Climbing Ethics -- Etiquette on Passing Parties

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Japhy

Mountain climber
Kathmandu, Nepal
Topic Author's Original Post - May 11, 2010 - 12:13pm PT

What does everyone here believe?

What is the proper courtesy on passing parties on multi-pitch climbs? When is it ok to pass, and when should you wait?

The following threads discuss passing ethics on big walls:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/598749/Big-Wall-Passing-Ethics
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=977195&msg=977195#msg977195

I'm curious to hear if this is any different on multi-pitch, free climbs.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
May 11, 2010 - 12:26pm PT
See Guideline #1 at mtnproject.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Why'djya leave the ketchup on the table?
May 11, 2010 - 12:30pm PT
I won't try to pass a party in route without permission, unless

a. There is an independent bypass (for at least long enough to pull into the lead, but I wouldn't lead directly above another leader unless...)

b. Life threatening situation (lightning, etc)

I've violated my own rule a time or two, typically on climbs like SE Face of Cathedral where a dozen parallel lines all converge to one or two final pitches. So I am guilty of both simul-climbing and soloing above parties that have not explicitly allowed me to do so.

I've bailed off big walls when the slow party in front of us refused to yield.

Guess I am not German enough.

Or something.

DMT
Studly

Trad climber
WA
May 11, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
That are some very entitled indivuals out there that have no respect. I am not talking about somebody like Hans and Yugi blazing thru, but aholes that run over the top of everyone, when everyone else is waiting there place in line due to slower parties ahead.
An example. We had been climbing in Red Rocks for several days, and last day decided to go casual and do Birdland. 5.7 multipitch, crowded Sunday afternoon. Late start and still had to wait to rope up. We followed two chicks up, who were following some other parties, who were following another party...on and on. Plus you rap the route, so its a cluster. Anyway, we are respectful and I hung out on route rather then crowd the ladies at some of the belays. I am just starting up the last pitch, when 2 guys come racing up behind us simo climbing. The guy I am climbing with is a speed climber and holds numerous records, and he says GO! So i take off as the guys pull up along side me as i place a piece of gear in the crack, the guy tries to climb around me to get ahead of me so I speed up. The as#@&%e was going to try to ace me, total dick manueveur. I beat him to the anchors, and he comes up behind me and immediately threads the anchor. I try to be polite, but they are locals and friends of the girls we had been climbing behind, and obviously think they have the right of way and can do as they please. I am polite to him at the time but my buddy is pissed at me for not threading the anchor and lowering off immediately instead of belaying him up, as he does not like to be passed under any circumstance. I guess I have never been in such a circumstance where we were in line and giving the folks ahead of us a berth, and along comes some people that have no respect for other people. I can see true speed climbers passing people on wall routes or when there is a safe way around, but no way were these guys any faster climbers then us and on a crowded route? they obviously felt they were entitled. Get a life loosers. Dude, if you are out there reading this, know that the next time you try and pass me because we are on a trade route and there is crowds holding everyone up, I am going to kick you lilly ass off the rock. Don't friggin do it again. People that try to pass fast competent climbers on multipitch free climbs without permission due to crowds ahead are not only endangering themselves, but they are endangering the people they are passing. ITS NOT COOL AND NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ON MY WATCH AGAIN.
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 11, 2010 - 12:54pm PT
First come, first served. Ask permission if you want to pass. Please is a magic word. But be aware, I got there early so as not to have someone climbing above me.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 11, 2010 - 01:01pm PT
Depends, there is no black and white answers. If you are deathly slow you should defer and let obviously faster teams pass. You shouldn't pass unles you are certain that there is no chance you will bog down and slow up the party that you just passed. Like it or not if you are a complete wanker you are going to get passed at some point so either learn how to move more efficiantly or accept your fate......
Pate

Trad climber
May 11, 2010 - 01:01pm PT
Wow- this again.

The rules on passing parties are:

1) You don't talk about passing parties.

2) You don't talk about passing parties.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
May 11, 2010 - 01:15pm PT
I call Bullshit Pate. I don't even think you climb.
barry ohm

Trad climber
escondido, ca
May 11, 2010 - 01:30pm PT
The number one rule should be if you pass a party with or without asking, You better be able to climb ahead,stay ahead without slowing that party down later.
peace out, Barry O
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 11, 2010 - 01:32pm PT
An honest assessment of your skills as passing and being passed party helps. A passing party should be able pass with authority (meaning quickly and safely).
In every instance that I've ever passed another party, it was a group decision and everyone was happy with it.
Being first on the route gives you no upper hand if you are barely able to climb the route, but being a rock star doesn't give you a god given right to pass either.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 11, 2010 - 01:35pm PT
Only with permission. and My rule is, I'll give them 15 minutes (while I sit on my ass) to get out of my way. If its going to take more time then that they can wait in line (hell, get up early if you don't want to wait your turn). Yea, if I'm on a 5.8 and they are 5.12 climbers , they can probably clear the pitch above in 15 minutes. But more often than not the hot shots (usually in their 20s) promise a quick pass then bog down themselves higher up and I have to wait for them. My daughter and I were once nearly benighted on Royal Arches when some punks passed us as we neared the top - after we asked them not to - then got their rappels messed up trying to rap with one rope. Three parties were bogged down in the dark waiting for them to clear the anchors. Needless to say I didn't give them back their cam they forgot at the belay. lol
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 11, 2010 - 01:45pm PT
DMT, Gary and Rockermike state my basic rule: Only with permission (or if there is an independent line). Mark offers a great analytical framework.

My basic rule used to be analogous to playing through in golf, but with this difference: Allowing a party to pass puts the passed party in greater peril from falling objects. For that reason, I've never felt myself automatically entitled to pass slower parties. I always ask.

