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climbingbetty22


Jul 21, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Elitest "mentors"
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So I'm pretty new to trad leading. Right now, I'm pretty comfortable on 5.4 leads at the Gunks, and I aspire to lead harder one of these days. Most people think seem to think that its great that I'm leading and that I'm challenging myself even if its only on 5.4 now. But recently I've had two people basically tell me that it was a waste of their time to climb with me because I was so far below their level.

Personally, I was a taken aback and even a little hurt by these comments. Aren't mentors supposed to have patience for their mentees? Isn't that how people learned to climb before there were gyms, by apprenticing with climbers more experienced then themselves? What would have happened to our sport if those who were climbing hard decided that they would never climb with anyone below their skill level? If you have a hard route in mind, then yeah, you sould definitely find a partner equal to the task. But if you offer to help someone who is learning and then make them feel like crap for inconveniencing you by climbing below your skill level, isn't that being an elitest prick about the whole thing?

Is it even possible these days to find a climbing mentor who is just happy to help someone out and pass on the skills???


curt


Jul 21, 2005, 10:12 AM
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So I'm pretty new to trad leading. Right now, I'm pretty comfortable on 5.4 leads at the Gunks, and I aspire to lead harder one of these days. Most people think seem to think that its great that I'm leading and that I'm challenging myself even if its only on 5.4 now. But recently I've had two people basically tell me that it was a waste of their time to climb with me because I was so far below their level.

Personally, I was a taken aback and even a little hurt by these comments. Aren't mentors supposed to have patience for their mentees? Isn't that how people learned to climb before there were gyms, by apprenticing with climbers more experienced then themselves? What would have happened to our sport if those who were climbing hard decided that they would never climb with anyone below their skill level? If you have a hard route in mind, then yeah, you sould definitely find a partner equal to the task. But if you offer to help someone who is learning and then make them feel like crap for inconveniencing you by climbing below your skill level, isn't that being an elitest prick about the whole thing?

Is it even possible these days to find a climbing mentor who is just happy to help someone out and pass on the skills???

I suggest you find a "mentor" who climbs for the right reasons. I like to challenge myself when I'm out climbing with some of my friends, but I can also climb 5.4 all day long with my wife, or some of my other friends--and have just as much fun. Sounds like your "mentor" is not that type of individual.

Curt


Partner j_ung


Jul 21, 2005, 10:15 AM
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No matter what they may have said previously, it sounds like they didn't want to be a mentor, after all. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to say, "find a mentor," than it is to actually find one.

Is there a reason you put this in Community? I think it has enoug value to be in a climbing forum.

Edit: but maybe with a different thread title. :wink:


climbingbetty22


Jul 21, 2005, 10:19 AM
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Seems like everything gets moved to Community these days. I figured it would probaby end up their, so might as well start it there. Feel free to move it if you'd like.


jumpingrock


Jul 21, 2005, 10:23 AM
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But recently I've had two people basically tell me that it was a waste of their time to climb with me because I was so far below their level.

Was this to your face, or rather from the safety of the internet (e-mail counts)? I think that this would explain something about the person that made those comments.

In reply to:
Personally, I was a taken aback and even a little hurt by these comments. Aren't mentors supposed to have patience for their mentees? Isn't that how people learned to climb before there were gyms, by apprenticing with climbers more experienced then themselves? What would have happened to our sport if those who were climbing hard decided that they would never climb with anyone below their skill level? If you have a hard route in mind, then yeah, you sould definitely find a partner equal to the task. But if you offer to help someone who is learning and then make them feel like crap for inconveniencing you by climbing below your skill level, isn't that being an elitest prick about the whole thing?

Is it even possible these days to find a climbing mentor who is just happy to help someone out and pass on the skills???

Simple answer? Yes it is. More complex answer? Not every climber is a good mentor. It takes a certain personality to enjoy watching other people succeed on anything regardless of how much below your level. And it definitely takes a certain personality to enjoy climbing on anything, regardless of how easy it is.


Partner j_ung


Jul 21, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Seems like everything gets moved to Community these days. I figured it would probaby end up their, so might as well start it there. Feel free to move it if you'd like.

Look, I just thought maybe you'd get better feedback on a climbing issue if it was posted in a climbing forum. But if you don't care, then I'm all for less moderation. Here it stays.


Partner wideguy


Jul 21, 2005, 10:24 AM
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I agree, I don't know if these people presented themselves as "mentors" per se or not, but simply being a stronger climber certainly doesn't make them once.

