Author Topic: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?  (Read 1204 times)

Offline SA

  • NEClimbs Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 346
Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« on: August 22, 2013, 11:54:25 AM »
I've been climbing close to 50 years and only once before did I ever give some cautious advice to a young climber.
I usually keep my mouth shut, but a few days ago, I felt strongly compelled to speak my mind, rather than feel haunted later that I never spoke up.

I was returning from the Tetons/Wind Rivers, with a few other guys, also from N.H., driving down thru Logan canyon. We decided to stop by a roadside sport climbing area to take a look. My 2 partners jumped on a climb and didn't view the scary scene which was about to take place in front of me.

This guy was just starting up a bolted sport climb, and seemed to be in a great hurry to get going, while his 2 son's, perhaps around 10 years old watched. The guy was belayed by another climber, who definitely had more experience, as I had previously watched him lead another climb with some good technique.

As the guy started up, I immediately surmised that he was in way over his head, climbing with VERY poor technique. The bolts ran in a straight line, but this guy went way off to the left, after clipping the first bolt.

He told his partner that he couldn't go any higher and that he was going to fall. His partner suggested that he down climb, but soon after, he came off taking a pretty wild whipper.

I assumed the guy would access the situation and compose himself after his close call; but instead, he kind of threw himself back onto the climb with wild abandon. His kids didn't seem to be bothered as they scampered around at the base.

I was pretty horrified as I continued to watch him lead past his only bolt, failing to clip the next bolt, since he stupidly didn't even check to see how many quick draws were on his harness before launching off.

He yelled down to his partner to throw him some quick draws as he barely hung on. He then climbed way right of the route, with much difficulty, missing the needed bolts for pro. I almost couldn't watch the scene as he
was level with the chain anchors, but too far right to reach them easily.

He then yelled down that he was holding a rock with his foot which he had dislodged, and to get clear. His son's and friends ran for cover, and somehow he reached the chain anchors, still not clipping in. I wasn't really worried about the 50 pound rock, which came crashing down, but more concerned that he still hadn't clipped in. He was far enough above the last bolt that he would of hit the deck, 70 feet below, if he had come off.

I had never seen such a display of poor leading and felt strongly compelled
to give some cautionary advice, especially since this guy had 2 young boys.

Instead of approaching the leader, I waited till his belayer was alone, with nobody around.

I asked him if he knew his partner well. He told me that it was his brother. I then explained to him, without trying to spray, that I had many years of experience, and had never scene such a display of careless leading. This was different than other occasions, where you might see a climber in over his head, but at least clipping the pro. and maybe hanging some.
  This guy appeared to be clueless that he might die!

I explained to him that I was only concerned for his brother's safety and that if he continued in this manner, he would most likely get killed, leaving his kid's fatherless, and to "tone it back a bit".

He seemed to be a bit irritated, and asked me what I meant by " tone it back". I explained that I felt his brother needed to be more cautious and gain experience in a slightly less aggressive nature.

Rather than say more, I ended the conversation.

A little while later, my friends climbed a hard 5.11, on sight, while they watched. The guy I gave the cautionary talk to seemed to warm up a little, after the display of fine leading by my partners.

We left soon afterwards, for our flight out of Salt Lake.

I realize that I might of approached the brother of the guy leading in a different manner, but I was pretty perturbed watching this, as I have NEVER seen anything quite like it before. Since I'm not only a father but a grandfather now,
I was looking at this from a different perspective, than perhaps 40 years ago, where I might of been just as dumb as this leader, on occasion.

I thought sending this message thru the guy's brother, ( the belayer), rather than talking to the leader was prudent since the belayer was obviously more experienced.

Offline DGoguen

  • NEClimbs Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 245
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 12:04:32 PM »
Hey Steve

Sounds to me like you were incredibly restrained and spot on.
Not sure if I could have been so diplomatic, good for you.
Don't Climb

Offline strandman

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Posts: 4713
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 12:05:30 PM »
I think a good job Steve....the belayer shouldn't have let out more rope !!!!

it's better to say something and get some shit for it IMO...Dead or worse father, guilt stricken brother,,, closed area....AND then the kids

People don't think climbing is dangerous anymore

Offline SA

  • NEClimbs Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 346
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 12:13:02 PM »
I posted this over on S.T. first. Most felt it was better to speak up, than keep quiet.

You had to have seen this epic to fully understand the situation.

The leader also had a huge pit bull there, but I really didn't think about that till posting this. In hindsight, I'm glad that I spoke to the belayer. ha, ha.


Offline tradmanclimbz

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Posts: 3891
  • Nick Goldsmith
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 12:59:03 PM »
It's all in the delivery. sounds like you did ok.

Offline David_G48

  • NEClimbs Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 224
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 12:59:54 PM »
Steve
How could you give such damaging advice about our sport. I guess you just didn't know how overcrowded the craigs have been getting. You had a chance to cull a weak one from the herd and you blew it!
Seriously, you were absolutely correct to say something.
David

darwined

  • Guest
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2013, 01:22:05 PM »
I think what you did was really admirable.  I appreciate any advice an experienced climber is willing to offer.  Nine times out of ten listening makes me a better climber.

Kudos SA!

Offline DGoguen

  • NEClimbs Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 245
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2013, 02:28:08 PM »
It's all in the delivery.
That's so true.

I know with all the variables considered it's impossible to second guess, but your first thought has to be " Dude your a menace to everyone around you"
The next seven seconds are the key. Ha
Sometimes that delay button is just broken.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 02:29:59 PM by DGoguen »
Don't Climb

Offline DGoguen

  • NEClimbs Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 245
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 02:53:39 PM »
People don't think climbing is dangerous anymore
Don't Climb

Offline Admin Al

  • NEClimbs Administrator
  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Posts: 7182
  • Climb 'till your forearms turn to jelly!
    • NEClimbs
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 03:59:35 PM »
I've only said anything twice in all the years I've been climbing. both times I was very restrained and low key, and both times I was met with major resistance.
Al Hospers
____________________________________
my music
 https://www.facebook.com/BlackMountainRamblers

web hosting, design and software programming:
 http://www.cambersoft.com

Offline steve weitzler

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Posts: 447
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2013, 05:11:44 PM »
I don't give advice anymore. I just walk away as I don't want to be part of any rescue due to stupidity!!

DLottmann

  • Guest
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2013, 05:57:48 PM »
I think your reaction was spot on.

I think there is something wrong with seeing an obvious deadly situation approaching and NOT saying something.

We gots to look out for each other yo'.

But the key is in the delivery.

Offline eyebolter

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 07:53:31 PM »
Sounds like you did well.  I've said things many times.  Most were ill received, but a few were fine and interested.  You'd feel worse not saying anything if the guy decked and died next time out.

Offline M_Sprague

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2013, 08:10:48 PM »
If you had some video, it could have been an internet sensation.  :P It might be worth following a guy like that around with a GoPro
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is not a path and leave a trail."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline sneoh

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Posts: 2086
Re: Was I wrong in cautioning a noob?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2013, 08:11:32 PM »
SteveA, I applaud your effort, restraint, and generous act of saving a fellow climber.  I am not sure I would be man enough to do the same.  These days, I mostly take the SteveW approach and walk away, when I can.  When I feel like I need to say something, I pick my words carefully and try to strike as conciliatory a tone and be as laid back as possible.  As have been pointed out, the "right" delivery often yields better results but knowing the right tone with strangers is often a guessing game ....

"You have to decide to do a flag, where you can broke your vertebrae or a barn door depending of your pro" - the poster formerly known as Champ