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skyclimb

Climbing gym management

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In the past two weeks myself, and many others have been tossed out of the new gym for "inproper" climbing behavior.

When bouldering your feet are not to exceed 3 feet in hieght hellno3d.gif, unless you have a spotter. If you are in the cave you must have 2 spotters.

Doing a dyno, I was thrown out when my feet ended up a few inches above the foot line madgo_ron.gif. I raised hell, so today, I was told I had to retake the belay check to climb. I informed management that it was "bullshit", and subsequently got thrown out again.

THEY SHOULD HAVE KEPT THE OLD GYM. POOR MANAGEMENT ON A POWER TRIP HAS TAKEN AWAY THE BENIFIT OF THOSE WHO USE THE GYM MOST bigdrink.gif Well spent money, good job thumbs_down.gif

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It's frustrating when something changes -- i.e. management -- and it affects a community who feels like they have already established their local culture, rules of conduct, etc.

 

However, what matters most (in my opinion) is what the pre-existing community chooses to do with that new situation.

 

You can complain about it on an internet community that will probably offer all kinds of insults and support (see previous post) or you can get together with the other folks you mentioned in your original post and attempt to respectfully communicate with the folks who are now running the gym.

 

You can talk to them instead of about them.

 

If you haven't already tried that, then I submit that spending your time and energy HERE may buy you sympathy from people, but won't do anything to help you with your situation.

 

If you go talk to the folks at the gym (other than calling bullshit on them, which didn't seem to get you very far) then please let us know how it goes.

 

I hope you're able to communicate your concerns to them in a productive manner.

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Very good points thumbs_up.gif

I am going to speak with management about the issues that I see. It is unfortunate though that management needs to be spoken with about something as trivial as customer relations in a climbing gym. People goto climbing gyms to have fun bigdrink.gif

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It's interesting how they give you grief for being a few feet too high on the bouldering wall when they let the mountaineering club send multiple parties up to climb liberty ridge in essentially winter conditions, with the associated consequences.

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Yeah, I've got to throw out my opinion on this too:

 

Dixon Rec Center Gym TR:

 

There will always be a special place in my climber’s heart for the original OSU gym. Six years ago my roommate at the time and I first learned about climbing there. Under Tom B’s watchful eye, we mock aided the greasy cracks and led miniscule sport routes until we finally had gained the skills and the huevos to safely take our new craft outside. We where hooked. We went back to that gym during the week to pull more plastic and do our best to develop that tendon popping grip strength we knew was just one more lock-off away. It was OUR place, the Parker gym. Away from the DRC and for the most part, off their radar. The staff was mellow (mostly climbers) and the tunes were eclectic enough to catch you off guard. If you left your card at home or needed a spot they were usually willing to help you out. Just like a small local climbing gym should be.

 

Now, I'm not a local any more, but after the good reviews and positive comments here, I drove back down to give the new gym a shot. I planned on climbing with my brother who teaches high school in town. I picked him up and we zipped over to the gym. Walking in the back door, it looks like the main DRC remodel is still a work in progress. Lots of bare stud walls and general finishing work left, but the climbing gym is just inside, so we ignore all that. The new gym walls looked interesting with some nice features and cracks that could have probably kept us entertained for a while. The place was packed though. Like Morning Glory on a warm-Saturday-morning-in-May packed. OK, no biggie, the place just opened and its very visible. The musclebound crowd deserves to get a good flash pump right along with the climbers? Uhhh, yeah. Then the bureaucracy of the DRC reared its ugly head.

 

We head over to the desk to pay our community fee and get some waivers. I ask the desk guy for the paperwork and he forks over a glazed look. Apparently this is his first McJob and he’s a bit low on the learning curve. Huh? He calls in his manager from the front desk. The manager calls in another manager. This guy finally gets it. We start talking about what it’ll take to even get us in the door and apparently along with the change in walls came a big change in policy. Gone is the mellow walk-in belay test, replaced by scheduled orientation classes on the hour, every hour. We ask to “book” one for that day and are told we’ll have to wait three weeks and even then, we’re still only on a waiting list to take a damn belay test. We nodded, smiled, and took a walk.

 

After checking out what was going down I'm not so sure I'll be back. That really was not my scene. The nice mellow climber vibe that was there in the old Parker gym has been "updated" to the cafeteria style rec services vibe. I didn't like to spend much time in the main gym when I was a student because of that, and I'm sorry to say it seems like they've now brought the climbing gym down to that level too.