I've been told by some of my partners that " we were thinking of climbing 5.x today" where x is above my grade. The point is made clear that for the day I may not want to try to hang with them. I accept that. Other days the same guys may openly invite me to haunt 5.4 with them all day. Sounds like the way it was said or presented to you was "prickish" indeed.


caughtinside


Jul 21, 2005, 10:31 AM
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Well, it's not real cool of them to make you feel small about it, but I understand where they're coming from.

With limited free time and therefore limited climbing days, I like to climb stuff thats around my level. I'd have a tough time getting motivated to follow a 5.4.

I was climbing with a chick last summer who was getting into leading, and I'd lead the first 6 or 7 pitches, and then she'd lead 2 or 3 easy pitches at the end of the day. That seemed to be a good arrangement for both of us. I got to lead my stuff, she got experience following some pitches that challenged her, and then she got to lead some in her comfort zone to get milage.

But finding partners with the same motivation level as you is always a challenge, no matter how hard you climb. You can up your chances of finding a good partner by climbing fast as well. Be willing to follow harder stuff.


atg200


Jul 21, 2005, 11:16 AM
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There is nothing wrong with what they said - you need a thicker skin. Would you want to go do routes like Roger's Escape Hatch all day? Probably not.

If you are leading a bunch of 5.4s, what exactly do you need a full time mentor for? As long as you have your systems fairly dialed in, you would be much better served by finding a partner of your own ability to go climb with. Both of you will have fun, you will be forced to start making decisions on your own if there is no one to bail you out, and there is just a better feeling of satisfaction in doing something as an equal partnership.

A lot of my best friends climb significantly harder than I do, so I generally don't climb with them that much. I feel bad about bringing them down to my level, and it sort of depresses me when they walk something I had to fight hard for. Occasionally it is fun for me to flail on something over my head or for them to revisit easier classics, but generally it is more satisfying if I climb with people who I can happily swing leads with. It works the other way too - I don't mind occasionally climbing with someone significantly worse than me, but if you do it too much it feels like you are running a guide service.

The mentor thing is very overrated and overhyped in my book. It is good to follow someone experienced right at first, but once you have the basics down you really should be able to strike off on your own as long as your are fairly conservative in your approach.


caughtinside


Jul 21, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Very good post! 8^)


kimmyt


Jul 21, 2005, 11:25 AM
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I understand where you're coming from, and them too. Alot of what caughtinside said, I thought was spot on.

I don't climb hard, and I'll be the first to admit that. My limit clean at the Gunks is a 5.7. I flail on anything harder. Maybe if it's a thin balancey face climb, I do a bit better, but that's pretty much it. I lead, like you, up to a 5.5.

What I find is when I lead all day, I don't push myself as much physically. The mental aspect, and emotional aspect, is there in force. I get to learn to deal with new situations, be creative when it comes to anchors and placements. I learn to think like a leader. But I don't get that pump, that challenging physical situation that allows you to push yourself into the higher grades. And if I don't get that chance to push my physical limits, how do I progress?

The wonderful thing I've been able to do this year is choose my climbing partners well. I've been incredibly lucky in being able to find some folks to climb with who are pushing their own lead limits to levels that are just at the outer edge of my ability on second. This allows me to get a greater chance to push both my mental/emotional and physical limits when climbing with them.

Example: My partner will lead a 5.7 or a 5.7+, and I will follow it cleanly, though I may struggle with the crux or panic at the exposure. I am on second, though, so I will get up it somehow, and having gotten up it I will have added yet another level of experience to allow me to kick up my technique a bit. My partner may, after that, need a break. Something easier to take their mind off the limits they just pushed. Here's where I come in, leading a route that's easy for them, but that challenges me mentally. A 5.4 or a 5.5. And obviously still enjoyable because, well, it's the Gunks, and even a 5.2 is fun there.

So it works out really well, and it's very give-and-take, and the partnership is much more equal than if one person were doing all the leading or all the mentoring.

It's rather a nice situation, and whenever I climb with someone where this is not the situation, I find myself wishing it was, because then the day just seems so much more enjoyable and casual. Everyone gets their jollies, and everyone goes home happy.

K.


hangerlessbolt


Jul 21, 2005, 11:41 AM
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“ It is good to follow someone experienced right at first, but once you have the basics down you really should be able to strike off on your own as long as your are fairly conservative in your approach.”

That’s the way I started…well, sort of.
I seconded routes (belay bitch) every weekend for three months before I began leading any. My first two leads were 5.8’s. My partner (Woody Starks) would lead…I would clean…then he would hand me the same pieces he used (and not so much as a biner more) and I’d cast off.

His theory was that if I could clean it without hanging…I should be able to lead it. Well, that was all fine and good, but after that weekend…I didn’t lead anything over 5.7 for quite some time.

I met a couple of guys who were up for climbing some of the easier grades to get some lead time in and that’s how we “perfected” our craft. We got a lot of mileage in that way.

