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Spliffy

Bad Style

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I posted a response to a TR in the Alpine Lakes section, but it got deleted, because, it seems, IMHO, it was actually CRITICAL of the STYLE of a recent ascent of Serpentine Arete.

 

I'm not about to give someone a pat on the back for:

 

1) Climbing SA in mid-September with SANDALS for the descent.

2) Having "no idea" how to get off the mountain.

3) Starting the climb at 9am, with four people, given the fact that the sun sets this time of year at 8:30pm.

4) Taking 12h on a route that is frequently done C2C.

5) Enduring a forced bivy, with sandals on.

6) Having to RAP on the descent to Ass-guard pass.

7) Still can't feel toes after five days.

 

This is about some of the stupidest shit I've ever heard of. The value of the ascent, to me, is negated by the STYLE. Dragontail is a MOUNTAIN, not a roadside crag. MOUNTAINS are DANGEROUS, and should be treated at all times, and by everyone, as such. Better to have stayed home and read "Freedom of the Hills" than to head into the mountains with NO CLUE and risk serious but preventable injury for NO REASON.

 

And to have this criticism DELETED by a moderator? Isn't this board here to IMPROVE the climbing community? Or should we instead continue to uncritically accept and endore this kind of STYLE?

 

These guys, who I don't know, but assume are nice guys, got LUCKY.

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Not involved but maybe it was a "not what you say but how you said it kind of a thing."

 

I agree with your thoughts though - everything about that ascent sounded like a cautionary tale to me. I am glad the guys made it down okay - and I applaud them for toughing it out - but I would imagine that neither they nor anyone they climb with will head into the hills with will tackle a such a route in anything other than textbook fashion for quite a while.

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I agree. Unless people come out of the woodwork and say "What the Fuck were you morons thinking?", others read this stuff and take a complacent attitude towards real mountains. I went back and read that TR and absolutely EVERYTHING about it was wrong! The equipment, the season, the planning were all needlessly out of whack. It wasn't like they did things right and still got caught, they did everything wrong when there was easily accessible information that would have prevented any of that from occurring.

 

That trip report should be read by everyone as an example of just exactly how stupid you can get.

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Good points there Spliffy, but there is prolly no need to so up in arms about their style. Sounds like those guys were a bit inexperienced and bit off more than they could chew. Many (most???) climbers probably have similar stories of getting in a bit over their head. As a result, we learn and don't repeat these mistakes. But to you, such learning experiences merely qualify as "the stupidist shit I've ever heard." Boy, good thing you've always exercised impecable judgment and never gotten in over your head.

 

Kudos to those climbers for going for it. I bet you learned a lot. Other newbs, you should take heed of their cautionary tale.

 

And yes, being censored by the mods is lame.

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Isn't this board here to IMPROVE the climbing community?

 

Uh, no. This is a discussion board, designed so that Cascade climbers could discuss issues pertaining to climbing - such as a TR of a poorly-thought out climb.

 

It does sound like you had some valid points to make, but your vitriolic post above certainly gives the impression that your criciticm was anything but constructive. I'd suggest that it's still a shame it was deleted, but then I didn't read your post.

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When I read that thread I could only think of one thing.

- Route Description -

 

At the same time I think of my own experiences. I have bivied more then once on a climb. It's just part of climbing. You learn from your mistakes. I don't know of anyone who has gotten it right the first time, every time.

 

From my climbing experiences I am getting more of an attitue of "lets try it and see what happens". I am trying a lighter and faster approach on longer routes. If I get stuck out, I get cold, probably not going to die. Does that make it a mistake? I'm not saying all their decisions where good ones, but they made it out to talk about it. They also posted a TR so they probably had a good time.. I like to relate my most miserable time in the mountain. Don't we all?

 

I did the route last month roping up at 10am with 100ft of rope. Does that make it bad style?

 

Bad decision where made and I'm sure they learned a lot from them.

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I think the mods should let the flames get high on that thread. Although I think they had a learning experience and might already know what they did wrong.

