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blueeyedclimber


Nov 21, 2013, 7:47 AM
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What Not to Say
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First, I have to say that this is my first new thread in quite some time. Maybe, I'm optimistic about the new owner. Maybe, I am encouraged by the discussion in his thread. Or maybe, I'm just really really bored.

Anywho, since discussion is hard to come by these days, I thought I would give some people advice on what not to say in any disagreement or climbing discussion.

Last night, while climbing at the local gym, I overheard an argument. I turned around out of pure curiosity. One climber had set up his belay and the other two were questioning it, saying it was set up wrong. I looked and he had it upside down so that the brake strand was on the top. Now, in reality, it's not really a safety concern because he will just end up twisting it into the correct position and will still be able to catch a falling climber. BUT....I just leaned over and politely said that they were right and explained why. I was not condescending at all.

He then proceeded to turn back towards his partners and rant about how he had been climbing for 20 years and every climbing course that he's taken has taught this method. It was immediately apparent that he would not listen so I just turned away and proceeded to climb.

So, here is how NOT to win a climbing disagreement.

1. "I've been climbing for X amount of years!" It makes you sound stubborn, defensive, and without a willingness to learn. Whether X=6 months or X=20 years, it doesn't matter. It sounds the same.

2. "This is what my climbing instructor taught me." Just like there are poor plumbers, electricians, and doctors, there are poor climbing instructors.

3. "I've been doing it this way for X amount of years, and I'm not dead yet." News flash: you're not dead until you're dead. I can smoke for many years or drive like a maniac for many years. That doesn't make either of them right.

Climbing is like politics sometimes. You are so busy believing in your own dogma, that you cannot even begin to think critically for yourself. All I really had to do with this guy was to consult either a belay device or a harness instruction manual. But, since he was not in any danger (at least not last night) and I didn't feel he would listen anyways, I backed away. It wasn't really worth it.

Josh


blueeyedclimber


Nov 21, 2013, 1:37 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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Wow. Crickets.

Is anybody out there?


lena_chita
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Nov 21, 2013, 1:42 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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I started responding, and then got busy. :)

But yes, I agree, and a lot of people would, too.

My "favorite" response to my polite suggestion to adjust the harness, given to a woman at the gym who had her harness sitting on her hips, well below her pelvic bones: But I don't LIKE belts on my waist!

I told her she would like flipping over even less, but she wasn't convinced.


curt


Nov 21, 2013, 2:04 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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Yeah, getting involved in something like that is always a tough decision. I generally don't say anything to anyone anymore--unless what they are doing is demonstrably dangerous. I did stop a belayer out at Joshua Tree last year and point out that she had her Gri-gri threaded backwards.

Curt


Fred20


Nov 21, 2013, 3:06 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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You never know how someone is going to respond until you point it out. If I had done that accidentally I would have thanked you.

To me it's good to be vigilant. A lady I met asked to join in with my friend and she only tied in w/ her bottom loop and forgot the top...mistakes happen, that's why it's good to double check knots/biners.

Uou don't know how someone will respond to your help until you engage them unfortunately.

At least you tried. +1


shockabuku


Nov 21, 2013, 9:08 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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Yeah, people are stupid; unfortunately we're all people.

I tend to follow Curt's approach of only getting involved when it's a genuine safety hazard OR when people seem to be actually interested in learning.

Otherwise I just quietly make fun of them with my partner and make myself feel superior.

Because that's rewarding too.Wink


JAB


Nov 22, 2013, 12:58 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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I actually think the reason many get defensive and start arguing is that they simply do not understand what the problem is. If brake strand on top looks exactly like brake strand on bottom, or if a backclipped draw looks just like a correctly clipped draw, it's hard to understand what exactly the problem is. Now, a perfect human would say "I'm sorry, I don't understand how your setup is different from what I have now, could you please give me 5-10 minutes to try for myself so I realise how they differ and why your solution is better". In reality, you don't want to lose face (as you are supposed to know this stuff, having taken a course and everything), so you start arguing.

Still, I think a lot of people will start thinking, and when they get home, test it in their own privacy, maybe google a bit, and then actually learn!

So I would say that even though the first reaction often is defensive and arguing, the end result will still often be good.


(This post was edited by JAB on Nov 22, 2013, 12:58 AM)


blueeyedclimber


Nov 22, 2013, 8:25 AM
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Re: [JAB] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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JAB wrote:
Still, I think a lot of people will start thinking, and when they get home, test it in their own privacy, maybe google a bit, and then actually learn!