Later on, as I became stronger (and lighter)…I was climbing several grades harder than my regular partner(s).
When I wanted to pull down hard…I’d call Adam (rrradam) et al…If I was up for a more chill day, I’d call Brian (toobigtoclimb) or Dr Bob (ffaallliinngg)…

It’s all good…it’s best to climb with people of similar goals (regardless of abilities)…then everyone’s having a good time.


Partner angry


Jul 21, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Were these people just stronger than you and so you assumed they'd be your mentor? Or was the offer to teach made to you?

I turn down climbing partners all the time who can't climb what I want. Sorry, but if I'm climbing easy, there's a few beginners whose company I truly enjoy. My little brother is the main one who comes to mind. I do not entertain the idea of climbing easy with random people met on the internet or at the gym, simple truth, I'd be bored climbing and not entertained by their company.

Before you anti elitist morons get all flaming, I'd bet that I've climbed as many easy pitches with friends or beginners (usually the same thing) as any non-guide has.

Climbingbetty, you seem cool, if you come to CO I'll follow you on easy stuff.


dingus


Jul 21, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Is it even possible these days to find a climbing mentor who is just happy to help someone out and pass on the skills???

Oh, they want to mentor you all right. Just not about rock climbing.

DMT


dirtineye


Jul 21, 2005, 1:18 PM
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And you wonder why I called you, "climbingbratty"...

Whining and complaining in scummunity will not help.

To answer your question, there are apparently quite a few climbers that feel they are god's gift, I'd avoid them if I were you.

To those who are too good to help climbers who are currently not up to your standards, get over yourselves.

As a few people have already said, there are those who really like to teach climbing or mentor. I'm afraid finding one of those and hitting it off with em is mostly luck. You will increase your chances if you get out there and climb though.

And, Believe it or not, some of the really good climbers also do a lot of trail work and other climbing community service, and they tend to notice those who help out in the same way. If you start showing up regularly for those events, you might just make some of the right kind of contacts.

A kid helped me build a trail once, the next day (insert southern legend climber here) and I took him on a first ascent. The kid was just being selfless and helping out, and he got a nice reward.

IF you become a genuine steward of the areas you climb in, you'll eventually make good friends who will help you.


And, here's a news flash-- not every climber gets along with every other climber, so don't feel bad, be happy that you are free to find some that you do click with.


vivalargo


Jul 21, 2005, 1:32 PM
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You didn't come off sounding like you think folks own you their mentoring, but anyone doing so is rendering you a service, and if you think otherwise you're looking to get something for nothing.

Just hire a guide, or find another climber at your skill level. Remember, climbers are almost entirely self-taught no matter how much mentoring they get.

JL


climbingbetty22


Jul 21, 2005, 1:35 PM
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Dingus- I think you may be on to something there.

Yes, in the one case the offer was made to be my mentor.

The whole point of having a mentor however, is to climb with some to teach me stuff I don't know. Like right now, I want to learn to aid. I don't learn well out of books and I can't afford to just hire someone to teach me. Hence the mentor thing.

I actually try to be quite conscience of whether or not I am holding someone back in terms of their climbing ability. In the case of the person who made the offer to be my mentor, the claimed to be OK with climbing easier stuff that day. Only now, several weeks later has it appeared to be a problem.


dirtineye


Jul 21, 2005, 1:40 PM
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In reply to:
You didn't come off sounding like you think folks own you their mentoring, but anyone doing so is rendering you a service, and if you think otherwise you're looking to get something for nothing.

Just hire a guide, or find another climber at your skill level. Remember, climbers are almost entirely self-taught no matter how much mentoring they get.

JL

Altruism is not dead. Some people just like helping others learn.


atg200


Jul 21, 2005, 1:43 PM
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you want to learn aid as a new 5.4 leader? oh dear. slow way, way down. you have no business doing anything but logging lots and lots of easy free pitches right now. any mentor that tells you otherwise is not fit to be a mentor.

if you need someone to teach you how to aid climb, you are definitely not ready to be aid climbing.


caughtinside


Jul 21, 2005, 1:44 PM
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Well, a couple of weeks ago you were leading harder stuff. If you're willing to push it a bit and lead harder, having a more experienced climber would be helpful. But if you're going to back off a bit and do something comfortable, you should already know what to do. You'll gain the most experience just by leading lots of pitches--a situation where you don't necessarily need a better climber. You'd be better off actually with someone who doesn't lead, so you get to lead every pitch!

Also, might be a little soon to be learning aid climbing given your trad leading level. And mentoring ain't a full time gig, either.