 

Isn't it almost always that route which gets people into trouble. It's like there is some Bermuda triangle up there for gapers !

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sounds to mee like the only bad choice they made was in footwear. The rest could easily be chalked up to "shit happens" or "it was harder then we thought it was gunna be"

 

been there done that.

 

sounds like they made the right chioce by biviing when it got dark and rappeling where they felt necessary to maintain some level of safety, give em a break.

 

moderators suck, I agree with you there.

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Constructive criticism might help newbies avoid accidents or understand that their narrow escapes were blind luck that may one day run out.

 

Biting, self-righteous attacks, however satisfying for the poster, are not likely to teach newbies much except that they shouldn't post their next adventure here.

 

Newbies and critics: Please climb, endure, post, discuss, and debate. Learn from each other. Unexpected things will happen and you can only learn so much sitting on the couch reading FOH or surfing CC. Sometimes a night out in the cold will teach a good lesson.

 

John Muir spent a night in the open on the summit of Mt Whitney in a Snowstorm with no tent, no bivy, and no warm or waterproof clothing. He jumped up and down all night to keep from freezing and hiked out the next day. Was that wreckless? Irresponsible? Oh, and he didn't have a helmet either.

 

Here's another recent narrow miss on Dragontail, but this one had more experienced climbers:

 

 

 

link to CC.com thread

 

link edited by off white to modify page formatting

Edited by Off_White

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I have not seen any self righteous attacks yet. But at any rate if people can't call it like they see it - black and white - then the board here is ONLY doing a disservice to the community.

 

The problem around here a lot of times is stuff like this gets swept under the carpet because all the people here are more concerned with being politically correct. That's fucked up and doesn't let us bring out criticism. Bad or non positive criticism is actually good for situations like this in my opinion.

 

It IS a Well known route with tons of available information.

 

You people can keep patting each other on the back and jerkin each other's peckers but if I feel the need I will step up to the plate and hit a fuckin home run on flames. Seems like someone already tried.

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sounds to mee like the only bad choice they made was in footwear. The rest could easily be chalked up to "shit happens" or "it was harder then we thought it was gunna be"

Lambone-

Most tragedies start off with a bad decision following by some bad luck, and some "shit happening". They all have numerous chances for a good decision to be bad/different actions to have been taken that would have averted the tragedy.

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I had a similar post deleted for the same reason a couple months ago, criticizing bad style/judgement. I thought I was relatively polite about it, but I guess someone else didn't think so. My question is, what was the motivation: was it a) someone was trying to protect the feelings/ego/attitude of the person I was criticizing, or b) someone thought I should STFU for saying "I told you so."

 

I'm pretty sure it was the latter... smirk.gif

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N. Cascades is not my forum, so I wasn't involved in the original thread or the decision to edit it, but I think Rad hit the nail on the head. Criticism is one thing, but if your goal is to try and make someone feel stupid, take it to Spray. Flaming is not considered acceptable outside the Spray forum, and that's not a new policy. If you don't like it, feel free to go somewhere else. Check out boldering.com for a fine example of the form. I'm serious, not making fun of anyone, that's some entertaining stuff, but it's not what we're doing here.

 

Yeah, that ascent of Serpentine calls for some critique, and from what I read in the trip report, the party involved knows it. I also think the light-fast-in-a-day-car-to-car fashion that's so popular and widely touted on this site can lead folks to underestimate things, not understanding that lots of the people doing that stuff didn't start out that way. Just because Szy and Bobby Peru started Serpentine late on a one day outing and never even flaked their rope doesn't mean just anyone can emulate that style. Didn't Bobby Peru wear sandals on that outing? It is worth making some fuss over this close call ascent, so that this bit of information winds up with all the other stuff out there about Serpentine. A tennis shoe and sharp rock casual glissade in July is going to be really different in September, and not all climbers are created equal.

