Forums: Climbing Information: Beginners:
Joining Climbers at a Crag
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Beginners

Premier Sponsor:

 


alon.albert


Jun 6, 2014, 9:59 AM
Post #1 of 10 (1204 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 18, 2014
Posts: 3

Joining Climbers at a Crag
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey guys

I'm a beginner climber, several months in. I climb at a gym 2-3 times a week. Bouldering and TR

I can onsight V1 problems and solve some V2's. On TR, I can onsight 10a & some bs. I've climbed outdoors a couple of times, 5.9 & 5.10. No lead experience except I once belayed a leader after he gave me a crash course at the crag.

That's my background, here's my question:
I'm going on a long road trip around the US in a couple weeks. The trip includes some very nice climbing locations and I'd hate to not get the opportunity to climb.

Is it common/acceptable for a solo climber to join a group or a pair at the crag? Even if the solo climber has no lead experience? Is there some etiquette involved?

How about equipment? I figure I should have at least:
Harness
Shoes
Helmet
Belay system
Personal Anchor System

Anything else?

Thanks.


kennoyce


Jun 6, 2014, 10:04 AM
Post #2 of 10 (1202 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2001
Posts: 1314

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

alon.albert wrote:
Is it common/acceptable for a solo climber to join a group or a pair at the crag? Even if the solo climber has no lead experience? Is there some etiquette involved?

Yes, it is very common/acceptable, just make sure that they know your experience level up front. As far as etiquette is concerned, just make sure that you are nice and appreciative for them letting you join up. Also, if someone doesn't want you to join, be polite about it, obviously no one is required to let you join them, so just be appreciative and move on.


dagibbs


Jun 6, 2014, 10:11 AM
Post #3 of 10 (1197 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2007
Posts: 891

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

It will vary from place to place, crag to crag. Often joining a group will be easier than joining a pair. It is easier to join at a cragging location, rather than for multi-pitch climbing.

Also, it is worth looking for local forums and asking around there.

Beyond what you have listed as your gear, it would be nice if you had your own rope & anchor gear so that some of the climbing wear would be put on your equipment, rather than all on someone else's equipment.


granite_grrl


Jun 6, 2014, 10:40 AM
Post #4 of 10 (1184 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2002
Posts: 14827

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

I've done quite well just showing up at the crag and joining another party. I have always targeted groups of three or odd numbered groups.

I think that your lack of experience will be a bit of an issue, but you may be okay depending on the area you're going to an who you target (ie - look for group who are already top roping).

Just remember that you are joining their group. Approach them by offering a belay, rather than asking for one.

Good luck!


lena_chita
Moderator

Jun 6, 2014, 11:22 AM
Post #5 of 10 (1165 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 27, 2006
Posts: 5750

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

 As others have said, it is is common and acceptable, but YMMV. Lack of experience is definitely going to be an issue and the reason why a lot of people would decline.

Some things to keep in mind:


-- you should do some research ahead of time to find out which specific crags at your destinations of choice have a days' worth of climbs in your grade range. You will have much better luck finding partners that match your needs at those crags.

-- if you don't find a group at the campground in the morning, it is still worth it to go directly to the crag of your choice, and try to find a group there.

--be nice. The request to join the group shouldn't be the first thing that comes out of your mouth, if you show up at a crag and see a likely group, or if you are hanging out at a climbers campground. A bit of small talk first helps.

--once you do come around to asking to join the group, you should be upfront about your lack of experience and specific about it. For example, unless you say otherwise, most people will assume that you can lead climb, if you are a solo climber asking to join their group, because most solo climbers in your situations can.

--don't just leave at the end of the day. Offer to buy beer, carry the gear out, if applicable, and otherwise thank the people.


skelldify


Jun 6, 2014, 12:13 PM
Post #6 of 10 (1146 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 20, 2013
Posts: 80

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

Showing up and expecting to find a partner(s) is just a bad plan in so many ways.

I wouldn't ever expect to walk up to a crag and join people. Most climbers show up at a crag with an agenda, and it doesn't involve someone they don't know joining their pair/group unexpectedly.