John
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 11, 2010 - 01:50pm PT
hard and fast rules? not possible...

etiquette? a social convention most likely varying from culture to culture, in an international destination like Yosemite Valley you'll have every kind of behavior

probably the fundamental rule is not to cause the other party harm, real physical harm, not just pissing them off...

I've climbed through, most recently on Royal Arches with Dirka, where we knew we'd be in a crowd, but simul through the parties low down who were pitching it out, and taking variations that were not populated, we managed to pass everyone that day and tag the top as the first roped team (I assume the solo crew had had it's way with the route earlier, and later). Unfortunately on one pass my rope clipped into one of their pieces, very disturbing to me as it now linked my party with their's, I consider that very bad behavior on my part and something I would avoid in the future.

Was the other party pissed off? I have no idea, we were through so fast that their reaction hadn't made itself apparent to me or Dirka, they may have had a totally harshed mellow... but other than the errant clip, we were very very careful not to drop sh#t down on the lower parties (one of the parties we eventually passed wasn't so careful).

We probably should have been on the climb earlier, we hadn't expected a midweek crush of climbers, blah, blah, blah... on the other hand I thought I knew the route well enough to negotiate around the parties pitching it out, the whole point of the trip was to show Dirka how to get up the thing safely and quickly... which we did.

Other times we just sat and waited, it's good to have a gregarious partner in these cases, one who doesn't mind being social. When I did Nutcracker with Crimpie a few years ago we got into a long wait behind a party with both members wearing packs, the leader with a huge rack, on their first multipitch climb. I'm used to doing this, pitching it out, at about 20 minutes per pitch with Gary late in the day. Fun to be with Crimpie... waiting at the belays for the expedition in front of us to get up the climb. Wonderful September day... golden evening light and that fantastic view up Valley.

Pate

Trad climber
May 11, 2010 - 01:55pm PT
I call Bullshit Pate. I don't even think you climb.

I've said before and I'll say again, I'm a 13 year old Sophomore from Minneapolis and I've never climbed before in my life. If my mom knew I posted on this forum she'd ground me.

I wish I had a girlfriend.


Studly- your name is way homo. And your last post, and most of your others, are wicked retahded.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Full Silos of Iowa
May 11, 2010 - 01:56pm PT
The fact is, it's another art form in the art of climbing. While some will carry out this art very (very, very) well others who follow won't carry it out even a quarter or an eighth as well. This is life.


Pate wrote-
"You don't talk about passing parties."

For those of us new to this discussion, elaborate please.



Studly- Because your case involved females and hormones this automatically made the circumstances explosive and frenzied. Next time, beware females in the mix.

Ed wrote-
"Unfortunately on one pass my rope clipped into one of their pieces..."

Aughh, I hate that! When that happens! LOL!
Pate

Trad climber
May 11, 2010 - 02:08pm PT
HFCS- just a Fight Club reference in response to Studly's mature and well thought out post referencing his recent run in with threatening to toss some guy off a ledge.

Sounds to me like Studly is a little too Studly for his lycra.
Crillz

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 11, 2010 - 02:11pm PT
If we're talking grade III type climbs, what about:

You arrivine at the base of a climb, and there is one (or more) parties taking their time, racking up, people are sitting around, obviously just not busting arss to get going?

I guess the options are:

1. You can wait since you didn't get there first
2. You can ask if you can go first
3. You can climb a different route

I've been on some climbs that should take a few hours that end up taking the whole day because of not pushing the issue to pass.

Binks

climber
Uranus
May 11, 2010 - 02:27pm PT
The rulz are

1) If they are going much faster let them pass
2) If they are going only a little faster or the same speed, no pass.

3) If they are Euro, NEVER let them pass EVER. Those f*#kers should get a life and go home to their over bolted via ferratas where breathing down the ass of others is a apparently an accepted practice.
Colby

Social climber
Ogdenville
May 11, 2010 - 02:54pm PT
Funny how people always talk sht on those who want to pass calling them jerks and slagging on those people's sense of self-entitlement.

Can't you tell that your own sh#t smells just as bad? Isn't the person who won't let others pass just because they were there first and it is their right to stay in front just as self-absorbed? You are just as bad when it comes to being entitled jerks. Come on...

Read Studly's account above. It sounds like a couple people who were fine with going slow and casual, having a nice outing, but sped up intentionly just because they would be buthurt if somebody passed - a blow to their ego.
I speed up. The as#@&%e was going to try to ace me, total dick manueveur... [my friend] does not like to be passed under any circumstance.
You could have just stepped aside for a minute and then resumed climbing at your own pace and continued having fun.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 11, 2010 - 03:04pm PT
Its not "JUST because you are there first", it is "BECAUSE you are there first"; yea, that is the whole point and that is the code. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis - which is why you should ask permission. Everyone has a right to climb at a pace they consider safe. If you can't live with that then get an alarm-clock and get up earlier. And its never "just a minute", when passed you are generally hosed for at least half an hour unless you want to play the "two ropes and two racks stretched out on one pitch" game - which generally is unpleasant for all concerned.
tarallo

Trad climber
italy
May 11, 2010 - 03:28pm PT
binks go to climb in Marmolada and then we see... you are not all croft or alex honnold...
ciao
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
May 11, 2010 - 03:30pm PT
We let a party pass us on the Nose after the first Stoveleg. Then we caught them and passed them at Dolt Tower. Then they passed at night while we were laying around on El Cap Tower after we asked them to not go above us. They bivied at the base of Texas Flake and knocked down all kinds of el crappola on us every time they rolled over, picked through their bags, or breathed.

