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cascadecowboy

"claiming" a route - etiquette?

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A route etiquette question for you all. It's a long post, but it needs a good explanation.

 

A party of two climbers approached a popular multi-pitch walk-off route at Smith Rock on a busy spring Saturday. A party of two was already on the route, with the second about to leave the ground. There was no one waiting at the base of the route, and no gear, pack, rope bag etc. in sight. There was also a cluster of about 8-10 climbers downhill about 100 feet away, climbing on several other routes, talking, and generally hanging out - a typical crag scene. This is largely a beginner's area.

 

The two approaching climbers think, "No pack, no rope, no people - cool, our route is free", walk directly to the base of the route, dropped their packs and started racking up. A few minutes later, a woman from the other group of 8-12 folks approached the two climbers and rips into them, telling them loudly and angrily that it's "her route", the new folks have no right just to walk up to a route and assume it's free, the newcomers should instead ask all climbers in the vicinity if they plan to climb the route, and generally demanding that the new arrivals back off and let her and her party of three (slow beginners) climb first.

 

The new arrivals patiently listened to the tirade, then responded that:

1) The generally accepted practice is that if there are not an actual person(s) or rope at the base of a route, that means it's available. Being nearby and wanting to climb a route does not establish a "claim" that anyone else can recognize.

2) One does NOT in fact need to ask all other parties in the area if they intend to climb the route. If a team wants a route, it's their responsibility to gear up and go when it's free - esp. on a busy day at Smith.

The newcomer team added that normally they might be open to working something out, being that the other group were clearly beginners and didn't know the unwritten rules about claiming a route, but since the woman had been so confrontational and abusive, they new team basically said tough s***, they were going ahead with the route (they were also a fast team and cleared the first pitch in about 20 minutes.)

 

So . . .

1) Who do you think is in the right here? Was the newly arrived team inconsiderate clods, or was the woman way out of line?

2) For those of you who have climbed in other parts of the country or world, is claiming a route by "dropping your rope" an accepted practice elsewhere, or is this more a Smith thing?

3) Other thoughts?

 

Yes, it's sad that crags can get so crowded that bad vibes and turf battles develop, but for the newbies reading this, it important that they learn - and hopefully not this way!

 

 

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I'd rule for the newly arrived team. If there was a rope in a pile at the base, then I'd ask surrounding people if they were going to climb it really soon. I don't think that a little folded card at the base that said "reserved" would cut it either. Want a route? Put a warm body on it.

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If I was newly arrived party of 2 I would have told loud woman "you snooze you lose" the_finger.gif and if she still kept it up i would have trundled coils on her from a great height caveman style. boxing_smiley.gif

 

I agree with Off White. If you aren't climbing a route or physically waiting at the base, ready to proceed at first available opportunity, it is not yours to tell others to get off of. Or even if you are! boxing_smiley.gif

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I'm on the newcomers' side here too (would that be your team, cowboy?). Let me analogize:

 

A party of two go into a coffee shop and see there's just one table free. They could set something like their backpacks down on the table in order to "claim" it (put dibs on it, as it were), but instead choose not to. They get in line behind another guy and his friend. The guy and friend get their coffees and and then go directly for the aforementioned open table and sit down at it. The first party of two who failed to claim the table with a personal item get mad but they've got no leg to stand on (nor table to sit at) in their argument.

 

My point is this: if you want to claim something for later use, you have to put a dibs item onto it. Your proximity to the object of desire (in this case the table) does not signify a damn thing. However, if you should decide to leave a dibs item at the table, you can't leave the item there too long else someone will get irritated that the table continues to be unused.

 

The climber chick should have laid claim to the route by putting some gear or a rope at its base. She should have then shown that she and her group were at least preparing to use the route. Otherwise, her loss.

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Dude even if there's gear or a rope at the base, if there isnt an OWNER there there is no route line up. Its your responsibility to be ready to climb when the climb is free. If you're off putting on lip gloss or taking a TR burn on a nearby route or whatever you are NOT ready to climb even if you have the whole trunk of your SUV piled at the base.

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Fuck the bitch

 

You are totally in the right. If you want to claim a route you get there, and you wait if there's a line up.

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Dru, I agree somewhat, but...

 

I would add that since the group of 8-10 climbers were nearby, had they left some gear at the base then the newcomers would have been polite to ask if the loitering group intended to climb the route (or if that was there gear and could they move it out of the way). I agree that if gear is left there and there is nobody even remotely nearby then the route (and maybe even the gear shocked.gif) is completely up for grabs.

 

Of course, I'm probably a little more polite than the average sport climber you might find at a place like that. I'd gauge the situation and choose to ask or not ask the nearby group as necessary.

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'claiming' routes is poor form. but so is whining on the Internet about other people doing it. cry.gifrolleyes.gif

 

did you have a fun day? what else did you climb? were you challenged? was the weather nice? did you see any cool birds or lizards? ... or is your only worthwhile recollection this brief encounter with a dimwit.

