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r3b3cca


Jul 23, 2008, 10:21 AM
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male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted!
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I've been climbing less than a year, but I am an avid devotee of the outdoor climbing arts. I am also at a loss when it comes to finding climbing partners. The dudes I have been climbing with are all great guys, don't get me wrong, but there is always some weird vibes going on. Maybe because I'm single and they are for the most part single too.

Basically, I feel like any guy who responds to a woman's post saying they are a beginner is someone who wants to be in a more powerful/leader position, so there is always some strange power dynamic or tension there. I don't know if this is just ME or if it's more universal. Not to mention the fact that even though I make it VERY clear that this is for climbing and not dating, there is still some dating energy going on. It almost feels like a weird marriage to climb with a guy, like they are suddenly my boyfriend, which I do not want at all. Does anyone else have this experience?

I don't know if it would be different with a female partner, but I want to try! I am in Los Angeles, and will climb in Idyllwild, JTree when it's not burning hot, Yosemite, Tahoe, and I will be in Colorado in mid-August. I am just starting to lead. I can follow up to 5.9.

Thanks for any advice/discussion around these topics.


bizarrodrinker


Jul 23, 2008, 10:59 AM
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Re: [r3b3cca] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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r3b3cca wrote:
I've been climbing less than a year, but I am an avid devotee of the outdoor climbing arts. I am also at a loss when it comes to finding climbing partners. The dudes I have been climbing with are all great guys, don't get me wrong, but there is always some weird vibes going on. Maybe because I'm single and they are for the most part single too.

Basically, I feel like any guy who responds to a woman's post saying they are a beginner is someone who wants to be in a more powerful/leader position, so there is always some strange power dynamic or tension there. I don't know if this is just ME or if it's more universal. Not to mention the fact that even though I make it VERY clear that this is for climbing and not dating, there is still some dating energy going on. It almost feels like a weird marriage to climb with a guy, like they are suddenly my boyfriend, which I do not want at all. Does anyone else have this experience?

I don't know if it would be different with a female partner, but I want to try! I am in Los Angeles, and will climb in Idyllwild, JTree when it's not burning hot, Yosemite, Tahoe, and I will be in Colorado in mid-August. I am just starting to lead. I can follow up to 5.9.

Thanks for any advice/discussion around these topics.

Its not you.

Tho its not always the case. Try climbing with a guy who already has a boyfriend or with a girl.


Partner happiegrrrl


Jul 23, 2008, 11:11 AM
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Re: [r3b3cca] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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Just like in the rest of life....

Some guys will be hoping for a hookup, as will some girls. Sometimes we imagine that's what's going on....but it's only in our imagination. Inter-relationships are complicated.

Some guys like climbing with women for a variety of reasons that haven't got much to do with hooking up or quasi-dating.

The thing is - it is what it is.

We learn much about ourselves through climbing, so....keep the focus where it belongs(on yourself!). If a guy is flirting, deal with it in an appropriate manner.

Example - "Hey, you made that look easy!" is probably just encouragement, and need not be met with dagger "don't even think about it, buster" eyes.

Whereas, a guy who you go to the local crag for a weekend of climbing and share a campsite...and he "forgets" his sleeping bag.... should be shit outa luck.

There's a myriad of scenarios that fall between.... Routefinding in the climbing partner relationship is a skill that's good to develop.

As you become more used to the dynamics of climbing partnerships, you'll begin to see what's what, but if you are still at a level that you don't know what your job as a second is and need to be led through the day, you sort of have to expect a bit of paternalism, simply because some of your male partners may not be adept at acting differently.

The best thing to do is get going on being self-sufficient, and then you won't have to rely on their "taking care" of you. But even then - there will be guys who want to do that.... Like I said - It's just like life in every aspect.


caughtinside


Jul 23, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Re: [r3b3cca] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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Couple things going on.

First, if you are trying to learn from the person, you've set up a leader dynamic. THis is true whether it's MF, MM, or FF.

In such situations, it's often expected that the 'student' bring something to the partnership. It can be a lot of things, enthusiasm, friendship, etc. Or, as you may have noticed, dating and all that entails.

I don't want to sound callous, but it is rare (in my experience) that people will teach others just to teach them. For me, it's my free time, and I want to enjoy myself out there. So if the person is boring, annoying or not dating material, I probably wouldn't climb with them.

But good for you for laying out the boundaries up front. As you say, you can still be friends with these guys, not date, and still climb and have a great time.

However, you may still get hit on. Depends on each dude, not sure what you can do about that. Lots of single climber guys are kind of like George Costanza, in that episode where he tries to combine the trifect of pleasures: TV, food and sex. Just substitute climbing for TV and food and you get the idea.


bizarrodrinker


Jul 23, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Re: [happiegrrrl] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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happiegrrrl wrote:

Whereas, a guy who you go to the local crag for a weekend of climbing and share a campsite...and he "forgets" his sleeping bag.... should be shit outa luck.

