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Winemaker


May 1, 2013, 3:08 PM
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Dump this partner?
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My climbing 'partner' is worrying me. When we first started climbing together (newbie here obviously) he had lots of stories, lots of gear, and lots of advice. On one of our first climbs he was leading to set a top rope; one of his cams fell out - and I do mean fell out. I tried to talk to him about it later but he brushed me off. Last month we climbed bolted routes but he hesitated to lead a 5.6 so I led the climb (my first lead). We were using my grigri for belay and although I know he has had one for a while (I saw it last year) we had until now belayed with an ATC. Long story short, he didn't know how to lower with a grigri - he asked me after I was down how you kept your brake hand from overheating when lowering. Turns out he was lowering me by fully releasing the lever and controlling my descent with his brake hand. There have been other little niggly things and I haven't climbed with him since. I wonder if I should dump him as a partner. Honestly, I feel more competent than him and I'm hesitant to go out with him again. Are these incidents a sign?


kpb


May 1, 2013, 3:27 PM
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Only you can really know, but if I didn't have confidence in a climbing partner, I'd avoid climbing with them.


ki6ojv


May 1, 2013, 3:33 PM
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If you are questioning it you already have your answer! It is your life you are placing in his hands. What is the value of that?


lofstromc


May 1, 2013, 4:19 PM
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Re: [ki6ojv] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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I agree with the others. You should stop climbing with him, but, I think you should tell him why. If he's unsafe and doesn't know it, your saying so might be a wake up call for him. He may also think your a dick...
Either way, your still safe.


qwert


May 2, 2013, 3:01 AM
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Re: [Winemaker] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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Winemaker wrote:
one of his cams fell out - and I do mean fell out.
Should not happen but can happen. If it always happens, i would worry.

In reply to:
We were using my grigri for belay and although I know he has had one for a while (I saw it last year) we had until now belayed with an ATC. Long story short, he didn't know how to lower with a grigri - he asked me after I was down how you kept your brake hand from overheating when lowering. Turns out he was lowering me by fully releasing the lever and controlling my descent with his brake hand.
That he obviously does not know how to use a grigri is not really a problem. I would call myself an experienced climber, and i also can really use a grigri.

that he does use it anyways without admitting he has a problem, that is what is really worrying!

Apart from the obvious "Well, he is an idiot, dump him!" approach, i do have another idea:

Maybe he is not that experienced, and can not adapt to the fact that you might actually be more knowledgeable than he is. His mind might be stuck in "I am the boss, i cannot show weakness!" mode, thus he cannot admit that he does not know the grigri in front of the n00b, and just assumes that is just will work like an atc…

Of course that is still stupid, but that might be something worth talking about. Also, while grades do not equal experience or knowledge, I'd hesitate to deem someone experienced who hesitates to lead a 5.6, unless it is an trad/alpine horrorshow, of course. Or was it just a nudging to get you to lead finally?

qwert


Winemaker


May 2, 2013, 7:39 AM
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Thanks all. If I ask the question I guess I already know the answer. I just don't have trust and will find a new partner, although it's tough to find an experienced climber willing to climb with a newbie.


lena_chita
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May 2, 2013, 8:07 AM
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Re: [Winemaker] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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When you were a complete newbie, you had no way to tell an experienced/knowledgeable partner from a gumbie with lots of gear who talks big. Now you are starting to see things.

You don't necessarily need to find an experienced partner, though it is definitely beneficial. But it IS possible for two newbies to learn together and still be safe while you are improving.

If you are trying to find a more experienced partner, ask yourself, what's in it for them? Yes, usually more experienced climbers already have stable partners, and are more interested in climbing with people who climb close to their level. But...

People pick partners for a multitude of reasons. There might be a strong climber who is looking for flexibility is terms of climbing days. Maybe all his partners are weekend warriors, and he has Wednesdays free. Are you flexible in your schedule? that could be the reason you two start climbing together. Are you willing to go extra mile in terms of throwing in something like beer, food, gas money? That might be another reason.

And the biggest one, IMO, is just personal connection. Above all, people like climbing with people they LIKE. You spend a long time stuck in the car together, and then hang out together for couple days. It doesn't matter what grade the other guy climbs, if I simply can't stand him.

My current regular partner doesn't climb particularly hard. He is a relative newbie, and for a couple of years he was just one of the guys I saw around the gym, stayed distantly-friendly with, and never really considered as partners. But one weekend I was desperately looking for ANYONE to go with, and he was there and willing to go... Well, it turns out that he is an awesome guy who stays unfailingly cheerful, he is flexible and willing to match his schedule to mine, we share similar tastes in movies, books and cooking... Pretty much perfect! (oh, yes, obviously the must-have things like he is is an attentive belayer who knows how to catch lightweight partners are present, too.) I wasn't actively LOOKING for a new regular partner, i was just looking for a one-time weekend partner, and I ended up finding someone I really enjoy climbing with.


bearbreeder


May 2, 2013, 9:16 AM
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Re: [Winemaker] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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if yr posting on the intrawebs rather than talking to the person first ... its a sign you have issues yourself

just like couples who rant about their partners to others online rather than talk to the person first

divorce time !!!

