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rocketparrotlet

Bad experience at Feathered Friends

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I went in to Feathered Friends today to ask about pitons and maybe buy one or two for aid climbing, mentioning that I'm a beginner at aid climbing and trying to get the appropriate gear. There are some routes at Index that can't be done without them that I would like to climb (for example, Snow White, an A3 route near Princely Ambitions with some mandatory piton moves.)

 

So I asked about the difference between pitons and the sales assistant behind the counter went off on a tirade about how it's not okay to use pitons at Index and about how if I can't climb a route with hammerless aid, then it shouldn't be climbed at all. Overall, it was a very bad experience, the sales assistant was very unhelpful, and I would not want to go there again. I'll take my business elsewhere in the future.

 

-Mark

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Noted... and dismissed.

 

Carry along.

 

JK. seriously, I think you can browse the forums and find lots of "I was at REI/FF/ the gym bla blah blah... " stories. Usually, the offended is rehashing how rude the clerk was.. nothing we haven't all experienced. Unless you've got something interesting ("the guy behind the counter reached over and punched me in the face" is a story I want to hear), I think most people here have heard it before and don't care.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

dave

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I care. You came to buy gear and you got an unsolicited lecture.

Same dude would probably sell you loads of hangers, quick draws and drilling jive to use for damage wherever you dang well please!

 

I find it's best to do your own research before you go into a shop. There's no guarantee that "the guy in the green vest" or whatever has any useful knowledge or experience (unless he's the owner of Pro Mountain Sports). I know of at least one Feathered Friends manager who is registered on this site. Hopefully he'll read this and respond on or off-line.

 

 

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Call the owner of Feathered Friends and complain and tell him about your post on Cascade Climbers and ask him to respond and give him a chance to clear his name. There is a time and a place for pitons, and even a time and a place for mouthy sales clerks which is usually the unemployment line.

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Your best option is to become a total badass local climber. Then they'll be sorry they mistreated you.

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2 sides to every story. Would like to hear from the clerk side. It may have been a good little education that got taken the wrong way. If someone told me they were going to pound metal into index, especially the LTW, I might speak up. (in a nice way)

 

The fact that this person may have lost sales due to moral standing on piton scarring should stand for something.

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As I said above, same dude would probably sell you loads of hangers, quick draws and drilling jive to use for permanent damage wherever you dang well please, but at the same time, will preach to you about the very pins they sell in their shop. "We'll sell you the pins, but don't use them in my backyard! Wanna buy some bolts? Unlike pitons, they're permanent, but they won't "scar" the rock! They're like totally fun!"

:lmao::rolleyes::lmao:

 

 

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2 sides to every story. Would like to hear from the clerk side. It may have been a good little education that got taken the wrong way. If someone told me they were going to pound metal into index, especially the LTW, I might speak up. (in a nice way)

 

Like the draw-"poachers" at the Smith Rocks, recently and prominently "discussed" on cc.com.

 

Indignant confronter: "Dude...do you know that you're, like, poaching those draws? Like, someone's working on a 5.14 which is, like, really hard and you, yourself, probably couldn't spend a month siege-rehearsing the moves into submission so you'd better give all that abandoned eyesore stuff back to us and leave the premises."

 

By the way, I've inserted plenty of metal into the Lower Town Wall, and it's gone in,and come out, clean! (Do some cc.com historical research under the topic "Rock Cop" for a rowdy example.)

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Before that degenerates any further, I would suggest you try some clean routes at Index first and learn to aid climb clean (plenty of great routes, try City Park, Iron Horse, or TMPV for a good intro). Many of the aid routes listed in the guidebook have long since been climbed clean or freed (and you should try not to use a hammer on free routes). I've only done the bottom part of Snow White but you can use cam hooks instead of pitons easily and then clip the bolts (added for the free route). No need to scar it up further for that part. After you have done all those and Town Crier and Green Dragon clean then you might think about learning pin craft, but it isn't the place to start for modern aid climbing.

 

If I had been the clerk I probably would have done my best to not sell you pitons if your stated experience was "beginner" and you were talking about using them on the Lower Town Wall. Obviously this can be done in a more or less friendly manner and it sucks if you got a bitch out lecture or something. I think it's a point in favor of the store that they still have some ethics though. I'd hope the hardware store clerk wouldn't sell me a sledge hammer if I told them I was trying to hang a picture on the wall too.

