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olive


Mar 14, 2009, 7:58 AM
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competition, support, gender dynamics etc...
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Alright, so I am climbing with a bunch of guys for awhile now. I realized, or maybe I just feel so, that over the last year, they have been getting more and more competitive with each other. It feels like they get a lot of motivation trying to send routes that one of the others sent and there is this low-grade, joking kind of bantering about competing with each other. Now, I totally do not get any kind of motivation from competing with my partners. Sure I compete with myself and sometimes get an ego boost sending stuff that they find hard etc. etc., but overall, i dont like competition among partners in climbing environments. it is either because of this - the fact that I deliberately avoid that kind of competition, or because of some other reason (I am female?) I feel kind of left out. I sent sport climbs as hard, or harder, but I have a different style. And lately I have been feeling as if they dont care what I do, being so occupied with each other. They dont compete with me - which also means they kind of overlook what I am doing, or what I am trying to achieve. Which is not working for me, because I am on the other hand, someone who needs some support and some collaborative environment to keep my motivation up. Dont get me wrong - I am super self-motivated. But there are times that I am stressed, tired, plus, I have things that intimidate me, and I do want my partner/s care about what I do, give me ideas, support me or encourage me etc. I totally thrive when I can talk about a climb with my partner, they get excited about it for me as well, they make suggestions for my next climb etc. etc. That is, I climb alone when I am on the rock, but otherwise I thrive when my partner is involved in what I am doing as well.

Now, the questions:
- Is it unrealistic to look for partners such as those? Is it too much to expect that from a partner who is not your significant other? I mean, I dont talk about random partners you climb once in awhile, I dont expect that kind of support from everyone - but if you have a stable partner with whom you do most of your climbing - do you expect support, encouragement etc.? Am I way off line here? Am I acting up being a princess? :))
- Do you ladies think there is a gender/style difference when it comes to environments in which climbers thrive?
- And lastly, what do I do about this situation? I almost feel like they wont get it if I even tell them something. And the situation might be perceived worse than it is by me since I am so stressed, dark and sensitive lately (finishing my dissertation, looking into unemployment etc. etc.) which, however, one can claim should be good reasons for my partners to pay more attention to me :))

oh and, finding other partners is not an easy option. I am in michigan, there are not too many climbers here who travel to climb regularly, and I ended up with these partners through a long process, I actually do get along well with them overall. The competitive dynamic kind of came into picture with the addition of one new person.


clausti


Mar 14, 2009, 8:17 AM
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Registered: Oct 4, 2004
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carpool with the michigan boys, then climb with someone else when you get there.
Smile


olive


Mar 14, 2009, 8:20 AM
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Do you have someone in mind?? Wink


clausti


Mar 14, 2009, 8:38 AM
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i know theres a crew from ohio that comes down a lot...


clee03m


Mar 14, 2009, 9:20 AM
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Re: [olive] competition, support, gender dynamics etc... [In reply to]
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I think finding great climbing partners is as difficult. Everyone comes from such different backgrounds and have different expectations. Is it unrealistic for you to want a partner that fulfills what you need? No. Will it be easy to find these partners? No. Do I expect the same kind of support as you? No. But I have my own needs.

About gender differences.... Personally, I am with you on not needing competition. I tend to be overly competitive anyways, and until recently there was much competition in my career. So for me, rock climbing was such a nice break where I felt that I did not need to compete others. But I don't think this is gender specific. I've known lady climbers who thrives on competitive environments that turn us off.

What to do... Keep climbing with your partners but continue to look for others who will be ideal partners? How about teaching some noobs? I have one partner who pretty much trains noobs to give him exactly what he needs.


blueshrimp


Mar 14, 2009, 9:47 AM
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You may also try climbing trad instead of sport, or sport instead of trad, whatever the case may be. It could be simply that your crowd is interested in "chasing the numbers" right now. Trad climbers tend to be a bit more chillaxed. (shrug).

I personally think it is the group you hang out with. I have found good and bad partners, male and female, gender has nothing to do with it. Also, for me it is easier to build a good relationship with just 2 or 3 partners and go climbing with one of them instead of have lots of partners and go climbing in a group of more than, say, 3 tops.

When you're with only one other person (male or female) you naturally have to focus on the other person more because you don't have to divide your attention among several people in a larger group.

So, switch your crowd and/or go with a smaller group (it can be a subset of your usual group), and I suspect that things will improve in the direction you prefer quite quickly.


lena_chita
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Mar 14, 2009, 6:48 PM
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Re: [olive] competition, support, gender dynamics etc... [In reply to]
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Clausti beat me to it :)

I think a supportive partner means a TON. And a good partner doesn't have to be a significant other to give that sort of support. Part of why I like climbing with cam&cla.

And as far as gender-- I am not so sure. Some of my very supportive partners have been males. Some of the least supportive have been females, actually. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with how hard they climb in relationship to me.

Just like in "everyday life", there are people who are good at emphasizing with otehrs, and there are people that aren't.
So there are guys AND girls who climb quite a bit stronger than I do, but still manage to convey the feeling that they share my excitement about my first-ever-5.something that they just warmed up on. And there are guys AND girls who climb stronger than I do, who seem to be rolling up their eyes at my excitement, as if they can't possibly understand what could be so exciting about this climb that they could walk up on one-handed...
There are guys/girls who climb as hard as I do, and who would be enthusiastically celebrating with me after my successful climb, and there are guys/girls who climb as hard as I do, and who take my acomplishment as an insult to them...
There are guys/girls who don't climb the stuff I do, and who are still happy for me, and there are guys/girls who barely talk to me and don't climb with me b/c I climb stronger than they do...

But group dynamics can affect things, too. It sounds like you are climbing with a group of people, not one-on-one with a specific partner, so if other people in the group share a similar attitude and thrive on good-natured competition with each other, then you may simply not be a good match for that group b/c your style is different. Or maybe b/c you are the only female, and there is some male bonding going on that you aren't part of.

Some people I know have been very supportive partners when we go one-on-one, but in a larger group they gravitate to other people simply because they fit together better, whether because of age, or other interests, or whatever, and thus I feel left out and less-supported by these very same people when we go in a larger group and there are other people in that group that they connect with better than with me. It is O.K., as far as I'm concerned...

You just have to keep looking for that perfect partner, LOL.


acacongua


Mar 16, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Re: [olive] competition, support, gender dynamics etc... [In reply to]
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olive wrote:
Alright, so I am climbing with a bunch of guys for awhile now. I realized, or maybe I just feel so, that over the last year, they have been getting more and more competitive with each other. It feels like they get a lot of motivation trying to send routes that one of the others sent and there is this low-grade, joking kind of bantering about competing with each other. Now, I totally do not get any kind of motivation from competing with my partners.

oh and, finding other partners is not an easy option. I am in michigan, there are not too many climbers here who travel to climb regularly,

Competition between men is usually friendly and it's good for them. It keeps them off the couch and out of your hair (if you're the SO of one of them).

Second ... OMG, are you serious about not finding people from MI?? There are lots of people coming down to the Red and I know a cool chic who travels down alone (often).


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