Next morning I caught them at the top of the Boot Flake. Thankfully I had huge amounts of gas from the can of 'beenie-weenies' eaten during the evening meal prior to our morning rendezvous. I made full use of the extra time it takes to go across the King Swing and the close proximity that is the small ledge at the top of the Boot on two members of that party. And I made no excuese... wait, let me clarify. I took pride in blowing forth the most foul, rancid, moist, noisy farts to ever grace the top of the Boot Flake before the thermal winds picked up. I mean we're talking blue clouds of smoke lingering in a seedy basement bar kind of hanging around. It was pure karma. Skid marks and white painters' pants be damned.
Colby

Social climber
Ogdenville
May 11, 2010 - 03:31pm PT
You're right rockermike, the party passing should be courteous and ask permission. I'm just trying to point out that to those who feel entitled about staying slow in front of an obviously faster party that they should look in the mirror when calling those others jerks. Also, everything is on a case-by-case basis.

As far as getting an alarm clock, I got sour news for ya buddy, sometimes it just ain't that easy. This thread is supposed to be more moderate free climbing centered, but what about routes like the Nose through the months of May and June. It doesn't matter what time you start, you're still going to have to deal with parties. Besides, if the party being passed were truly worried about time and waiting even half an hour to get passed, they wouldn't be moving slow (but I recognize that that isn't always that easy).

As for me, I hate driving down the interstate behind two cars blocking both lanes, driving side-by-side, going the speed limit. Maybe I just should of got on the freeway sooner...
MeatBomb

Gym climber
Boise, I dee Hoe
May 11, 2010 - 03:36pm PT
I ask to pass. You say no. I ask again. You say no because you are scared of rockfall etc with a party above. I say screw it and pass, and knock a rock down that kills you. Who is at fault and what would you do on either side of this question?
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 11, 2010 - 04:22pm PT
What about commercial climbers, who may have greater experience, skill and knowledge, but sometimes also have a greater sense of entitlement?

And what about those who 'camp' in the middle of popular routes, working on 'free' ascents?
Senor Pinche Wey

Big Wall climber
OB
May 11, 2010 - 04:29pm PT
There is passed and then there is just chumped.

I was getting ready to climb Central Pillar one morning (dawn) and a party of three shows up from Canada. One of them says "Hey you left the lights on in your car" I run back down to turn them off (they weren't on) and they jump on the route. It was a good trick. They didn't know how to hand jam and after waiting a while we went and did something else.

It was hard not to snicker at them when they got caught in a thunderstorm later after spending the day getting to the middle of Pitch 3.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 11, 2010 - 07:02pm PT
I guess I'm not very sympathetic to the "you can't pass because I don't want parties above me", at least for climbs like well traveled Yosemite routes. Loose alpine routes might be different, but then again, for many routes in that category you can get around parties by taking variations (its not like you could stop every one on Cathedral peak from climbing just because you got there first).

As far as taking a half hour to pass. I can't remember the last time I passed a party where we didn't simul-climb through. That's not taking a half hour. If I'm not comfortable/fast enough to simul through, I generally won't pass (or will try to wait for an easier pitch where I can).

I don't have a problem with letting a party pass if they are clearly faster. Although in the situation described above, if it is bumper-to-bumper parties, then no, that is not a passing situation (and I generally avoid starting up in that scenerio).

I guess it saves arguments, but I have thought it a little strange that the party that first arrives at the base of a route, is first in line, regardless of how many hours (uh, I mean minutes) it takes before they actually start climbing. But otherwise, I guess you would just clip the rope to a piece 15 feet off the deck and come down "because you forget something".
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
May 12, 2010 - 12:53am PT
I'm just trying to point out that to those who feel entitled about staying slow in front of an obviously faster party that they should look in the mirror when calling those others jerks.

That's nice. It's just that you're wrong...
Josh Nash

Social climber
riverbank ca
May 12, 2010 - 03:39am PT
I'm so glad I climb in uncrowded areas......
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
May 12, 2010 - 04:28am PT
Best answer - go somewhere that has no other people.

We used to say that the density of the crowds in Yosemite decreased with the square of the distance from the road and the cube of the height above the road. Obviously that idea is obsolete.

If Yosemite has become a crowded climbing gym, how about deciding that politeness and good manners trump machismo demonstrations? Or are there now too many rats in the cage to allow civilized social behavior?

I like Walt Whitman's comment that in order for civilization to exist requires a back door to wilderness. And I always thought climbing was supposed to be a wilderness sport.

There is no shortage of rocks in the world. I realize that Becky tried to climb them all, but even he didn't come close. And there's lots more off planet.

I know this wiry old guy named John Young who climbed rocks on the moon. His opinion is that we have to get off this planet in order to save it, and we have to get off fast. I agree.

We just had an astronaut climb Mt Everest. I told him he should try El Capitan next. But I'd really like to see space travel transferred from military test pilots to wilderness adventurers.

We are just now reaching the point where some of this fine adventure spirit can help push exploring off the planet. The big money is still trying to launch motorhome sized spacecraft. It's not nearly so hard to launch something more like a motorcycle with a tent.

Have you ever looked at pictures of Olympus Mons on Mars rising 58,000 ft above the surrounding plains? And the 13,000 foot tall cliffs of the 600 mile long Valles Marineris make Yosemite look like some local practice rocks. And how many pull ups can you do in a gravity field where you weigh 38% as much as on Earth?