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As I said above, same dude would probably sell you loads of hangers, quick draws and drilling jive to use for permanent damage wherever you dang well please, but at the same time, will preach to you about the very pins they sell in their shop. "We'll sell you the pins, but don't use them in my backyard! Wanna buy some bolts? Unlike pitons, they're permanent, but they won't "scar" the rock! They're like totally fun!"

:lmao::rolleyes::lmao:

 

 

you are putting words into someone else's mouth. You don't know what said clerk would say or not say. If this clerk wouldn't sell pins to someone for the sake of rock preservation, how does that automatically prove he is a bolt lover?

 

You make good arguments but now you are being a dick. And you are doing your cleanest climbing message a disservice.

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It's in my plan to aid Iron Horse, Narrow Arrow Overhang, Stern Farmer, and some other clean aid routes before even attempting a hammer route. I just wanted to know the difference between Bugaboos, Lost Arrows, and knifeblades (still don't really get it that well...didn't get the best advice) and also I didn't/don't plan on leaving any pitons on Snow White if I do end up climbing it. I just wanted information. Also, Index is a fine place to practice hammer aid climbing...on established hammer aid routes. Not routes that can go free or clean aid, but things where hammer aid is required. I need to practice if I'm going to be climbing any walls this summer.

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Just listening to Raindawgs rants makes me feel like pounding pins and grid bolting!

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I just wanted to know the difference between Bugaboos, Lost Arrows, and knifeblades

 

I recently put together a list of the length, thickness and range of various rock pro. Maybe it is useful to you. rock pro stats

 

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience at FF. I've always been met with very friendly advice. Maybe this guy just had too much coffee?

 

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Mark, I think OlympicMtnBoy has some good advice for you. Clean aid is a worthy thing to pursue.

 

Raindawg, your rant is a total strawman. Damage from pins, not bolts, were what drove the original clean climbing movement. I wouldn't expect you to champion the driven steel, but perhaps your stance is merely anti-bolt rather than pro-clean-climbing, eh?

 

strawman.JPG

 

Last May I got to climb in The Valley for a week and did Serenity Crack, the poster child for pin scar damage, for the first time in over 30 years, and I'd sort of forgotten just how shocking the damage is. The year before I'd done The Nutcracker for the first time in a similar length of time, and was surprised to find pin scars on a route that was notable for being established all on nuts. Pins do much more damage than bolts.

 

3916660721_88390fb2f0_z.jpg

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It's in my plan to aid Iron Horse, Narrow Arrow Overhang, Stern Farmer, and some other clean aid routes before even attempting a hammer route. I just wanted to know the difference between Bugaboos, Lost Arrows, and knifeblades (still don't really get it that well...didn't get the best advice) and also I didn't/don't plan on leaving any pitons on Snow White if I do end up climbing it. I just wanted information. Also, Index is a fine place to practice hammer aid climbing...on established hammer aid routes. Not routes that can go free or clean aid, but things where hammer aid is required. I need to practice if I'm going to be climbing any walls this summer.

 

If the route has gone free, leave your hammer at home.

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I just wanted to know the difference between Bugaboos, Lost Arrows, and knifeblades

 

Knifeblades (KB) are usually thin crack pitons, smaller than small nut sizes. bugaboos are longer version of kbs. Knifeblades will be your pins for aid as the bugaboos will be more likely to bottom out.

 

Lost arrows are thicker metal for slightly bigger cracks than KB, more durable and heavier. Not really a alpine tool but standard tool for hard aid. I think that offsets would work in many places that a lost arrow may be needed.

 

There is a world of pin craft that is being lost for good or bad. (not that I ever was good at it. The half of the handful I placed all bottomed out. (alpine) Good for you for wanting the learn the craft and get on big projects. Just keep the hammer away from "clean aid" lines

Edited by genepires

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Yikes: I will have to take a look at that when I get home, thanks for the link!

 

If the route has gone free, leave your hammer at home.