Wink


jomagam


May 2, 2013, 10:10 AM
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That's a complex question. Do you enjoy climbing with him ? Do you feel comfortable asking him WTF was that with the Grigri? Does he acknowledge when he messes up, or is he macho about it ? Maybe in some sense you're the more experienced climber in this partnership.


jomagam


May 2, 2013, 10:11 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:

My current regular partner doesn't climb particularly hard. He is a relative newbie, and for a couple of years he was just one of the guys I saw around the gym, stayed distantly-friendly with, and never really considered as partners. But one weekend I was desperately looking for ANYONE to go with, and he was there and willing to go... Well, it turns out that he is an awesome guy who stays unfailingly cheerful, he is flexible and willing to match his schedule to mine, we share similar tastes in movies, books and cooking... Pretty much perfect! (oh, yes, obviously the must-have things like he is is an attentive belayer who knows how to catch lightweight partners are present, too.) I wasn't actively LOOKING for a new regular partner, i was just looking for a one-time weekend partner, and I ended up finding someone I really enjoy climbing with.

What a sweet love story Wink


Winemaker


May 2, 2013, 11:03 AM
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I'm not ranting. I'm bothered by the front he presents and by ability and safety concerns. I've been feeling that I am a better climber, more aware of things, and more conscientious than he is and I question whether I feel I can rely on him. Obviously, as I write this I've made a decision and knew, subconsciously what that was before I wrote the post.


Winemaker


May 2, 2013, 11:13 AM
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I certainly have asked him about things; its how he responds that bothers me. He lead a bolted climb last year, built a tr anchor on chains, threaded the rope then tossed the rope and AT THE EXACT SAME TIME yelled 'ROPE'. I hunkered into the rock as best I could, but some rope did hit me. After he came down I asked him WTF? His answer was that gravity had taken over. I responded that gravity had taken over only after he let go of the rope and that he should have given me a bit of time. His flippant retort wasn't helpful. He's a decent guy but ........


caughtinside


May 2, 2013, 11:15 AM
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Sounds like a MeetUp group leader.


markc


May 3, 2013, 10:14 AM
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Each new post shows that this person is not only less experienced than he led you to believe, but he's also not open to critique. If it was just a matter of adjusting your perspective to see him as a similarly new climber and to act accordingly, that would be one thing. It's the lack of criticality rather than a lack of experience I'm concerned with. You should be thankful he's demonstrating he's not safe before actually managing to hurt you or himself.

Were I you, I'd sit him down away from the crag and tell him what's up. Tell him you think he's a danger to himself and to you, and you're not tying in with him until and unless he takes a look at that shit. If he's still full of bravado, get far away from him. For what it's worth, I've done the same thing with a partner before.


Winemaker


May 3, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for the post; it is his lack of self criticality and bravado that bothers me the most. I'm open to correction and criticism as I am aware that I am a newbie and I want to be safe and learn. I'll have that conversation with him.


billcoe_


May 15, 2013, 12:19 PM
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Re: [Winemaker] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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Winemaker wrote:
My climbing 'partner' is worrying me. When we first started climbing together (newbie here obviously) he had lots of stories, lots of gear, and lots of advice. On one of our first climbs he was leading to set a top rope; one of his cams fell out - and I do mean fell out. I tried to talk to him about it later but he brushed me off. Last month we climbed bolted routes but he hesitated to lead a 5.6 so I led the climb (my first lead). We were using my grigri for belay and although I know he has had one for a while (I saw it last year) we had until now belayed with an ATC. Long story short, he didn't know how to lower with a grigri - he asked me after I was down how you kept your brake hand from overheating when lowering. Turns out he was lowering me by fully releasing the lever and controlling my descent with his brake hand. There have been other little niggly things and I haven't climbed with him since. I wonder if I should dump him as a partner. Honestly, I feel more competent than him and I'm hesitant to go out with him again. Are these incidents a sign?

Yes, they are a sign. You are lucky enough to see them. Move on while you are still alive. You can reconnect with him in a couple of years if he survives his apprenticeship and doesn't quit climbing altogether because he killed some other schmuck. We all need to learn as much as possible and be open to knowledge gathering, even after 40 years, but especially when we are learning and are new to it.


NHtrailblazer


Jun 18, 2013, 6:04 AM
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Dump him! I;ve had a really similar experience with a partner. After a few trips out and him always having to bail and not knowing what he was doing after long stories of success and impressive climbs I realized he just talked a big game. I feel very lucky because he actually caught me in a big lead fall. Find new people to climb with. Its not easy but there are lots of cool people out there to climb with. After dumping my climbing partner I met my new steady partner who is the great!


N_Oo_B


Jun 28, 2013, 11:59 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
And the biggest one, IMO, is just personal connection. Above all, people like climbing with people they LIKE. You spend a long time stuck in the car together, and then hang out together for couple days. It doesn't matter what grade the other guy climbs, if I simply can't stand him.

It's your hobby, and your time. Spend it with friends. True, quality friends who are a pleasure to climb with / around. Sorry but IMO it's easier to find a better climbing partner than to convince somebody to change. I'm really open to climb with a lot of styles / people but some of the poor behavior you've mentioned doesn't sound like a situation I want to be in. "Rope" sounds annoying while the grigri belay sounds downright bullshit. If you don't know how to use gear, don't pretend you do and belay somebody on it.


socalclimber


Jun 29, 2013, 4:25 AM
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Re: [Winemaker] Dump this partner? [In reply to]
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Move on. You are going to encounter all sorts of partners as the years go by. If you're uncomfortable with him, find someone else.

I've had more partners than I can count over the years. This is typical. Find a new partner.

When I first stated out I went out with someone who was telling me of the routes we were going to do. I figured cool, I'm going to learn something today. He bailed on every lead on moderate routes. I ended up having to lead everything despite my total lack of experience.

We didn't climb together again.

Picking partners is every bit a skill as anything else in climbing.

Best of luck! Be safe!


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