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markwebster

squamish gang bangers - excessive top roping

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I have a pet peeve. Call me an old schooler, but I really hate it when parties of friends gang bang a route. My wife and I spent Labor Day weekend at Squamish. We hadn't been there in 5 years and were surprised to see the gym mentality operating there.

 

On route after route (penny lane for example), one person would lead it, hang slings on the bolted anchors, and several people would follow it, tying up the route for hours. Some of them would even run "laps" on it.

 

A party of 2 (like Sue and I) was the rarity. I'd lead a route, bring Sue up and we'd rap off...done. I have no interest in running "laps".

 

I try to apply the golden rule mentality: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I know what it's like to wait for a route, so I try to have my fun and get off quickly.

 

Why do people do this? Is it just the 'give it to me now' mentality of the young cell phone generation? They want to climb cracks now, and by God, they'll do it any way they can?

 

I've always felt that if I couldn't lead it, I shouldn't be on it. I'll follow and clean a route put up by my better partner, but I very rarely top rope.

 

People who top rope like this must think they are learning crack skills...but crack skills without the head game of placing gear is a farce, you might as well be at the gym.

 

Am I in the wrong here, or are these gangbangers misguided?

 

This is a climb in the Pixie Corner area in the Smoke Bluffs

 

squamish07-1.jpg

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I think you've got the right idea, Mark, and I'm generally of the same mind that you are when it comes to people monopolizing routes - but I think that the reality is that on crowded weekends at popular destinations you've to to do a bit of compromising and communicating.

 

If the TR siege mentality is clearly going to prevail in a given area, the reality is that you aren't going to get as much leading in as you might like, but most of the people that I've asked have been willing to share their rope, or at least swap ropes when I've asked. I also think that if you make a bit of small talk with the folks in the midst of TR-sieging and then mention that you're excited about leading the route when they're done, they'll at least cycle folks through a bit more quickly.

 

 

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pretty much the norm at most crags it seems - smith is that way for sure - not really my cup of tea, but then i usually spend most of my time doing retarded things for which there are never lines...

Edited by ivan

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you know you've become an old fart when you start posting your "pet peeves" on the internet.

 

bottom line is that other people aren't required to approach the sport using your rules. gotta agree with kevbone on this one: they got there first.

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I'm with you, Mark. I don't care if someone TRs a route or whatever, or even laps it, but if someone is waiting, then take your fucking turn and get off. It's not a "rule" it's just good manners.

 

You're welcome to have bad manners, but it's going to piss people off.

 

If I'm out with friends and we see someone else waiting for a go, we'll get it done, and get off. Now, if there's 4 of us, what does it matter if 1 leads and 3 TR it? How is that different than 1 leading, 1 cleaning, then another leading, and another cleaning? Either way the next party is waiting for 4 people to climb it, and if 3 TR it, then probably they'll be waiting LESS than if everybody broke into groups of 2 and re-lead.

 

I would never "lap" a route that somebody was waiting on. That's just rude -- it's like hogging the water fountain: take a few drinks -- if you're still thirsty, go to the back of the line and wait your turn.

 

:yoda:

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Mark,

 

I completely understand what you are saying. I must admit I am guilty of this at times, however I would not do this on a busy weekend/popular climb. If I bring new people with me, its on an off weekend or weekday and on a not so popular area.

 

Here is one thing I'd like to point out: not all young people are the "cell phone generation" or "gym climbers" etc. Obviously I fall in this age group and would like to think those names do no represent me. Secondly, young people are not the only ones with somewhat poor climbing ethics...

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It is entirely possible to climb in Squamish all weekend without being a herd mammal, and never have to wait in line.

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I see nothing wrong with a group of friends top-roping a route, if those not climbing are actually waiting, and not climbing an adjacent climb. Tying up adjacent routes, and having party members rotate through from one to the next is unfair to anyone else who is willing to 'get in line' after others who are waiting (not climbing nearby). 'Occupancy/Ownership' of the route cannot be passed on to those who are not actually waiting their turn to climb.