See that actually does happen sometimes though. It happened to me not a month ago with an ex-girlfriend in the gunks. Mind I no longer have any interest in her save being friends and climbing partners.

I think it was actually more awkward for me cause I knew that's probably what she was thinking, but once she saw me sleeping with my legs in the sleeves of my hoody it was a different story.

Lucky it wasn't that cold that night. Actually the second time that's happend to me...the first being with a group of people...I slept in my car that night.

Obviously it should be left to the discretion of the individual what constitutes "conveniently" forgotten gear.


lena_chita
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Jul 23, 2008, 1:10 PM
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Re: [r3b3cca] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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Caughtinside has covered all the points, pretty much :)

If you are single, and so are the guys you climb with, some amount of "checking out" and testing to see if you are interested in more than just climbing is completely normal. Add to that the fact that you are spending a lot of time with them, and in a rather intimate setting, and you are learning from them--aka spend a lot of time listening to their explanations, paying attention to what they say... of course the 'wibe' will be there. Most guys are not dicks (I mean, not total dicks Tongue), if you are consistently not interested, they will get the point, and yes, you can still climb with them.

I never had a problem with climbing partners hitting on me, which could either mean that they are respectful of the fact that I'm married, or simply that I'm not anyone's idea of a dating material... either way, I'm cool with it.

Yes, the dynamics is different when you go climbing with another female-- and that is not always better. I don't necessarily like dealing with someone else's PMS. My own is bad enough. And a few experiences of taking out beginners have convinced me that all things being equal, I would rather take a guy. He would try his damnedest to keep up with me, instead of whining.


A GOOD female partner is a wonderful thing, though... very rare... there is only one I know within driving distance of me right now (cheers, clausti!)


r3b3cca


Jul 23, 2008, 2:19 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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Thanks for all the replies...clearly, I am just getting used to this very powerful and strange new dynamic of climbing partnership, and there is much to be negotiated, as with any relationship.

I suppose the ideal climbing partnership is just as difficult to find as any other relationship - professional or personal. Strong, supportive encouragement while I push my own limits, and vice-versa. Not to mention a few good laughs along the way. But thanks for reminding me that what climbing is always about for me - self-discovery - has everything to do with my relationship with myself. The partner is simply a witness, an external reflection.

Here's to great, trustworthy partnerships!


Partner camhead


Jul 23, 2008, 5:40 PM
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Re: [caughtinside] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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caughtinside wrote:

I don't want to sound callous, but it is rare (in my experience) that people will teach others just to teach them. For me, it's my free time, and I want to enjoy myself out there. So if the person is boring, annoying or not dating material, I probably wouldn't climb with them.

True. Almost all "teachers" climb to get girls, to fluff their egos, or simply because they cannot find partners otherwise.

Also, do not climb with caughtinside. he only posts in the ladies' room so that you women will think he's senstitive, and go climb with him; he is actually quite sketchy.


clausti


Jul 23, 2008, 5:56 PM
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Re: [r3b3cca] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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So I actually didn't have the problem you are describing when I was just starting to climb outside. And in thinking about that, I think it was because I mostly climbed in groups. I did next to zero "one on one" climbing for the first couple years. This was all sport climbing or bouldering, and they were either people from the gym I went to (college gym) or I met them at the climbers' campground at my preferred sport area, or sometimes I'd meet people at the crag and then climb with them the next day. I did a lot of driving to the climbing area by myself for a few years in college, picking up random people to climb with. But again, next to never was it one on one.

So that would be my advice. Especially now with gas getting more expensive, more and more people are open to packing a car to carpool, and 3 or 4 people is still a totally manageable group size.

Also, like caughtinside said, the newbie usually brings something to the group. Do you have a car that gets wicked good gas milage? Be the person that drives. Or be the person that will always clean the route. Or be the person that plans the meals for the trip. Or be the person that will try and lead something even if you're not sure about getting it clean. (hey there, lena_chita, oh inspiring one!)


As far as the hooking up goes, if it's mutual, hook up with them. Absolutely does not mean you're dating. I've hooked up with lots of guys whoI was climbing with, or met climbing, and I've dated like, three of them. I'm marrying the final one, the one who I assured ahead of time that something serious between us simply was not going to happen. If it isn't mutual, well.. I've spent seasons climbing with guys who want to hook up with me, who I don't want to hook up with, and because they're decent human beings, and we liked climbing with each other, we got over it. Don't let the awkwardness intimidate you.


livvy


Jul 23, 2008, 10:00 PM
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I will be in Colorado for most of August - would love to head out climbing if we overlap, just shoot me a PM.