At your experience level, it's going to be even more difficult. Being a confident leader, and lead belayer, is an absolute necessity if you expect other people to trust you. Also, you're not experienced enough to know if the person who will be setting ropes for you is trustworthy.

If you walked up to me at a crag, I'd have to turn you down. Sorry, you're just not experienced enough for me to trust you, and I'm not going to set top-ropes all day for someone I don't know who can't even belay me to set them up.

Sorry for being short, but you need to realize that you're going to be asking an awful lot from someone you don't know.


(This post was edited by skelldify on Jun 6, 2014, 12:31 PM)


dagibbs


Jun 6, 2014, 12:31 PM
Post #7 of 10 (1125 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2007
Posts: 891

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

Another thought, triggered by skelldify's comment about having "an agenda".

You may, actually, find it easier to join/climb with a group if you show up at a locals crag, rather than a destination crag. By that, I mean if people are out climbing at their local crag, they're less likely to have a plan for what they want/need to get on, they've likely already climbed a lot of the lines, and they may have an interest in showing a traveler around their local crag. I found, for example, that was the attitude at the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin -- I asked on local forums, and was told... just show up. There were top-ropes hanging on various routes, there were people hanging around... someone would ask for a catch, someone else would step up and belay them.

But, if someone is on vacation at, say, Red Rocks they'll likely have a plan, be wanting to climb with the people they traveled with, and be looking to get on new/different/stuff they don't normally climb on.

I can even say that specifically applies to me -- if I'm out on a climbing trip, I've got stuff I want to do. But if you ran in to me at the local crag that I hit every weekend, I'm far more likely to be relaxed about what I get to climb, and when, and be happy to have you jump on a top-rope I've got set up here or there.

So, you may in fact be better off hitting the local crags, not the destination crags.

Whereas at a destination location -- maybe hit up the usual climbers' hangouts (campgrounds, eatery, etc) and look for a group, or another solo climber, before getting to the crag, as lena_chita suggested.


jorgegonzalez


Jun 6, 2014, 2:39 PM
Post #8 of 10 (1092 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 17, 2005
Posts: 140

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

As you can see from the variety of responses here, no one can really say what you should expect if you just walk up on a group, but I share in the opinion that you might encounter resistance because of the nature of our high risk sport. I have encountered people from both sides of the spectrum, the kind welcoming embracing types, and the tight lipped don't have time to talk to a noobie types.

But if you check out this and other climbing sites you'll find a lot of people plan in advance where they intend (or hope) to be at a particular time and post a thread looking for partners. Be honest and forthright. A little advance notice not in person might go a long ways toward finding people that like being ambassadors for their sport and their local crag.

Sounds like a great adventure both in climbing and in socialization.


jcarbelo


Jun 7, 2014, 6:58 PM
Post #9 of 10 (996 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 4

Re: [alon.albert] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I climb with random people on occasion, and i'm always willing to have people tag along that are wanting to get out. Offering what gear and experience you have is good.(Everyone has to start somewhere) Knowing your limits is most definitely a good thing to stay safe. I also find that when I climb with other people, I can jump on some harder climbs that I usually would not risk doing as to not lose my gear.(I try not to stay on a climb if i'm struggling too much, as to not take away from their climbing time) Remember, your a guest. Use good judgement when climbing with strangers and make sure they aren't talking out their rear end.

Being as you are just starting out, I concur with everyone's thoughts. It may be a bit rough, but there are always accepting climbers out there. Generally the ones that you want to climb with are willing to share experiences and help you along your way.


(This post was edited by jcarbelo on Jun 7, 2014, 7:11 PM)


jcarbelo


Jun 7, 2014, 7:24 PM
Post #10 of 10 (987 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 4

Re: [skelldify] Joining Climbers at a Crag [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

The risk is high, but if you have multiple people, you can always do a fireman's belay to teach them and monitor someone that is an alien to you.


Forums : Climbing Information : Beginners

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook