For those of you living in the metro-Boston area, I thought that I would recount this anecdote based on events that transpired this past weekend.
My girlfriend and I met some friends out at College Rock on Sunday morning and decided to stop by Hammond Pond on the way home so that she could do some mock leading on some easy climbs while on TR at the same time.
We parked in the lot and walked into the woods to the base of the main wall (this is a 25 - 30 foot cliff) by the pond. I walked to the top to set up the TR and saw another group of three climbers setting up. We exchanged greetings and they seemed friendly. One guy was obviously teaching his two friends how to rappel and climb on toprope and seemed to be doing OK.
I dropped my TR and let my girlfriend climb the 5.6 on TR before her mock lead and check out opportunities for placing gear.
Two guys moseyed up to the wall, coming out of the woods. They walked down to the other party of three, who were all now down at the base of the wall. The guy in the baseball cap asked the guy who had set up the TR, "Hey can I climb up on your rope?"
The guy asked him "What do you mean?"
He replied "I just want to climb up the cliff and I'll wrap the rope around my arm while I climb." He was wearing tennis shoes and was talking about basically soloing a 30 foot 5.6 climb with the TR wrapped around his right arm. Definitely not a standard climbing technique. He had no idea what he was doing.
The guy who had set up the TR goes "OK. I've got my cell phone here so I can call 911." and the guy wraps both ropes around his right arm and approaches the wall.
Now, I'm standing here in a state of complete disbelief. I don't want to see the guy who stepped out of the woods (and who was probably high or something) go splat, but this idiot is about to let him use his TR and has his cell phone handy to call 911.
I address both of them "Guys, this is a bad idea." and the guy with the rope around his arm "You know you can get really hurt falling from as little as ten feet." No reaction at all.
So I tell the guy who owns the rope, appealing to his sense of self interest as he obviously has no care for the well-being of this other idiot, "I'm not trying to be an asshole, but I wouldn't let him climb on my rope without a harness and a belay. Number one, he could get really hurt. Number two, you might incur some liability."
Woah. That had some impact and he told the guy it was not OK to use his rope in the manner suggested.