So I would say that even though the first reaction often is defensive and arguing, the end result will still often be good.

I hope you are right about this, and I suspect that is often the case. But, some people just don't learn very well. I have climbing friends who I love dearly, but do not analyze or self reflect very well, and therefore have not progressed very far.

Josh


Mark_Hudon


Nov 24, 2013, 8:51 AM
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Re: [shockabuku] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Yeah, people are stupid; unfortunately we're all people.
Ha! Excellent!

In reply to:
I tend to follow Curt's approach of only getting involved when it's a genuine safety hazard OR when people seem to be actually interested in learning.
My approach also.


stagg54


Nov 25, 2013, 4:42 AM
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Re: [Mark_Hudon] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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It's all in the approach.

Once at the New I ran into a couple who had setup a single anchor at the top of a climb with a tree about half the size of my wrist that was hanging over the cliff and not well-rooted at all. They used a single sling girthhitched with a single non-locker. My friend and I both looked at each other.

I walked up to the and said "Oh I have never seen you here before are you guys new to this?" They said "Oh yeah this is only our second time climbing outside. We own a gym in ____, OH". I said "Oh I don't what you guys use for anchors in your gym, but I have to say that tree looks a little suspect." They asked "What would you suggest?" At that point I pointed out the 2 bomber brand new bolts right next to the "tree" in question.

They took it very well.

I think the keys are:
Don't start off confrontational - maybe a little small talk first.
Don't just say they're doing it wrong, explain why and suggest a better solution.

If you do that, I think most people will listen.


blueeyedclimber


Nov 25, 2013, 5:32 AM
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Re: [stagg54] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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stagg54 wrote:
It's all in the approach.

I agree.

In reply to:
I think the keys are:
Don't start off confrontational - maybe a little small talk first.
Don't just say they're doing it wrong, explain why and suggest a better solution.

If you do that, I think most people will listen.

While I wasn't confrontational, I DID call him out a little in front of his friends. Maybe he was embarrassed and wanted to save a little face. But, in "20 Years" of climbing, you would think that somewhere along the line he would have learned how to feed the rope through a belay device. Just sayin'

Josh


Partner cracklover


Nov 25, 2013, 8:11 AM
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Re: [JAB] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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JAB wrote:
I actually think the reason many get defensive and start arguing is that they simply do not understand what the problem is. If brake strand on top looks exactly like brake strand on bottom, or if a backclipped draw looks just like a correctly clipped draw, it's hard to understand what exactly the problem is. Now, a perfect human would say "I'm sorry, I don't understand how your setup is different from what I have now, could you please give me 5-10 minutes to try for myself so I realise how they differ and why your solution is better". In reality, you don't want to lose face (as you are supposed to know this stuff, having taken a course and everything), so you start arguing.

Still, I think a lot of people will start thinking, and when they get home, test it in their own privacy, maybe google a bit, and then actually learn!

So I would say that even though the first reaction often is defensive and arguing, the end result will still often be good.

This was me once. When I was a n00b (I think I'd been climbing around three years) I took my first trip to Yosemite. I had a guy who refused to climb with me the way I was belaying. I used what was one of the standard methods at the time, but he pointed out a problem with it, and showed me a better variation. He said he'd prefer if I used his method while we were climbing together. Me, being a relative n00b, of course I got defensive, and threw out some of those same defensive arguments mentioned in the OP. But I really had little option but to comply or go bouldering, since he was being kind enough to climb with me, and I didn't lead climb.

Over the next several years, I paid close attention to how people around me were belaying, and over the course of that time, I spotted three accidents caused (in part) by the precise issue the guy in Yosemite had pointed out with my original variation of belay technique.

The person who taught me to climb was a good teacher. And the method he taught me to belay was fine. It can be perfectly safe. But there was a better way, and I was (eventually) grateful to the guy in Yosemite for showing it to me!

That was with an ATC. Ten years later I learned a better belay method with the Gri-Gri than the method I was using. That time, I was not defensive at all. I knew the method I was using was safe and effective, but after thinking about it, I could immediately see that the new method being shown to me was better. It still took me a little while to get as good (and then, eventually, better) at using the new method. But switching was worth it, and I recognized that fact with no drama necessary.