Or perhaps you'd rather just hang out with the local crowds...

tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2010 - 09:27am PT
Cannon it seems that often the partys with the earliest start are the slowest. They sleep in the parking lot, wake up at 4,they sign the register as they leave the parking lot at 6am then god only knows what happenes from there. I wake up at 6am leave vt at 7:30 sign the register at 10.:00am take my time racking up at the base of Moby, climb as slow as I can and catch these guys on P3.. they are going to get passed one way or the other. I will be nice about it but it is going to happen. If you are that slow you actually do have an obligation to let a faster party through...
Studly

Trad climber
WA
May 12, 2010 - 09:44am PT
If the route is stacked with people on a moderate multipitch such as Birdland, Olive Oil, etc, it is not ok to climb over the top of everyone. I climb fast, but if I choose to climb a crowded route I accept the fact that I need to get in line. If someone wishes to let me by, thats great. But for others to try and pass me when I am waiting on multiple teams in front of me on while I am on lead, so that if they fall they will strip me off, that is horsesh#t.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2010 - 09:49am PT
I agree. If the whole thing is a conga line then either do something else or be content with the slow pace. If however You are the VW buss that has miles of open road in front of it and a 2 mile logjam behind it, pull into the breakdown lane and eat a ham sandwich.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 12, 2010 - 12:12pm PT
MeatBomb hits the nail on the head.
I got put in a wheelchair by a party that cut ahead of us.

If somebody absolutely refuses to wait and insists on doing something that threatens my life then I believe I have the right of self defense.

Your choice; leaded, or unleaded but with a very shortened rope,....


I'm one person you DON'T want to push by. Be polite to me and I'll be polite to you.



This is becoming a more and more important issue as routes get more crowded. I think it will be eventually addressed with a concept of consensus time "windows", sort of like "par" for the route.
If a party makes decent time then they have the option of denial.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2010 - 01:10pm PT
I totally agree with you on that. If your moveing at a decent pace then the party below can take lunch or whatever to create some space between you and then all is good. If however you are seriously snailing it beyond reasonable then move asside and let the normal climbers play through.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 12, 2010 - 05:58pm PT
I don't disagree with the concept but what is a "normal" or reasonable speed. Lets say you are the highest party on a long moderate route (royal arches, EB middle, etc.), are halfway up the route and expect to finish the route in another 4 to 6 hours (with plenty of daylight) and the party immediately behind you could, if it passed, finish in 1 to 2 hours. Since your speed is not a snail's pace (that would be say 8 to 10 hours and a twilight finish), it's reasonable to not let the party behind pass? I don't think I'm buying that one.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2010 - 06:47pm PT
If you have a 4hr head start on me and I catch you on P3 that is not reasonable. It ain't rocket science.. If the party below gains on you rapidly and makes up several pitches for your one pitch then you should yeild.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
May 12, 2010 - 07:35pm PT
Hi Japhy, what was your rude passing party story?
QITNL

climber
May 12, 2010 - 08:01pm PT
Japhy is the fellow whose partner fell off Serenity Crack last weekend.

From his report:

The only explanation I have for this oversight is distraction and complacency. Brian MAY not have been 100% focused on the task (there were several things going on... party coming behind us and he was excited to take photos of the leader below... a few moments earlier on the last pitch, we were rudely and inconsiderately passed up by a speeding simul-climbing party; this bothered both of us considerably). I am equally guilty of the same distraction and complacency for not having noticed the absence of the backup.

Perhaps that might answer the question.

I was looking up the route the weekend before that and it was a total clusterf*#k at every anchor.

Since I have yet to chime in on the subject: my condolences to Japhy, and Brian's friends and family. Be safe, everyone.
Japhy

Mountain climber
Kathmandu, Nepal
Topic Author's Reply - May 12, 2010 - 08:22pm PT
I was climbing Serenity Crack to Sons of Yesterday with my friend Brian on Friday. We started out at 10 am and topped out at 2:45pm, with a long lunch break at Sunset Ledge at noon.

On the last pitch of Sons of Yesterday, Brian led up. As he starts on the traversing crack, a girl comes up from below me and clips into one of the bolts of the anchor. I greet her, and she continues climbing the crack.

I asked her what she was doing, and she looked at me and plainly said, "I'm going to pass you." I responded and asked if she could wait at the anchors with me until Brian was finished leading the pitch. She refused and continued jamming up the crack.

Shocked that she was being so insistent, I told her "I'm not sure what kind of climbing ethics you observe, but what you're doing is very disrespectful."

She replied, "There is no reason why I shouldn't pass you. People do this all the time over here. Why shouldn't I be allowed to pass?"

At which point, I stumbled around my words defensively and said, "Well... I don't want you to compete with my leader for protection and to climb the ONLY crack on this pitch. Besides, he'll be done very soon."

"Well, then I won't place any protection." And with that, she continued upwards.

As she was just behind Brian, he fell unexpectedly. I caught his fall, and he went down just a foot or so from his last pro (red camalot). This was the first fall of the day, and shocked to find someone right next to him as he falls, he says, "Whoa, what are you doing?!?"

She says, "Dude, you just fell. Now let me pass."

Brian gets very defensive here and asks her to build an anchor right where she is and to wait for us to finish the pitch. Later he tells me how surprised he is that he fell in that spot and that it was totally unexpected (Brian, like me, has only taken 3 falls on gear, and each time, it is completely anticipated as we're pushing our limits; this slip on an easy 5.9 NOT because he was incompetent).

They argue momentarily mid-pitch (I'm not about the exact words). This whole time, the girl does not have a SINGLE piece of protection in the crack, and her last pro is one of the bolts I'm anchored to. She is traversing directly overhead of me, and looking below, there is not a single piece of pro for 30 feet. I understand that the whole upper crack on Sons is a BOMBER hand crack (I ran it out while leading too), but at this point, she is in a position that is endangering my partner and I if she fell.