But keep having fun out there, don't get upset because someone's climbing goals/plans don't jive with yours.


jumpingrock


Jul 21, 2005, 1:49 PM
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if you need someone to teach you how to aid climb, you are definitely not ready to be aid climbing.

I agree with this statement.


dingus


Jul 21, 2005, 3:33 PM
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Relationships have give and take.

I'm not sure I buy this altrustic "I just like helping folks" motive. I suppose it could happen, that there are a few folks who just get off hanging round newbs and showing them the ropes.

I also suppose there are others who like to lord it over 5.4 climbers cause it makes them feel better about their 5.7 epics.

In each case, the mentor is getting something out of the deal.

I did have a mentor for a time. He was a very good and very accomplished climber, across the board from bouldering to hard trad to alpine and high altitude. And like a lot of salty old dogs who have to work for a living, he had continual problems with partners.

He also liked to run his own show and pursue his own goals. Hooking up with his genuine peers, he'd do it whenever the stars aligned. But just as often, his peers wanted to run THEIR OWN SHOW, and things just didn't line up.

Enter in young, dumb and strong Dingus... (ok, it was a long time ago, it would be fat, weak, old and stupid now). I fancied the alpine world and I met this guy at work who said yeah, 'I've done a little climbing.'

Little did I know that some of that climbing included Astroman, Rostrum, Denali, S America, most of the major climbing venues in the west, etc. etc. etc.

Here I am horn blowing about my latest 5.9 and this guy's got to be thinking, 'what a chump!'

So anyway, he needed a willing partner. Turned out I could follow purt near anything he could lead, so it worked out well for us. We did a boatload of climbing together and I learned at the feet of a master and only had to pay with time and suffering.

Eventually our partnership faded like others before it. I found I did not enjoy an endless stream of routes 'above my head' where I could barely 2nd and never felt in control enough to say "I climbed that route." And he tired of holding himself back to do the routes I wanted to do and most honestly, he got fed up with the Dingus Package. Which is OK, I got tired of his too.

But I owe this man the better part of my alpine education and while it worked, it WORKED. Our first route EVER was a single pitch simulclimb of REg Route on Higher Cathedral Spire (5 pitch route which at the time I had never climbed) in a surprise fall snowstorm. Cranking those Robbins moves in the crack on the 2nd pitch knowing that if I peeled off I would probably kill my new found mentor was a bit sobering! That feeling of always being behind, out of control... was ever present with this dude.

But remember, a relationship is two way. The mentor has to get something for the deal... a partner, money, dinner and a tank of gas, a friend, gratutious sex... SOMETHING!

So when someone offers to mentor you, explore their motives. It could be they really want to bed you. Or worse, they may want to drag you up some heinous route or introduce you to alpine.

And too, the student has to be willing to follow master. Student doesn't tell Master what we are climbing today, unless Master asks. Otherwise Student is obliged to go where Master tells her to go. Such is the life of Apprentice.

Alpine... to think, I could have just opted for anal sex and been done with it!

DMT


curt


Jul 21, 2005, 3:38 PM
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you want to learn aid as a new 5.4 leader? oh dear. slow way, way down. you have no business doing anything but logging lots and lots of easy free pitches right now. any mentor that tells you otherwise is not fit to be a mentor.

if you need someone to teach you how to aid climb, you are definitely not ready to be aid climbing.

Plus, aid climbing is a step backwards. :D

Curt


caughtinside


Jul 21, 2005, 3:45 PM
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...he got fed up with the Dingus Package. Which is OK, I got tired of his too.

Don't tie yourself down to just one there, dingus.

In reply to:
Alpine... to think, I could have just opted for anal sex and been done with it!

DMT

Uhh, never mind. :P


Partner macherry


Jul 21, 2005, 3:47 PM
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Relationships have give and take.

I'm not sure I buy this altrustic "I just like helping folks" motive. I suppose it could happen, that there are a few folks who just get off hanging round newbs and showing them the ropes.

I also suppose there are others who like to lord it over 5.4 climbers cause it makes them feel better about their 5.7 epics.

In each case, the mentor is getting something out of the deal.

But remember, a relationship is two way. The mentor has to get something for the deal... a partner, money, dinner and a tank of gas, a friend, gratutious sex... SOMETHING!

So when someone offers to mentor you, explore their motives. It could be they really want to bed you. Or worse, they may want to drag you up some heinous route or introduce you to alpine.

And too, the student has to be willing to follow master. Student doesn't tell Master what we are climbing today, unless Master asks. Otherwise Student is obliged to go where Master tells her to go. Such is the life of Apprentice.

Alpine... to think, I could have just opted for anal sex and been done with it!

DMT


or they want a belay bitch to help them on a new project!!!

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