 

The old astroturfed floor, drafty cracks, and sloper fests will be missed. I'll be kickin one back tonight. bigdrink.gif RIP Parker Hole, hello brave new management.

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In the past two weeks myself, and many others have been tossed out of the new gym for "inproper" climbing behavior.

When bouldering your feet are not to exceed 3 feet in hieght hellno3d.gif, unless you have a spotter. If you are in the cave you must have 2 spotters.

Doing a dyno, I was thrown out when my feet ended up a few inches above the foot line madgo_ron.gif. I raised hell, so today, I was told I had to retake the belay check to climb. I informed management that it was "bullshit", and subsequently got thrown out again.

THEY SHOULD HAVE KEPT THE OLD GYM. POOR MANAGEMENT ON A POWER TRIP HAS TAKEN AWAY THE BENIFIT OF THOSE WHO USE THE GYM MOST bigdrink.gif Well spent money, good job thumbs_down.gif

 

Iz this about the PRG? If so, are you or were you high on white dope, glue, prescription narcotics, or the like?

 

If this was at some other gym, please disregard. wave.gif

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Skyclimb: I can understand you frustration regarding the maximum bouldering height allowed especially when a large majority of bouldering problems both in the gym and outside end well above three feet off the ground. And frankly falling 3 to 4 feet is trivial to most climbers. The catch is that the gym is frequented by a combination of experienced climbers as well as beginners new to the sport (with the majority being newbies). As these beginners lack climbing knowledge, they have nothing to base decisions off of that they make, where as you and I have a better knowledge base to employ. As a result, $hit happens. Hence the rules are in place to prevent this.

 

What you need to recognize is that the rules are in place to protect all the users, even you and me. If you have spent any time in the new gym, you would agree with me that there are a lot of yokels that frankly don’t know what they are doing and/or don’t have a true understanding of various aspects of climbing. A few examples:

 

1) I watched two freshman girls pick a route based solely on the color of tape that marked the route. They didn’t understand that it was rated 5.12+. I should add one attempted the route wearing street shoes. Needless to say they ended up using any hold they could reach on the way up. Also, they had to ask one of the employees working there twice for reminders on how to tie in correctly.

2) I have seen two separate people deck as they failed to double back their harness (luckly it was down low and they just walked it off).

 

Its users like this that end up screwing it up for all of us. Imagine if someone did get seriously hurt and decide to sue the already in debt OSU. Can you say closure? Hence the rules existing that you complained about. And honestly, I would have a hard time not beating the $hit out of someone (as well as their belayer) who fell on to me from 25 feet up (or more) because they forgot to double back.

 

For what its worth, I prefer gyms that have employees that tend on the stricter side than loose as it creates a safer atmosphere in the gym. When I lived in Eugene, I climbed at both Skinner’s Butte and the Crux Rock gym and felt significantly safer at the butte than at the crux as the prevailing attitude at the crux in regard to safety, enforcement of rules, replacement of ropes, etc was very lax (i.e. stoned).

 

And if anything, a safer climbing gym translates to safer outside climbing areas as once these rookies develope some skill, you know where they are headed: outside. There is a reason I put my helmet on the second I get out of the car at smith and wear it the entire day until I return to my car.

 

As far as you getting kicked out, well that’s just expected. One of my rules in life is treat people the way you want to be treated. If you raise hell in the gym over rules that you agreed to follow and then call them bull$hit, of course they are going to kick you out. Think about it: you know the employees aren’t making more than minimum wage which is no were enough to have to listen to some one complain about rules they can’t change.

 

If you have beef with the rules, go to the top. The guy who runs the place (Josh I think his name is) is a certified AMGA guide (if you are familiar with the certification process, you will agree that he knows his stuff). I went and saw him when the gym first opened to inquire about dry tooling as they didn’t allow it at the old gym. I was nice and polite and he was very receptive to the idea and promised to look into getting it as an option. I think discussing with him your issues with the current rules is your best solution.

 

One last thing, if want to highball but can’t stand the gym try some local alternatives:

US Bank on Monroe (downtown between 3rd and 4th ): marble bricks that are amazingly pumpy. Word of advice: go during nonbanking hours.