Brian concedes, and lets her pass after realizing that she was very insistent on overtaking us. For the record, she finishes that whole pitch without a single piece of pro (90 feet).

Brian reaches the ledge at the top of the pitch behind her. The girl's partner arrives at my ledge and is moving swiftly (the two of them are simul-climbing the last two pitches, and are obviously very competent climbers).

I am very upset at this point and tell the guy, "Just so you know, your partner was being very inconsiderate to pass us up without permission. And I don't like that she didn't place any protection on the whole pitch."

He responds, "Well, sorry man... if you get passed up on a freeway, thats just the way it is," and continues climbing. Along the way, he manages to grab one of my quickdraws and racks it up.

When I notice that he has taken one of my draws, I yell up to him. He sheepishly admits that it looks just like his (it did), and clips it to one of our cams in the crack.

I climb up to join Brian. On my way up, I hear the three of them arguing. I have lots of words to say myself about the experience, but before I can say anything, Brian extends a hand out to her and says, "Hey, lets let bygones be bygones. How about we call it and move on."

They shake hands and are almost finished setting up a rappel. As I start spitting out angry words, Brian stops me and asks me to forget about it.

The guy mentions something about how they have "lots more climbing to do for the day," and the two of them disappear on rappel.

Brian and I spent the next 30 minutes atop that ledge talking about the incident. We had a lot to say about it, and decided to post the question up on Supertopo about passing protocol. In fact, our conversation atop the climb was so focused on the passing that we promised to each other that we didn't want to be talking about such a negative topic, and had to shake hands not to talk about it anymore.

Three rappels later, we reached Sunset Ledge.

And yes, this story is about my friend Brian who fell to his death that day.

I am extremely angry, but will refrain from naming any names. The couple who passed us are well known members of the local community.
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
May 12, 2010 - 08:37pm PT
if we are talking about passing on multi pitch climbs, then i can definitely say that i have been an ahole at times, especially on the regular route on fairview. we were working on a personal speed record one summer, and were trying to go sub two hour while pitching out the whole route except for the finish. We tried to go late to avoid crowds, but other, slower parties had the same idea. usually, a "please may we pass", combined with our sheer speed of 10-15 minutes per pitch for the both of us, would get a yes answer. other times, i was verbally denied passage, and passed anyway, with minimal danger or timeloss to the passed party, but really pissing some people off. one thing i do have to say in my defense is that if somebody is climbing the regular route on fairview,...then don't expect to have a wilderness freakin' experience on it. It is super popular every day of the summer, by slow and fast parties, and including free solist. If it is obvious to the party above that with just a few minutes of hanging out at a convenient belay, the super fast people below could zoom on by and everybody's happy.
just because somebody starts out first on a route does not entitle them to lead the entire route and deny passage to faster parties below.
and yes, passing should be done safely, only where reasonable, and preferably with consent.
when we finally climbed the route sub 2 hour, it was in part to finding nobody on the climb. Which brings a self limitation. if there is more than 2 parties below crescent ledge we won't go,...we'll find another climb. because we still like to huck laps on it.
last summer, we abrubtly came to a halt one pitch above crescent by a lady who first words to me were "you're not thinking of passing us are you." well, we both knew i wanted to, but with that vibe, i was stopped dead. she said the party above them was going slow, but they got there first and that gave them the right to stay in the lead. Good grief CHARLIE BROWN! when we got to the tree, that was it, we simuled to the top, past everbody, because you can climb just about anyhere up there with multiple exits. still, the lady seemed pissed off at me even though we took probably 2 extra hours on the climb being patient behind her.
i'm ranting...sorry.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 12, 2010 - 08:47pm PT
everybody carries a knife, right?

so when the speedballs go to rap, wait til the guy is half way down then cut the rope.

i bet they never bother you again.

okie

Trad climber
San Leandro, Ca
May 12, 2010 - 08:50pm PT
Depechez vous! Because... the further you go, the less you know...
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
May 12, 2010 - 09:05pm PT
japhy, wow, that's quite a story, really amazing. so sorry about last weekend. i just want to say that what they did was not cool at all, specifically passing brian while he was on lead on a single crack ststem. i HAVE passed a leader before while leading myself, but only after securing everybody's permission and acceptable comfort levels all around BECAUSE it is so dangerous. and the fact that she had no pro in...jesus christ...that is affecting your experience just way, way to much to be anywhere near cool.

I would like to take this opportunity to say sorry to anybody i pissed off while passing without permision as my above posts mentions. i sure don't do it anymore.

japhy, ehug to you, and i'll sign this with my real name in case you don't know me. sincerely, steve schneider
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 12, 2010 - 09:06pm PT
you know , Hans told us that even while going for a speed record, they stop for about 30 seconds to chat with each party.

so if there were 6 parties that got passed, thats actually a record minus 3 minutes.

so if these guys are polite during a record attempt,

where, on the human ladder of coolness, does that put the jerks who pass?

okie

Trad climber
San Leandro, Ca
May 12, 2010 - 09:44pm PT

Gotta say, this OP is kinda strange...considering the circumstances.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2010 - 09:51pm PT
If you have a 4hr head start on me and I catch you on P3 that is not reasonable. It ain't rocket science.. If the party below gains on you rapidly and makes up several pitches for your one pitch then you should yeild.

Of course everyone should be polite. Being polite counts for both partys. If you are so obviously slower than the party that is obviously overtaking you rapidly then just let your ego have a rest and offer to let them pass.