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Agree with the caveman. Didn't see the post but you can't remove it just because it is critical. People post stuff that makes them look like total jerks but the posts have remained. It looks like he had some good points to talk about too.

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I'd rather be razzed for being stupid than have my ass rescued/carted out of somewhere it didn't belong.

 

I don't think it's good enough to suppose that 'the party involved knows it' - at some point the interests of the community outweigh the interests of someone's tender egos.

 

They should feel stupid for not knowing what was involved on the descent. Coming back down is just as important as getting up the climb, and I'm perfectly content to roast someone to make that point to other beginning climbers.

 

I'm glad they had a good time, I'm glad they're safe, but their problems began long before they decided (or failed to decide) to wear sandals.

ymmv

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Justin: I'm not familiar with your encounter, so I can't comment on it. As I recall, the "no flaming on trip reports" policy came about as a way to encourage TR's around here, since often people would post a TR and get a raft of shit about how someone else soloed it, did it faster, or how the TR poster was a newbie piece of shit. Trip Reports are one of the widely appreciated aspects of this board, and the moderators and administrators wanted to encourage them, so both the TR format was changed, and the civility aspect was enforced. As a result, I think we've seen a lot more reports of a wide range of routes and grades, and that this is a good thing. I do agree that this shouldn't be at the loss of important lessons to be learned from near-mishaps like this one. I think Spliffy had some excellent points about this trip, but referring to the posters as un-fucking-believable idiots is not going to help matters.

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This board's tone has changed significantly from harsh to less harsh. This is due to a stated effort by the moderators. It is my opinion that critiques with harsh words are colorful and realistic. Flame me whenever you think there is something I could learn from it. I may flame you back but at least you will know that you made me think about it.

Those guys were lucky. I've been there too. But I was stoned.

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yellaf.gif Good point Bug, and I'll freely agree that the colorful and realistic bit is quite traditional in the climbing world. I too have been in a similar place, on the same mountain no less. I might have been stoned, but I certainly was young. I learned my lessons though, since I've only been benighted 3 or 4 times since. yelrotflmao.gif

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The guidelines for the route reports state:

 

Post your reports and ask questions about routes.

 

The guidelines for the Climbers' Board states:

 

Connect with fellow NW climbers here to ask questions, or post issues that are important to the NW climbing. Climbing only conversation.

Off and Rad have expressed some of the reasons why there are different guidelines for the different forums.

 

Spliffy's rant about poor climbing style, began with "could someone really be so stupid..." and ended with ... "un-fucking-believable." Personally, I think his approach went beyond the colorful and realistic that Bug describes, but that is neither here nor there. The fact is that he made some good points. They are now preserved for posterity in this thread on the Climbers' Board.

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Justin: I'm not familiar with your encounter, so I can't comment on it. As I recall, the "no flaming on trip reports" policy came about as a way to encourage TR's around here, since often people would post a TR and get a raft of shit about how someone else soloed it, did it faster, or how the TR poster was a newbie piece of shit. Trip Reports are one of the widely appreciated aspects of this board, and the moderators and administrators wanted to encourage them, so both the TR format was changed, and the civility aspect was enforced. As a result, I think we've seen a lot more reports of a wide range of routes and grades, and that this is a good thing. I do agree that this shouldn't be at the loss of important lessons to be learned from near-mishaps like this one. I think Spliffy had some excellent points about this trip, but referring to the posters as un-fucking-believable idiots is not going to help matters.

 

Yeah I understand what you're saying. Only this post wasn't in a trip report. It was a thread where someone was specifically asking for beta and suggestions on a route, then a bunch of people pretty much said don't do it. This person went ahead and did it anyway (and posted a TR), running into the exact same problems and risks that they were warned about, in fact exposing other oblivious newbies to these risks. I posted in the advice thread pointing out specific advice that was ignored, but proved to be true (which was pretty much all of it). There were no insults. Well, maybe my post was unnecessary, but in this particular case I felt that something had to be said.

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Gravity is harsh, and people need to understand that. Maybe by being a total dickhead to the stupid you can prevent someone else from getting in a bad situation.