GO


ClimbClimb


Dec 1, 2013, 6:54 PM
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Re: [cracklover] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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I think it's pretty natural for all of us to get defensive, and there are so many suggestions flying around in an average gym that you don't necessarily want to take every one of them seriously. The right, friendly, "small-talk" approach helps.

cracklover wrote:
The person who taught me to climb was a good teacher. And the method he taught me to belay was fine. It can be perfectly safe. But there was a better way, and I was (eventually) grateful to the guy in Yosemite for showing it to me!
GO

Good for you -- but now -- not to derail this discussion, I'm curious? Is there a prior post explaining the less-good and the more-good method?


kennoyce


Dec 2, 2013, 7:27 AM
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Re: [ClimbClimb] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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ClimbClimb wrote:
I think it's pretty natural for all of us to get defensive, and there are so many suggestions flying around in an average gym that you don't necessarily want to take every one of them seriously. The right, friendly, "small-talk" approach helps.

cracklover wrote:
The person who taught me to climb was a good teacher. And the method he taught me to belay was fine. It can be perfectly safe. But there was a better way, and I was (eventually) grateful to the guy in Yosemite for showing it to me!
GO

Good for you -- but now -- not to derail this discussion, I'm curious? Is there a prior post explaining the less-good and the more-good method?

I'm going to venture a guess that the less good method is the pinch and slide method that is still being held over from the munter belay days and the more good method is the PBUS method.


Partner Jeff
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Dec 2, 2013, 9:32 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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Yeah--I don't really get it when folks get defensive when something is thoughtfully pointed out as incorrect and when the person pointing it out obviously isn't trying to make them look bad.

I learned to climb through a Mountaineers climbing course and a good number of the volunteer instructors weren't that great of rock climbers. Many preferred glacier climbing or weren't in that great of shape--they could hike a long ways with a heavy pack but not a lot more. But they were incredibly knowledgable about gear and equipment safety (many worked in mountain S&R).

I guess it just taught me to get comfortable asking for help from anyone regardless of their ability. For example, there were a couple of older ladies who could barely make it up a 5.7 but they understood the physics of anchor placement better than 99% of folks.


(This post was edited by Jeff on Dec 2, 2013, 9:32 PM)


Partner cracklover


Dec 3, 2013, 8:09 AM
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Re: [kennoyce] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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kennoyce wrote:
ClimbClimb wrote:
I think it's pretty natural for all of us to get defensive, and there are so many suggestions flying around in an average gym that you don't necessarily want to take every one of them seriously. The right, friendly, "small-talk" approach helps.

cracklover wrote:
The person who taught me to climb was a good teacher. And the method he taught me to belay was fine. It can be perfectly safe. But there was a better way, and I was (eventually) grateful to the guy in Yosemite for showing it to me!
GO

Good for you -- but now -- not to derail this discussion, I'm curious? Is there a prior post explaining the less-good and the more-good method?

I'm going to venture a guess that the less good method is the pinch and slide method that is still being held over from the munter belay days and the more good method is the PBUS method.

Close, but nope. Two different versions of PAS.

GO


moose_droppings


Dec 3, 2013, 8:13 PM
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I one starred you as a welcome to the boards good will gesture, seemed like the appropriate thing to do.



Welcome.
Tongue


Partner Jeff
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Dec 3, 2013, 8:38 PM
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In reply to:
I one starred you as a welcome to the boards good will gesture, seemed like the appropriate thing to do.

Love you too moose_droppings. Although I am curious where in South Dakota you climb... I spent 6 summers in North Dakota, and the ranch where I worked had the highest hill for miles and miles around, which was nothing more than a 200 foot tall pile of dirt. You could onsight it in 2 mins if you hustled.


(This post was edited by Jeff on Dec 3, 2013, 9:29 PM)


billcoe_


Dec 3, 2013, 9:24 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] What Not to Say [In reply to]
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New owner WTF? I take an afternoon nap and the world changes.

well....
Welcome to the site new owner(s) .....Let us know if you need anything and in return we'll tell you what you are doing wrong and we'll argue over that till you are sick of us.

hmm, bad approach that, I'm gonna get banned now. crap.

blueeyedclimber wrote:
First, I have to say that this is my first new thread in quite some time. Maybe, I'm optimistic about the new owner. Maybe, I am encouraged by the discussion in his thread. Or maybe, I'm just really really bored.

Anywho, since discussion is hard to come by these days, I thought I would give some people advice on what not to say in any disagreement or climbing discussion.