 

On campus: Apperson is excellent bouldering: boulder as high as you dare. In the alley is best and don’t let campus security see you. Also the Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center has some excellent granite boulder problems. PM if you are looking for some more spots around town (i.e. cracks).

 

I hope this helps.

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NOLSe has very good points!

 

However, I re-ead Skyclimb's original post and if he isn't using too muvh hyperbole, then I would have to agree that the employees or whoever threw him out were way over the line. I know skyclimb, and can't imagine him yelling at anyone so I bet he was just inflating the story a bit.

 

It didn't sound like a safety issue if they were that strict- then it's more of a customer issue.

 

A climber expects to be treated like a climber at a gym, and SHOULD BE!!!! It's very demeaning to a climber to be treated like a fucking gumby punter. I've worked at climbing gyms and it is very easy to tell who is an idiot and needs to be yelled at for saftey, and who can be given a little slack in the rules.

 

If I told Tffany cambell, Paul Van Betting, or Wendell Broussard at the gym I worked at in Vegas to leave b/c they didn't have 2 spotters in the cave, i should be FIRED.

I'll tell you what the problem is = the EMPLOYEES are PUNTERS. Yup, most climbing gyms hire non-climber wanna be idiots (Not the PRG, however) who give b.s. beta and spray like they were gods. I cringe sometimes when I hear a climbing gym employee LOUDLY mention to fellow employees about what "cams" to buy, or how cool the "Tooth" was and how run out "Skip em' or Clip em" was at Vantage. They should be kicked out of the gym. Prime example: YMCA in bellingham. I want go in there with a sack-o'-cams and whip those morons upside the head.

 

I hope the PRG, or Desert Rock Sports doesn't go this way as they are good gyms that respect climbers.

 

Also, NOLSe, for being such a saftey conscious person, I have a hard time believing that you constantly look over your shoulder at the rock gym, or wear your helmet in the parking lot. If you want to be safe, wear it while you drive cuz that's where it will most likely wind up saving your life (although I wear my helmet too, i don't at smiff cuz i want the prana grilz to not laugh at me anymore).

 

If it were my world then climbing gyms would first and foremost be about training for climbing. Not a neat thing to do for a pedestrian to do on a sunday, or a fun birthday party!, or a neat way to show off your new purple nalgeen with your REI capri leggings that soo match your purble teardrop backpack, or a therapy aide, or ESPECIALLY those f@ckin' group-hugging, human-knot tying, name gamming, trust-building, teamworking, group dynamic, de-briefing, leadership traing, Outward bound folks...or worse NOLS folks!!!! I once sold a pack of smokes, 2 rolls of T.P., and a 1/2 finished mickey of Rye to an entire Group Solo on a NOLS course for all their candy and snacks. I bet they all got a SERIOUS debriefing when they got back. yellaf.gif

Edited by michael_layton

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Wow, that was a rant. I'm gonna regret writting that later on I'm sure. I'll keep it up though, I've said worse. It's all this studying....it's getting to me.

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ESPECIALLY those f@ckin' group-hugging, human-knot tying, name gamming, trust-building, teamworking, group dynamic, de-briefing, leadership traing, Outward bound folks...or worse NOLS folks!!!! I once sold a pack of smokes, 2 rolls of T.P., and a 1/2 finished mickey of Rye to an entire Group Solo on a NOLS course for all their candy and snacks. I bet they all got a SERIOUS debriefing when they got back. yellaf.gif

 

yelrotflmao.gifyellaf.gifyelrotflmao.gifyellaf.gifyelrotflmao.gifyellaf.gif

 

thumbs_up.gif

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Michael:

 

I think you and I are on the same wavelength with a few exceptions. You made a lot of good points; hopefully I can address them all.

 

As far the employees throwing skyclimb out, I would agree that throwing him out over a bouldering height violation is just stupid (especially when it is so low). However (assuming I read his post correctly) he was thrown out as a result of calling the gyms decision to require him to retake the belay test bullshit, not the height violation. I think you will agree with me that if someone told you at the gym you worked at that your rules were bullshit, you’d have throw them out also. Treat people the way they treat you.