 

But then again, how stupid do you think we are? Mr. Spliffy, do you think anyone read that trip report and thought, "Oh cool! I wanna do something just like that! Sensitivity of the toes is overrated."? Do you think the self-admitted bumbling climbers need to be brought down another notch? For their own good and the good of others?

 

I don't think so.

 

I think the message gets across without raking the guys over the coals. If we raked everyone who anybody thought was a dumbass over the coals, pretty soon we'd have very few trip reports to discuss.

 

I think it should be OK to say climbers screwed up once in a while. But only if it serves an important purpose. If it's obvious that the climbers did dumb shit, but they paint it as being smart and the way to go, then I think it's reasonable to criticize.

 

As I remember, the SA TR was pretty self-deprecating. I think that guy understood he made many bad choices. He presented them as such, and any newbie who read that report is gonna be thinking twice now about hitting the SA at 9AM in September. Even without Mr. Spliffy's abrasive commentary! Only the most thickheaded idiot would think of that report as a grand tale of accomplishment or a good how-to example. Raking that guy over the coals: doesn't help anybody, makes the TR writer feel even more like shit, and discourages further trip reports.

 

On the other hand, that Mr. Radon report about the Fin seems to me more like one that should be open for criticism. They appeared to make some bad choices, but the report read like they were fucking smart guys who did everything right. But still on that one, if you want to help anyone, it's probably best to be somewhat constructive and as polite as possible in your criticism. In the hope that you won't discourage others from telling their stories.

 

That's my view on this thing.

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It was a thread where someone was specifically asking for beta and suggestions on a route, then a bunch of people pretty much said don't do it. This person went ahead and did it anyway (and posted a TR), running into the exact same problems and risks that they were warned about, in fact exposing other oblivious newbies to these risks. I posted in the advice thread pointing out specific advice that was ignored, but proved to be true (which was pretty much all of it). There were no insults. Well, maybe my post was unnecessary, but in this particular case I felt that something had to be said.

 

As I remember it, this guy wanted to do the Fisher Chimneys, and a bunch of people said he was too gumby to do that, go do that boring-ass Sulphide Glacier slog. Then, he went and did the Fishers anyway. Which is sort of annoying, because if you were one of the many people who gave him advice to do the Sulphide, you probably just felt like he asked you advice, you took time out of your day to give him some advice, then he just said, "oh well nevermind, I'm just going to do what I orginally wanted to do anyway." If he wasn't even going to consider what you had to say, why did he fucking ask it! Lambone used to do that shit all the time the_finger.gif

 

Anyway.... he ended up heading up the Fishers, made a judgement call that the weather was too shitty and they bailed. A bunch of jerks posted "I told you so". And the amusing punchline is that this was quickly followed by a report of some group who had attempted the Sulphide that day and got caught in the storm and had to be rescued!!

 

Made the I-told-you-so guys look pretty stupid in my opinion. yellaf.gif

 

I-told-you-soers are so SUCK!!! the_finger.gifyellowsleep.gif

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But seriously, it was a bad idea to take a bunch of newbies up the Fisher Chimneys in bad weather, without appropriate gear or experience. That's what people were trying to say. I think they could have rocked the Sulfide, but then again, the weather forecast was pretty unambiguously bad. But newbies trying to ice climb without even the right equipment, and then rapping down in the rain... There is a thin line between feeling stupid and feeling very, very sorry.

 

Well, I guess I just spilled the beans. Anyway I thought the deletion of my post betrays a trend of overly sensitive moderation.

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I agree with your assessment of the FC choice. But I don't think it's cool to say "I told you so" after the fact. I'm sure he understood that he'd made a mistake as soon as he was retreating back down the mountain with his tail between his legs. No need to rub it in, especially after the guy had the balls to post a trip report where has was basically volunteering to eat crow.

 

The fact that the Sulphide may well have been a worse choice is just sort of ironic and goes to show you that "you never know".

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