Last night, while climbing at the local gym, I overheard an argument. I turned around out of pure curiosity. One climber had set up his belay and the other two were questioning it, saying it was set up wrong. I looked and he had it upside down so that the brake strand was on the top. Now, in reality, it's not really a safety concern because he will just end up twisting it into the correct position and will still be able to catch a falling climber. BUT....I just leaned over and politely said that they were right and explained why. I was not condescending at all.

He then proceeded to turn back towards his partners and rant about how he had been climbing for 20 years and every climbing course that he's taken has taught this method. It was immediately apparent that he would not listen so I just turned away and proceeded to climb.

So, here is how NOT to win a climbing disagreement.

1. "I've been climbing for X amount of years!" It makes you sound stubborn, defensive, and without a willingness to learn. Whether X=6 months or X=20 years, it doesn't matter. It sounds the same.

2. "This is what my climbing instructor taught me." Just like there are poor plumbers, electricians, and doctors, there are poor climbing instructors.

3. "I've been doing it this way for X amount of years, and I'm not dead yet." News flash: you're not dead until you're dead. I can smoke for many years or drive like a maniac for many years. That doesn't make either of them right.

Climbing is like politics sometimes. You are so busy believing in your own dogma, that you cannot even begin to think critically for yourself. All I really had to do with this guy was to consult either a belay device or a harness instruction manual. But, since he was not in any danger (at least not last night) and I didn't feel he would listen anyways, I backed away. It wasn't really worth it.

Josh


jorgegonzalez


Dec 3, 2013, 9:26 PM
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I agree with Curt's observations above. Nowadays I always proceed with my advice by asking first if they are open to suggestions. If they look at me cross-eyed I just say no problem and walk away.

However, younger climbers who really want to learn will accept my offer and maybe even venture a question or two.

I have learned over time I can't deal with the posing.


moose_droppings


Dec 3, 2013, 11:02 PM
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North Dakota in the winter has snow drifts higher then that hill your talking about.
BTW, didn't we lose ND on a bet to Canada? Maybe we won the bet and lost it, can't remember for sure.

I climb all through the Black Hills, mostly aid anymore since my back injury.


USnavy


Dec 4, 2013, 4:33 AM
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Jeff wrote:
In reply to:
I one starred you as a welcome to the boards good will gesture, seemed like the appropriate thing to do.

Love you too moose_droppings. Although I am curious where in South Dakota you climb... I spent 6 summers in North Dakota, and the ranch where I worked had the highest hill for miles and miles around, which was nothing more than a 200 foot tall pile of dirt. You could onsight it in 2 mins if you hustled.
South Dakota has some of the most amazing climbing that no one ever visits. The limesone cliffs there are comparable to Ten Sleep, just not as populous. North Dakota has a few chossy sandstone routes out west by Medora, but aside from that, ND has ZERO climbing.


dagibbs


Dec 4, 2013, 6:28 AM
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moose_droppings wrote:
North Dakota in the winter has snow drifts higher then that hill your talking about.
BTW, didn't we lose ND on a bet to Canada? Maybe we won the bet and lost it, can't remember for sure.

No, you lost the bet, and got North Dakota.


rocknice2


Dec 4, 2013, 6:44 AM
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Jeff wrote:
In reply to:
I one starred you as a welcome to the boards good will gesture, seemed like the appropriate thing to do.

Love you too moose_droppings. Although I am curious where in South Dakota you climb... I spent 6 summers in North Dakota, and the ranch where I worked had the highest hill for miles and miles around, which was nothing more than a 200 foot tall pile of dirt. You could onsight it in 2 mins if you hustled.

Snap


granite_grrl


Dec 4, 2013, 7:08 AM
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USnavy wrote:
Jeff wrote:
In reply to:
I one starred you as a welcome to the boards good will gesture, seemed like the appropriate thing to do.

Love you too moose_droppings. Although I am curious where in South Dakota you climb... I spent 6 summers in North Dakota, and the ranch where I worked had the highest hill for miles and miles around, which was nothing more than a 200 foot tall pile of dirt. You could onsight it in 2 mins if you hustled.
South Dakota has some of the most amazing climbing that no one ever visits. The limesone cliffs there are comparable to Ten Sleep, just not as populous. North Dakota has a few chossy sandstone routes out west by Medora, but aside from that, ND has ZERO climbing.
People from Minnesota visit the Black Hills, but other than that it stays pretty quiet.

I can't believe you're only talking about the limestone there when the main attraction are the granite spires. Pretty rad stuff.

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