I have let folks pass a few times. Usualy soloists. I have also had complete tools refuse to even let us clip the bolts at the belay so we could take a break or bail because they were so slow. We eventualy ended up bailing but there was absolutly no reason they would not let Isa at least clip into the anchor and take a break. We were forced to wait at least 2 hrs for the leader to finish the pitch, build anchor and the 2nd to start climbing before we could even get to the belay to rap.. December in N conway on the prow so we froze our butts off. They had a 4hr head start on us and we caught them on the 3rd pitch of the prow. Its tight there and a bad place to pass so we were not even considering passing them. We were very polite but the a holes wouldn't even let Isa clip into the belay.... AAAAARRRRGGGGGGGGG


I have shared dozens of belays over the yars for whatever reason. folks coming up or going down. Always polite and helpfull... This tool was afraid that 3 bolt anchor in solid clean granit would not hold 2 or 3 people? wanted that whole anchor to himself......
Japhy

Mountain climber
Kathmandu, Nepal
Topic Author's Reply - May 12, 2010 - 10:00pm PT
Okie --

Strange? You think this is a strange post?

Yes, thats because I'm trying to make sense of the things that happened that day and I feel like it is important that PEOPLE RESPECT EACH OTHER.

As much as I am annoyed by your attitude, I will say that I wish you well and hope that you never have to go through what I am going through right now.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 12, 2010 - 10:16pm PT
Japphy, get some grief counseling if you can.

this was a tough one, you might overload your circuit breakers if you try to handle it all by yourself.

i hope your living situation is non stressful, doing a stressful job after something like this is a real pain,

remember, everybody goes sooner or later, and there is always someone else involved who could have helped, or prevented,

i lost my best friend a while back, i could have kept him off the bottle, but i gave up. oh well. how will we all go? nobody knows.

auto accidents, murder, war, there is a world full of blues,

and they don't knock , they walk right in.

bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
May 12, 2010 - 10:29pm PT
One real problem with passing parties is if the party attempting to pass you is linking pitches. Last year on the East Buttress of El Cap Clint and I had headlamps so we let a party pass us. But because they were linking pitches it took them *twice* as long to pass us than if they were not linking pitches.

One guideline I would like to propose is that if you are passing a party, don't link the next two pitches so the party you are passing isn't held up for any more time than is necessary.

Bruce
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
May 12, 2010 - 10:42pm PT
It is not rocket science as others have already said. There are probably very few climbers that wont get passed someday. Someday you get passed and someday you pass. Not too hard to figure out that politeness and communication are in order...
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 12, 2010 - 10:44pm PT
what would Jim Bridwell do if somebody tried to pass him?












































nothing.






Bridwell never gets passed.
Bob Fellner

Trad climber
Carrboro, N. Carolina
May 12, 2010 - 10:54pm PT
I'm a gumby so take it for what you will...

No one ever has a right to pass. If I am at the climb first you can go find another place to climb, the world is full of crags.

That said, I have gladly let climbers pass before and had no problem with it as it was my choice, I offered it to them as I saw them coming up on us. But again, it should never be expected.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
May 12, 2010 - 11:46pm PT
For Japhy,

So sorry for Brian. A friend and I became involved with a tragedy on a route independent of ours involving a botched lowering/top rope. It was simply, really bad. Take it easy.

Passing strategy in the dark ages always involved being nice but business like and making sure that if you were going to pass, it was true that you were the real thing.
That meant lining yourself up with timing to get to the comfy ledge at the same time as the forward party's last member. You didn't try it at the sling belay.......

Sounds like the dorks who came upon you simply had Mink coats and no manners. Similar action happened to KAB and me on the most popular climb in Canada.

Get in line was the only reasonable thing as all were doing it efficiently. They pouted but WTF did they expect?

I have big ears, PM me if you wish.

Jim
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2010 - 11:50pm PT
Bob, If you are 3 or 4 pitches up a 10 pitch climb, a party starting the climb should reasonably be assured that they will be able to casually climb without running up your butt. If you are so slow that they inadvertantly catch up to you then it would be very poor form to not offer them the right to pass unless you all were so close to the top as to make no real difference. If lets say you are on P 4 when the party below you starts the climb and you are only on P5 when they catch you then Not letting them pass would be the a hole move of the decade..

I have caught partys on the 3rd pitch of Moby Grape that started the climb 4+ hrs ahead of me. When you start the climb you cant see much from the base of the Buttress. We knew they had signed the register at 6:00am. We left the parking lot at 10:00am, get to the base of the climb, realize that they are still on P 2 or 3 so we chill for an hour and then start casually climbing. Still catch them at the top of P3

It can happen to anyone. I have been setting at the top of P4 and let a guy climb through who was faster than us.
gumbyclimber

climber
May 12, 2010 - 11:56pm PT
There will always be a party faster than you, and there will always be parties slower than you. Therefore, passing is going to happen whether everybody likes it or not. That being said, it's all about the approach of the passing party and the kindness, understanding, and honest assessment of the abilities of all people involved as well as a little give and take ("Maybe you guys wouldn't mind if we snuck past you at the next stance..."). It happens just as often that a party doesn't want to be passed because of an ego problem as it does people choosing to climb jam-packed routes fast because of an ego problem.

Example. Let's say Party B comes screaming up behind Party A and Party A refuses, after being asked nicely, to let them pass. Now Party A is going to have a potentially much faster team nipping at their heels the whole way up the route which could actually contribute more to an accident by making them feel like they have to move faster than they would otherwise be moving.

It is simply not reasonable to say, "We were here first, so F-off." because then every time a team gets in over their head and epics on a route that route is shut down for the rest of the day to everybody else (and maybe the next day too). What if a couple of solid 5.7 leaders are aiding their way up the East Buttress of El Cap? Is everybody else supposed to stack up behind them or just call it a day and rap or walk down before even starting? Does this mean that good climbers can never climb trade routes anymore because they are full of sketchy gumbies who might trundle something on them?