 

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Well it was mid-week and a 17 year-old, but another visiting climber wanted to lead Crime of the Century (onsight) last week but didn't because an old fart was trying and trying and trying to lead it.

 

In this case I thought the youngster could perhaps mention that he would like a turn, but he says he didn't ask.

 

Did you talk to any of these groups Mr. Webster?

 

Why not just ask them if they could finish up?

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These people are just people who don't happen to be driving cars at the moment. 90% of them will only offer you as much courtesy to you as is demanded from them. I would feel free to give them a few toots from your horn to let them know you're there. Camping out on routes is disrespectful to other climbers, even if you offer them your top-rope.

This sort of situation is a lot like American politics. The world will devolve into the worst-case you're willing to accept unless resistance is applied. Speak up, try to get what you want, it is possible to turn the world around you into a place you want to live in.

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If I'm climbing with a group in a busy area, we tend to do as Rob described: 1 person leads the route, the others TR. Might look like seiging, but it's quicker than two or three of us leading the route. If folks are waiting for the climb, running extra laps is bad form.

 

But, so far, I have found that the best strategy is to communicate with those around you so that everyone is on the same page about what they want or plan to do, rather than making assumptions and getting pissy about not getting their way.

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Stand in line just like the rest of the rats in the cage.

Did you think the world population was shrinking?

 

That's one of the reasons I prefer alpine.

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So to sum it up:

 

Old guy needs to COMMUNICATE instead of blamming young people for ruining climbing.

 

OR go alpine climbing or go in less popular areas.

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If you want to climb popular moderates that are less than ten minutes' walk from the parking lot on a holiday weekend you're likely going to have to wait. I find it hard to believe that is so very different from back in the day.

 

And by the way, when you follow, you're on top rope, whether it is something you would lead or not.

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Mark,

 

Here is one thing I'd like to point out: not all young people are the "cell phone generation" or "gym climbers" etc. Obviously I fall in this age group and would like to think those names do no represent me. Secondly, young people are not the only ones with somewhat poor climbing ethics...

 

I also fall into this category and have to agree.

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If you really have to lead that "5 star" route on one of the busiest weekends of the year at the busiest crag in Canada then ask if you can lead in between top rope laps. They'll often even hold the rope out of your way.

 

Otherwise cross reference with the Select and go to the lesser crags that have some great climbs. We were alone at Split Beaver and Pink Cliff on Saturday.

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Stand in line just like the rest of the rats in the cage.

 

No need to stand--Penny Lane has nice comfy benches surrounding the base of the crag, all with a perfect view of the climb(and climberz). Those Canadians think of everything.

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good points all. I am guilty of sometimes getting irritated, instead of being friendly and making hints about how excited I am to lead it.

I know better too, because I've used that tactic.

 

Still, it does seem like leaders used to get more respect. In the climbing circles I grew up in (leavenworth, early '80s), if someone was top roping, and a leader walked up, the top ropers would immediately bail. Leaders were something everyone aspired to...and respected.

 

Now, who cares if you can lead? Just get a rope gun to take you and your friends up whatever you want to climb. Never mind that your lack of skill and selfish behavior plugs up a rare route for hours. Forget about learning the leading skills yourself the hard way. It's so much work climbing all those less glamorous routes to build up leading skills.

 

 

 

Those were especially good points about my being out of touch expecting to not have to wait on a holiday weekend. Patience is always a virtue. In point of fact, I walked away from the crowd on Penny Lane and led some less popular stuff for a while. When I came back, there were only two people ahead of me.

 

The next morning, with an early start, we found 4 star routes empty...sweet!

 

Still, I think it's good to have this discussion from time to time. Many young climbers aren't even aware that top roping is not the best way to learn to be a climber.

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jeezus...

 

and top roping is an excellent way to learn to be a decent climber...

 

I think it woulda been funnier if the "gangbanging" crew would have told you "No, each one of us 9 people are going to pull the rope and lead it"

 

:rolleyes:

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Mark,

 

Remember this is climbing. There are no rules. That is the way we all like it. Is it gonna piss you off? Sure, but it sure is hell a lot better than having rules.

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