Livia


granite_grrl


Jul 24, 2008, 6:36 AM
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Re: [caughtinside] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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caughtinside wrote:
In such situations, it's often expected that the 'student' bring something to the partnership. It can be a lot of things, enthusiasm, friendship, etc. Or, as you may have noticed, dating and all that entails.

This is a very good point. I only like to head out with people that I enjoy spending time with, but I can understand one of the motivating factors being wanting to date and all that entails.

I don't think there's anything wrong with this. There have been a couple of guys in the past I've gone climbing with who were awesome to spend time with, but I'm quite sure they were hoping for more. I was not interested in more so I didn't give them that oppurtunity. Fortunally they wern't stupid and rude and never did anything untowards (though they did a couple of super sweet things for me that brought me to the conclusion that they were interested).

I enjoy having female partners. It is a different dynamic, but I find its more different off the rock than on the rock....which can make for an awesome trip. But I think the dynamic between two partners, regardless of gender, is largly what you can bring to it and what you make it.


clee03m


Jul 24, 2008, 9:53 AM
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I tried looking for only female partners when I first moved to Cleveland a while back. I didn't really have a whole lot of luck. I love climbing with girls even though I am married and have not really experienced unpleasant situations. But there are just not enough of them out there. It wasn't until after I started to climb with a lot of guys that I met more girls to climb with. Sometimes you have to settle for good, safe climbing partners especially when you are new to the sport or new to an area. And you may be pleasantly surprised to find some of your favorite partners are men. What can I say? My favorite and regular partners now are guys, although I haven't given up on finding more female partners...

I would say unless these guys are creepy, take advantage of their experience and learn as much as possible from them. Become independent as soon as possible. When you are a competant and an experienced leader, you will have an easier time finding partners.


caughtinside


Jul 24, 2008, 2:50 PM
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Re: [camhead] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:
caughtinside wrote:

I don't want to sound callous, but it is rare (in my experience) that people will teach others just to teach them. For me, it's my free time, and I want to enjoy myself out there. So if the person is boring, annoying or not dating material, I probably wouldn't climb with them.

True. Almost all "teachers" climb to get girls, to fluff their egos, or simply because they cannot find partners otherwise.

Also, do not climb with caughtinside. he only posts in the ladies' room so that you women will think he's senstitive, and go climb with him; he is actually quite sketchy.

This is correct. I am a very sensitive man! I also just bought a sweet van I plan to commit a multitude of spiritual crimes in the back of while camped at climbing areas.

So if you see the van, knock and say hi!Angelic


iamthewallress


Jul 24, 2008, 6:40 PM
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Re: [caughtinside] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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caughtinside wrote:
camhead wrote:
caughtinside wrote:

I don't want to sound callous, but it is rare (in my experience) that people will teach others just to teach them. For me, it's my free time, and I want to enjoy myself out there. So if the person is boring, annoying or not dating material, I probably wouldn't climb with them.

True. Almost all "teachers" climb to get girls, to fluff their egos, or simply because they cannot find partners otherwise.

Also, do not climb with caughtinside. he only posts in the ladies' room so that you women will think he's senstitive, and go climb with him; he is actually quite sketchy.

This is correct. I am a very sensitive man! I also just bought a sweet van I plan to commit a multitude of spiritual crimes in the back of while camped at climbing areas.

So if you see the van, knock and say hi!Angelic

If you get OK w/ dating a climbing parter and swallowing the bitter pill that is having your partner be the better, more experience climber (which I can say from personal experience gets easier, but never easy-peasy if you're pretty alpha), I highly recommend making friends with caughtinside.

He'll carry extra weight if you're small, but hold you to your own spray when it comes time to climb.

And he's a nice guy who probably likes long walks on the beach.

Good luck to you and caughtinside.

Wink


clausti


Jul 24, 2008, 6:47 PM
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i highly recommend making friends with caughtindave anyways, because he is hilarious. and also, about to take a road trip. around California.


Partner camhead


Jul 24, 2008, 7:02 PM
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Everyone shud date caughtinside! He like granite! He has a van! He goes on boring rodetrips!


snoopy138


Jul 24, 2008, 9:55 PM
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From August through sometime in November, you'll be able to find him camped outside his favorite crag on Beaver Street in San Francisco.


nthusiastj


Jul 28, 2008, 12:17 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
Most guys are not dicks (I mean, not total dicks Tongue), if you are consistently not interested, they will get the point, and yes, you can still climb with them.

I'm probably a total dick.