Personally, if I expect to be passing a party I try to let them offer first because it's plainly obvious my team is moving much quicker. The keys here are back in my first paragraph: kindness, understanding, and an honest assessment by everybody of the situation. If you come burning up on somebody's heels and just start chatting with them, asking them where they're from, how their day is going, what other routes they've done lately, what they do when they're not climbing, etc they usually follow up with, "Hey, did you guys want to pass us?". If you come burning up on somebody's heels, clip their anchor, grunt, piss on their shoes, and move on then you deserve all of the hostility you're going to get.

Japhy, the people who passed you were obviously acting like complete jerks. I totally understand your anger [and am feeling it too] and also don't think the anonymity is necessary. If the people are "well known members of the local community" then it means they are acting as representatives of said community [not to mention their sponsors, should they have any] and are supposed to be setting the standard and example of how things should be done and how to treat less experienced climbers. Not putting in any gear when you're passing somebody like that is entirely irresponsible because of exactly what happened; you're soloing under a person of unknown climbing ability and they might fall and take you out and you might in turn take someone else out. At the very least she should have asked if she could clip your gear [benefit of doubt, let's say she was out of gear from simuling]. Aside from that, it's rarely necessary to pass somebody in the last 50 feet of a climb, especially since you guys were obviously not in a hurry to rap first. If somebody is going to act like that then they should be called out on it; otherwise, what motivation is there for people it to not act like that in the future? To let them hide behind Brian's accident isn't fair to you as the one carrying all the emotion around; besides, it sounds like they were probably long gone by the time the accident happened. You should either take it up with them privately and air your grievance, or they should post up here and try to justify their behavior or apologize. I think you deserve, at the very least, that level of compassion, decency, and respect. One way or another, you're going to have to unload the emotions eventually.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 12, 2010 - 11:56pm PT
Unfortunately Mr. Fellner though the world is full of crags sometimes parties get on ultra classics they shouldn't be on. If you are impeding a much faster party you should allow them to pass.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
May 13, 2010 - 12:07am PT
Good point Jim but a dick is a dick in any situation.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 13, 2010 - 12:33am PT
yosemite is probably the most beautiful place on earth than can be the most grossed out place on earth at the same time.

it would be nice to see some people once in a while where i climb,

it is downright lonely. no cell service either. nobody for 3 weeks.



slobmonster

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
May 13, 2010 - 12:56am PT
I am extremely angry, but will refrain from naming any names. The couple who passed us are well known members of the local community.

Soon, and with some processing, you may reconsider. I hope you do.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Full Silos of Iowa
May 13, 2010 - 12:57am PT
Japhy- Just caught your account. As laid out, that's totally lame on their part.

What Coz said was exactly right-
"You can not climb through people without asking, that's just bull-sh#t, that woman is a four letter word, for doing that to you guys"

Esp insofar as you described it... that's damn straight.

Take care, Japhy. Peace to you.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 13, 2010 - 01:07am PT
if somebody passes me illegally, i usually try and get their license number.

3 violations and they lose their climbers license for the greater yosemite area.
Bob Fellner

Trad climber
Carrboro, N. Carolina
May 13, 2010 - 01:22am PT
Unfortunately Mr. Fellner though the world is full of crags sometimes parties get on ultra classics they shouldn't be on.

Ultra classic I shouldnt be on? If I do it in the style it was put up, leave no trace and am able to climb it, I have just as much right to climb as you... or <insert your climbing hero's name>.

tradmanclimbs, I understand your point and adhere to it perfectly but there is a big difference between the etiquette of ALLOWING someone to pass and them having a RIGHT to do so.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 13, 2010 - 01:32am PT
why do humans like to congregate among their own species?

that's what i want to know.


call me anti social, but sometimes i like to get away, especially when living in the pit.

you go out of your way to get out there, and if one other person is in the area, they will walk over and want to jive.

whats up with that?


now when you get passed by as#@&%es, they went out of their way to be in a social situation so they could be anti social.

see, being an as#@&%e by yourself is no fun

so certain people have to get their kicks by f*#king with people.

i think i see it now. the cognition is complete.


no wait, this is the FN cognition,

they wanted to hurry up the climb so they could get home and suck each other off. thats it. next time you get passed by a couple of homos, you will realize what is going on, it's the tube steaks down below that are doing the talkin.

Bullwinkle

Boulder climber
May 13, 2010 - 02:04am PT
Japhy,

I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend. I truly do understand the pain that you're going thur in this moment.

I do feel that at this point in time you'd be best served in not posting this thread, it has no purpose. It will just add to your anger about losing your partner.

There are no hard and fast rules to Climbing, no "Board of Ethics" I urge you to not focus on getting passed in this manner.

This will not heal you, it only serves to inflame you and people that were not there and have no reason to be involved with this tragedy. . .

QITNL

climber
May 13, 2010 - 03:24am PT
As I mentioned upthread, I looked up at the over-crowded route the week before with a tangible feeling of dread, I had a feeling that something like this could happen.

Japhy wrote:

Brian and I spent the next 30 minutes atop that ledge talking about the incident. We had a lot to say about it, and decided to post the question up on Supertopo about passing protocol. In fact, our conversation atop the climb was so focused on the passing that we promised to each other that we didn't want to be talking about such a negative topic, and had to shake hands not to talk about it anymore.

I get the feeling Japhy is not trying to inflame, but merely fullfil a promise he made to his partner. His original post here was polite enough and made no reference that this may have been a contributing factor. This thread may be part of his healing. He can always delete it - and piss everyone off - which also may prove to be healing.