 

I will say this: I also have also been caught violating rules at the new gym on more than one occasion (the height violation being one of them). A majority of my violations have been due to the new gym’s rule that one can only belay using the locked off technique. As I have slip/slap/slided for a decade, so it has been hard for me to remember to switch over when in the gym. I have been caught more than once by different employees who work there not using the approved technique. I always apologize and promptly switch. I believe the reason I haven’t been kicked out or required to retake the belay test (which according to the waiver sheet one signs upon completion to the belay test is what exactly will happen if caught belaying “inappropriately”) is I recognize that if I am going to use OSU’s gym, I have to follow there rules.

 

Skyclimb is in this same exact position as me: he can continue to ignore rules and become the first person to become permanently 86ed, or if he feels a rule is truly that stupid or bullshit, he can go see Josh (the individual who sets all the rules for the joint) with his concerns. Having meet Josh, I can say he is an open-minded reasonable person who recognizes that he works for the students. I spoke with him only once regarding dry tooling and by the end of the conversation he had promised to get a dry tool night by spring term.

 

I completely agree that is sucks to be treated like a gumby punter. It always seems when I am there climbing with an attractive young lass, that at least one of the employees feels the need to come over and check if I am doubled back, using the right belay technique, etc always in front of my attractive climbing partner. Of course this never happens when I am climbing with my partners that are male. Hmm… I also agree that it sucks to be subjected to unfounded spray from smoos who haven’t ventured out of the gym yet but have no problem belittling whatever you most recently climbed or telling you how rad they think they are. I had the unfortunate joy of listening to 4 years of it as a outdoor/gear shop retail. While I was there I heard it go both ways (employee to customer and customer to employee) and it sucks. I found what works best is to just ignore them (at times I would just stand there and repeat over and over “yes listening to this is worth a prodeal…” until they left). If they are a poser, no matter what you have climbed, they have always climbed something harder.

 

I would guess (and by no means I am correct) OSU management is being so strict about the whole thing only because the gym is so new and 8 million people climb there. The employees haven’t even had a chance to find out who is a gumby punter and who isn’t yet (and watching some of the people who climb there, there are a lot!). I had one employee hassle my belay technique last week only to run into him over the weekend at the Butte in Eugene (he saw me solo aiding). We talked and I actually ended up showed him some tricks in self belay. The next week I saw him at the gym and he didn’t even bat an eye at me when he found me well above the bouldering height. I would encourage skyclimb to also develop a good repoire with the management (as stupid as they may be). Remember: trust is earned, not given.

 

I think my concern about the whole thing is skyclimbs attitude (as well as other climbs who view these pages) about the whole thing. Examining skyclimb’s other post related to climbing gym violations (also in the yellow pages: RULES SUCK #205730 - 07/02/03 09:19 PM), I wonder if this attitude carries over to other aspects of climbing. Skyclimb: what would you do if you knew of a sweet bouldering area on private property (a good example would be the few new spots located near the town of Sisters, Or or the boulders that sit on private property in Icicle canyon). As I have only meet skyclimb briefly once, it would be unfair of me to presume to know what he would do. What would others do?

 

I completely agree with you about a gyms purpose: training. It sucks to have to share space with people who are there only because some HR corporation tool thought a good way to build teamwork would be to require his employees go climbing. It sucks to watch some kid wipe dog $hit all over the holds because he choose to climb in his street shoes. But unfortunately it comes with the territory. And especially at a University owned climbing gym you are going to have these kind of things going on.

 

And you are correct that a number of the employees that work there don’t know any better (if not anything at all); but that is merely due to the fact that OSU owns the joint: equal student employment opportunity. It is usually the ones that are the newest to climbing that are the ones that catch me belaying incorrectly.

 

So about NOLS. I’ll try to get to that in another post, but like you, I have tests to tend too.

Edited by NOLSe

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Michael: Your more than welcome to believe or disbelieve my helmet wearing practices. Perhaps if we ever climb together at Smith, you will find out. It wasn’t my intention to make people think I am constantly look over my shoulder at the rock gym; honestly, I don’t nor can’t. I do try to stay aware of who and what is going on around me. Yes I would agree I am safety minded, but I would ask who wouldn’t want to be considered safety minded? I honestly take it as a compliment.