That being said...
Pretty much any climbing partnership is kind of like a marriage. You have some of the same issues to deal with regardless of whether it's a girl or dude.
It's really hard to find someone that likes the same kind of routes you do, that mesh well with your personality, want to climb as much as you, are safe, and you want to hang around with for an extended period of time.
Either way there are things that get in the way of the actual climbing. Maybe that's why people solo. Angelic

If you are good looking and climb, you're probably like crack to most guys. Who doesn't want a girl that understands their passion. You're like twice as attractive as most girls.

Anyway, the climbing in a group thing is key. You get to scope out people that meet all of your criteria or at least you have a good pool of partners to draw from for different routes/days.

Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.
If you find the right dude, he may REALLY only be interested in getting out to climb and you can concentrate on the internal aspects of climbing.

My girlfriend and I were climbing Saturday and there were 2 girls climbing a couple of pitches ahead of us and didn't shut up the whole time they were climbing. It was constant commentary yelling back and forth. I think she was more annoyed than I was.


(This post was edited by nthusiastj on Jul 28, 2008, 12:25 PM)


aerili


Jul 28, 2008, 10:58 PM
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nthusiastj wrote:
Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.

On the contrary, I've had virtually zero female partners with drama but several men who had drama issues/brought drama into my life. In fact, I've found climbing men as a group to have more drama problems than any other kind of male I've met in life. What is up with that shit?!


notapplicable


Jul 28, 2008, 11:18 PM
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aerili wrote:
nthusiastj wrote:
Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.

On the contrary, I've had virtually zero female partners with drama but several men who had drama issues/brought drama into my life. In fact, I've found climbing men as a group to have more drama problems than any other kind of male I've met in life.


This is absolutely true and one of the reasons I dont have a regular partner right now. Male climbers can be such queens!


getout87


Jul 29, 2008, 5:04 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
aerili wrote:
nthusiastj wrote:
Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.

On the contrary, I've had virtually zero female partners with drama but several men who had drama issues/brought drama into my life. In fact, I've found climbing men as a group to have more drama problems than any other kind of male I've met in life.


This is absolutely true and one of the reasons I dont have a regular partner right now. Male climbers can be such queens!

Do all of your climbing partners like to stare at GSP over Gina too?


notapplicable


Jul 29, 2008, 7:04 AM
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getout87 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
aerili wrote:
nthusiastj wrote:
Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.

On the contrary, I've had virtually zero female partners with drama but several men who had drama issues/brought drama into my life. In fact, I've found climbing men as a group to have more drama problems than any other kind of male I've met in life.


This is absolutely true and one of the reasons I dont have a regular partner right now. Male climbers can be such queens!

Do all of your climbing partners like to stare at GSP over Gina too?

LaughLaughLaugh

Well played sir...well played.


clee03m


Jul 29, 2008, 7:26 AM
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aerili wrote:
nthusiastj wrote:
Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.

On the contrary, I've had virtually zero female partners with drama but several men who had drama issues/brought drama into my life. In fact, I've found climbing men as a group to have more drama problems than any other kind of male I've met in life. What is up with that shit?!

Agreed. I have only heard of female drama, and have not had any personal encounters. In fact, I try to climb with women to avoid drama and issues that coming up and ruin a perfectly good climbing partnership. The kind of drama I encounter with men tend to be with their jealous SO. Crazy SO can be scary even if you are a billion years old and married.


getout87


Jul 29, 2008, 8:02 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
getout87 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
aerili wrote:
nthusiastj wrote:
Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.

On the contrary, I've had virtually zero female partners with drama but several men who had drama issues/brought drama into my life. In fact, I've found climbing men as a group to have more drama problems than any other kind of male I've met in life.


This is absolutely true and one of the reasons I dont have a regular partner right now. Male climbers can be such queens!

Do all of your climbing partners like to stare at GSP over Gina too?

LaughLaughLaugh

Well played sir...well played.

hehe Cool


bizarrodrinker


Jul 29, 2008, 8:09 AM
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Re: [clee03m] male/female power dynamics, tension...female partners wanted! [In reply to]
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clee03m wrote:
aerili wrote:
nthusiastj wrote:
Edited to say:
I know there are plenty of women that don't like to climb with other women that much because of the (how do I say this without getting into trouble) drama that comes with women sometimes.

On the contrary, I've had virtually zero female partners with drama but several men who had drama issues/brought drama into my life. In fact, I've found climbing men as a group to have more drama problems than any other kind of male I've met in life. What is up with that shit?!

Agreed. I have only heard of female drama, and have not had any personal encounters. In fact, I try to climb with women to avoid drama and issues that coming up and ruin a perfectly good climbing partnership. The kind of drama I encounter with men tend to be with their jealous SO. Crazy SO can be scary even if you are a billion years old and married.

Everyone has at least a little drama in their life depending on what is going on with it.

The tough part is finding people who are polite enough to keep it to themselves tho its not always possible.

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