 

I wouldn't do it any other way. I won't even hook if the guidebook says to avoid it (e.g. Frog Pond)

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Your story reminds me of the scene in the movie High Fidelity where a guy comes into the record store and Jack Black won't sell the customer a Lionel Ritchey record he wants because the guy has such poor taste in music.

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Interesting timing for this post. We had a staff meeting this morning and many of us were huddled around a monitor reading this thread.

 

Mark: as I heard it from the guy you talked to, and the rest of the staff who were present, your initial questions about pitons were answered by one of our most experienced and well traveled staff members. He explained the difference between Lost Arrows, knifeblades, angles, RURPs, etc.

 

It got sticky when the discussion turned into good places to practice aid climbing as a beginner at Index. As you've seen from some of the responses, nailing a route that's been climbed clean isn't necessarily a good choice, and it might be wise to build a foundation from placing your own gear.

 

There were a couple of things that came into play here (and we take both pretty seriously):

 

1) A business that needs to sell things in order to keep the lights on

 

2) A part of the climbing community, that by default, has us seeing and talking to many other folks who share our love for the mountains.

 

There aren't very many places around here to climb, and each location has its own set of ethics. As climbers, we respect those ethics and do as much as we can to make sure the tradition is passed down from generation to generation in order to preserve the original personality of that area. Index, especially with the latest effort to save it from being turned into a rock quarry, has a long history of climber generated fervor and there is no end to the number of stories coming from that wall trying to protect its identity (ask Todd Skinner). In fact, knowing Index, if you went to the lower town wall with a hammer on the wrong day you may need it to fight your way back to the car! :battlecage: (just kidding...kinda - ha ha)

 

Did you get unsolicited advise from a Feathered Friends employee? Probably.

 

Did you get one from a longtime and regular area climber? Most definitely.

 

We care about the places we spend our free time, and the climbing community is a self-policing one. We fully realize we sell the things that are at the center of the fiercely debated topics of nailing and bolting. You can argue whether or not we should care as a business...but I guess it's because, as regular users also, we're a little protective of our local crags and sometimes that might come across a little harsh. If the alternative were to staff the store with folks who weren't end-users and didn't care about the places you go, I think I would go with the harshness.

 

I'm trying to keep this from sounding preachy and grumbly, but I hope this helps you understand where we come from, and we're sorry that it had to come to another internet showdown. If you're ever down this way again we'd love to show you anything else you need to check out. If you have any questions or would like to discuss it further feel free to give us a call :brew:

 

Eddie Espinosa

206.292.2210

 

And for Raindawg: It's not just pins we're talking about either; if a kid wanted to buy a bunch of bolts to protect runouts at Darrington, or stick one next to Classic Crack you better believe we'd say something. :cool:

Edited by featheredfriends

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I bought a zero degree bag from David at feathered friends on Monday and found him to be very helpful and a great retail professional. Now, if La Nina would just cooperate so that I can get a chance to use it........

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I think it is not the job of the store or sales clerk that sells gear to lecture people where and when they should use it. Friendly information is all it should be. The Lower Town Wall belongs to ALL OF US now.

There is no big renaissance of pitoncraft that I can see, but it is part of our history and a tool in the quiver for when the going gets interesting. Probably the Quarry area is better for pin practice, and using a pin on City park would be lame, but this indignant attitude of no pins at lower Index period is BS. Piton haters in my opinion fall into the same category as bolt haters, ridiculous and self absorbed. Theres a time and a place and we all need to grow up and be accepting of the different types of climbing.

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Eddie: thank you for the response. I agree with you here...what must not have been made clear, even though I stated it quite a few times at the store, is that the route in question has NEVER been done clean or freed. It is a nail-up route. There are at least 4 pitons in it right now; I guarantee that.

 

If I saw someone hammering on City Park, I'd be angry too. But that's not the deal here. What I got wasn't advice. It was, frankly, a misinformed rant based on incorrect information- specifically that the route in question could be done any other way. I get that you and many others care about Index- so do I. I did my Eagle Scout project there because I wanted to contribute in a helpful way to our new climbing park. All I know is that the employees in Second Ascent and Marmot Mountain Works have always been very supportive and helpful and sincerely listened to what I have to say before passing judgment.

 

-Mark

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They've been cocksuckers at feathered friends since atleast the late 70's. Who cares buy the shit from europe where the standards are established and maintained.

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