 

And though your chances of meeting, as you call them, prana girlz might be increased by not wearing a helmet, what do you think your chances are when you are crusin’ around in your electric wheel chair because you are paralyzed from the neck down after some gumby punter who crawled out of the gym and on his first trip to smith, for got to double back and fell and landed on you. Correct me if I’m wrong, but smith had a fatality a few years ago when a climber feel and landed on his belayer (he lived… belayer didn’t). But then again, I heard prana girlz are suckers for the “hey baby want to go for a ride…” pick up line; especially when you have one of those sweet electronic voice boxes like Stephen Hawkins does. Honestly, do you really want to meet/date a girl that puts so much emphasis on physical appearance (like oh my god… that guy looks so dorky with a helmet on… I am so not going to sleep with him) that she won’t talk to you if you wear a helmet?

 

I wear a helmet because its cheap insurance, they are a lot stronger than my skull, there are a lot of dumb$hits out there, it doesn’t hinder my climbing that much and I don’t know anyone willing to feed me applesauce through a tube the rest of my life. Perhaps you are lucky enough to know someone who will.

 

And one other thing: if the only reason you climb is to meet girls, I would encourage you to consider the fact that you will probably get the same or more booty for way less than the amount of money you spent on your rack. Just think how much Rohypnol you could buy for the price of a cam…

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So about NOLS. I apologize for diverting from the thread theme: if necessary move the thread. Yes I am a multiple NOLS graduate. I do not presume to think I am safer, better, smarter, more experienced, etc. etc. than any other climber because of this. I have met many climbers who were much more experienced, knowledgeable, etc than me that had not had any formal outdoor education classes.

 

Without getting bogged down into the differences/similarities of NOLS to OB to Mounties and so on as well as arguments for and against it, I would ask only this.

 

Why wouldn’t any outdoor enthusiast (climber, hiker, etc) be supportive of a group that developed and teaches in all of its courses as part of its core curriculum 1) Leave no trace ethics and 2) Wilderness First Responder. Who can say their climbing partner(s) knows what to do in a number of climbing and/or medical emergencies? I can.

 

I would be willing to bet that a small number of user on this webpage have practiced and/or are trained in belay escape. Smaller than the number of people who have climbed at Smith.

 

Yeah group hugs are wrong on so many levels, but would you rather see a group of people hug or a group of people leave there campsite in worse shape than when they showed up? The grasslands come to mind...

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NOLSe. I have a degree in Outdoor Rec. I am poking fun at the profession. It's hard to tell sarcasm/humor on the net, so just assume that's what the intention is. I wish everone had training in Leave no Trace and belay escapes too. I should remember to ask my partner before a climb if he/she knows how to do minimal rescue (belay escapes, hauling, etc...)

 

Sorry to ruffel your feathers (again)! That's just the 'scene' here. Maybe we can debrief each other sometime?

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Honestly, no feathers ruffled. And I can completely relate to the superficial ness of internet postings.

 

I too hold an outdoor education degree (kinda); if anything it’s more like a certification. My second NOLS course was the IC course; but after passing, I realized it wasn't for me. It definitely ticked them off when I told them "no thanks." Currently I am a student here at OSU (not a NOLS instructor). I should mention I will be relocating to PDX in March for my annual internship: we should plan on going to Smith and wear helmets for the drive over.

 

I think you and I can relate to meeting a lot of climbers over the past years with skyclimb's attitude of "me me me" and not "we we we." Honestly it worries me when I see this stratification amongst the group as the consequences it could potential hold for the climbing community. Look at surfers: they will go as far as waxing you car if you surf “there” area, but when it comes to challenging local governments and/or industries, they don’t break rank. I mean shit, they have surf rider groups set up in states they aren’t even on an ocean. They as a group are much more in tune with their impact on the area as well as how they appear to non-enthusiasts when compared to climbers. How many people here are member of the access fund? My postings in this thread were only in hopes to get skyclimb and anyone else who views this to consider the fact that sometimes the best thing to do is not call rules bullshit and to treat people the way you want to be treated.

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Early this morning I had a meeting with management of both the gym and rec. services to discuss issues that the community sees as a problem with the current operation of the gym. I was pleasently surprised to find two people with good listening skills, who took my suggestions to heart. It was evident that their goal and underlying purpose is to make the gym a better place for perpituity, which i respect.

Hopefully the suggestions that were made will be taken seriously, and the gym will fall into a rhythm in the next few months that will benifit all users on many levels.

bigdrink.gif

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EMPLOYEES are PUNTERS.

 

Hey, I just want to point out that a punter at least where I come from is a customer or a gambler. I don't know in what context you fellas are using this word. Is it going to morph into another misused fanny, wanker, or shag?

the_finger.gif

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