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I call my rule the fuck off rule.

 

If nobody is on the route or lined up then fuck off. If they want to hog it with a line then fuck off. Otherwise I climb something else.

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AlpineK said:

Fuck the bitch

 

You are totally in the right. If you want to claim a route you get there, and you wait if there's a line up.

God damn Kurt I agree with you. Christ is the sky caving in. I'm nervous now.

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Off_White said:

I'd rule for the newly arrived team. If there was a rope in a pile at the base, then I'd ask surrounding people if they were going to climb it really soon. I don't think that a little folded card at the base that said "reserved" would cut it either. Want a route? Put a warm body on it.

 

What Off-White said.

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I'd agree with those who agree with Off. But I'd also add that local practices can vary. The last time I went to visit my childhood crag at Grand Ledge, Michigan, the standard "dibbs" system was not in practice due to a concern for cliff-top erosion, and the expectation was that folks would hang their top ropes on the crag (it is all top-roping there) at the beginning of the day and leave them there all day long. If you weren't willing to let everybody and their dog use your rope, you really weren't supposed to even hang one. And everybody would just walk back and forth, using ropes that had been set by somebody else. My point is that, even if there are rules that apparently make sense, you gotta ask around if you aren't sure.

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Fern's question is a good one

 

A party of two climbers approached a popular multi-pitch walk-off route at Smith Rock on a busy spring Saturday. A party of two was already on the route, with the second about to leave the ground. There was no one waiting at the base of the route, and no gear, pack, rope bag etc. in sight. There was also a cluster of about 8-10 climbers downhill about 100 feet away, climbing on several other routes, talking, and generally hanging out - a typical crag scene. This is largely a beginner's area.

 

Super Slab or what? Cinnamon Slab? Are any of these routes worth brawling over? Or by beginners area do we mean Morning Glory?

 

Those cheater sticks make good quarterstaves. It's be funny to see some Little John twirling going on as the gumbies and send hogs square off like the Sharks and Jets in West Side Story. Mini haulbags are thrown. Redpoint lasers are whipped out in an attempt to blind but renfdered useless in a cloud of chalk dust. Someone is tacoed with a bouldering mat and thrown in the river. A lycra wearing would be poseur is flogged with a chain of quickdraws. When the dust clears the send hogs are supreme. The gumbies have taken a beating. For the rest of the day, crushed like the Revolutionary Guard, they are forced by imperialist lackets to be belay slaves. But none of them know how to use a Gri Gri. That's not taught in Basic Mountaineering course. Once one short-over-fleece wearing slave has dropped a Prana halter top crank queen from the 4th bolt on Chain the others get the picture. This time there is no quarter. A troupe of passing boulderers swarm up onto the boulder in Aggro Gully and open a third front by throwing rocks and chalkbags into the melee. No one wins. As the sun sets vultures flap down from Smith Summits to feast on the piled corpses.

 

Shit, its like Wild Kingdom! boxing_smiley.gifcantfocus.gif

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the fleece/longjohns under shorts is signature mazama/mountie. almost a calling card

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iain said:

the fleece/longjohns under shorts is signature mazama/mountie. almost a calling card

 

I'm waiting for someone to sell the shorts n' poly combo sewn together as a single unit, maybe even with poly-legs that zip-off and integrated gaiter units as an aftermarket option... fruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.giffruit.gif

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i would have ignored and then sent!!

 

returning to pilfer their packs as they epic!!

 

the_finger.gif

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maybe heckle them a bit too? send up some loud sucker beta with references to freedom of the hills?

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no just make unbashing rude comments and spill my beer!

 

and on that note....apprently some chap took a grounder on moonshine.... he was quaffing a beer and headed up...only to fall form 20ft. broke arm or something....

 

oops!

 

 

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my guess is spiderman. easy enough to show up there only to have some party show up out of the blue around the corner. cinnamon slab is not a walk off. btw a fun easy route there is gingersnap to the newer face route right on the edge over peapod cave (5.9, I think?). can be done in 1 60m rope.

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Figger_Eight said:

Off_White said:

I'd rule for the newly arrived team. If there was a rope in a pile at the base, then I'd ask surrounding people if they were going to climb it really soon. I don't think that a little folded card at the base that said "reserved" would cut it either. Want a route? Put a warm body on it.

 

What Off-White said.

 

DITO

 

If I want a route I drop my pack under it and get my ass on it ASAP grin.gif

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iain said:

my guess is spiderman. easy enough to show up there only to have some party show up out of the blue around the corner. cinnamon slab is not a walk off. btw a fun easy route there is gingersnap to the newer face route right on the edge over peapod cave (5.9, I think?). can be done in 1 60m rope.

 

i did it when it was 5.7 [chestbeater icon here] yas we were MEN in those days... actually i think i made Fern lead it yellaf.gif cause it was scary and exposed like yellaf.gif

 

 

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iain said:

did his pro pull or had he not put anything in yet?

 

he had put beer in!

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