jun 24, 2006
1,466 points
Nov 4, 2015
Luc wrote:
If you absolutely have to do this route today (because you're visiting and it's your last day or something) then explain your schedule issue and if they'd let you squeeze in a quick lead.

I have done this myself; wanting to squeeze a route in before a flight. And I have let people cut in when they have to leave an area early or if they have travelled from afar and it is their last day. It never hurts to ask, as long as it is done with courtesy and consideration, and without unyielding expectation.
S. Neoh
Joined Oct 4, 2009
563 points
Nov 4, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
Glenn Schuler wrote:
IMO, If you are siege top roping a 70' route for an hour while there are other climbers waiting to get on the route you are being an inconsiderate dickhead.


I know. Was that so hard to arrive at? Seriously, who even enjoys hangdogging for that long? If something turns out to be whacky outta my reach, I'm done and onto something more my speed. I don't have all day.
Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,669 points


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