While there is no "Board of Ethics," there is often a consensus, some of which can be gathered from the responses here. We'll all draw our respective conclusions and roll our own dice - we know the wager.

I don't think many people really listen. If we all were a little more aware and encouraged awareness in others, fewer accidents would happen.

Hang in there, Japhy. At least you've made me aware to stay the hell away from other climbers. ;-)
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
May 13, 2010 - 03:44am PT
I did stay away from most other climbers for the past forty years. It is very hard for me to come back into the community to hear that this sort of disrespectful behavior has not improved, but gotten even worse. Climbers with ego challenges should be the ones to go into the high mountains by themselves and find their own balance in life.

In the early sixties we climbed as if we led charmed lives; and were proud that none of us had been badly hurt, unlike the carnage in the Alps. Then we lost Jim Baldwin on the East Face of the Column; and that was a big wake-up call for at least some of us.

My wish would be to see Yosemite become known as a place of mutual respect and skilled apprenticeship, rather than an arena for head-butting bullies.

Anyone who climbs the big stones is worthy of respect and should not be subjected to bullying. If you want to push people around, take up football or stick to driving the freeways. No matter how good a climber you are, you will always eventually find someone who is amazingly better than you.

The respect that you show other people is also reflected in how you manage yourself on the rock. A bully may get a great adrenalin ego boost; and yet miss out on the dynamic aesthetics that are the best rewards for climbing in the mountains.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 13, 2010 - 03:47am PT
Read Bullwinkle's post more carefully if you do not recognize the wisdom of what he wrote...
QITNL

climber
May 13, 2010 - 03:49am PT
Tom - here, here.

>Climbers with ego challenges should be the ones to go into the high mountains by themselves and find their own balance in life.

Hey man, that's my favorite, that's no ego challenge.

You got your little tiny ego, and this big huge mountain.

That's fun!

Ed - yes. Bullwinkle's post is wise, Japhy is looking for wisdom. Both are part of a process.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
May 13, 2010 - 04:08am PT
I've lost too many people that I cared about. The best I've been able to find to do is to try and live my life in a way that honors them.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 09:23am PT
Bob, Don't let your ego get involved ;)


Japhy, sounds like they were jerks. It realy sounds like you are trying to pass some of the blame for your accident on to those jerks. That is not going to help you. Anger is not going to help you heal.

They were long gone when you guys had your wreck. You had pleanty of time to get your act together after getting rudly passed. You had an obligation to get over it and focus on getting down safely. A climb is never over untill everyone is safe on the ground. The summit is only half way there.
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
May 13, 2010 - 10:12am PT
Thereís two sides to every coin, no matter how you flip it.

By nature of their position, the lead team will always have the right of way and with that the right to grant or deny privilege to pass.

The rest is negotiation (or brashness).

In the bigger picture, only circumstances that effect life and limb would justify disregarding the lead teamís privilege of position, for example an injury or a storm.

There are gross exceptions to this which clearly offends the entire community, like the party practicing aid 1/2 a pitch up on a popular free climb and hogging the route all day. They will be systematically passed.



moronbros

Mountain climber
Seatte, North Cascades
May 13, 2010 - 11:02am PT
All really good points here. This is a tough area to really nail down and put into print in an internet forum.

It really boils down to that moment you are meeting the other party and what you can work out during your crowded belay. The instant you look at them you can find out whether they are going to be a jerk about it or completely cool. It's a people skills thing, not something you learn quickly.

If you can understand what the other party is really up to, you can assess whether or not you want them to be above you dropping gear and rocks on you.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
May 13, 2010 - 11:26am PT
You had plenty of time to get your act together after getting rudely passed. You had an obligation to get over it and focus on getting down safely.

I am very bothered by this comment. We invest huge amounts of ourselves in the endeavor of climbing. It is certainly true that a large component of climbing is the ability to control our own mind. However it's one thing to have an unknown jerk offend you on the freeway. It's another thing entirely to have someone that you respect and look up to, treat you improperly.

Our society is permeated by dishonesty and opportunism that are destroying our society; between Deep Politics, War Inc and Wall Street. We may not have a lot of influence in those arenas. I think many of us look to climbing as a domain providing some relief from all that. And we can have some influence over the ethics practiced within our sport. And by supporting good ethical practices as a group within our sport; we can also influence the society at large.

People tend to look up to ethical climbers as individuals and as a group. Poor ethical practices deservedly make us look like crazy idiots - to put so much at risk and then act like jerks.

If we don't respect each other within the sport, then how should we expect to be regarded ourselves?
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 13, 2010 - 11:29am PT
the point is this.

go ahead and pass people with your dick hangin out and your mouth flappin,

but now realize, after this accident, that your actions may have consequences that you do not think about.

blame shifting? maybe, but lets get all the facts on the table.

if these guys were nice in passing, then a non pissed of climber might not have forgotten the knot.

but like i mentioned before, we need a system that works no matter what condition the climbers mind is in.

put a frickin card on your harness.

have someone sign you off before you take the nestea plunge.

and Japhy, you post all you want.

if ever there was a time to post, this is it.

Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
May 13, 2010 - 11:34am PT
Communication is the key. I think it was the late George Carlin that said, "drivers that pass you are maniacs and drivers that are slower than you are road hogs."

Variation on a theme: A number of years ago I began leading a 5.10ish variation of a short climb in the Gunks. I'm 15' off the deck and dicking around trying to get a small nut to stick when a top-rope gets dropped on my head from 60' up. No call of 'rope' and they evidently didn't even look before throwing the cord. Oh yeah, they poke their head over the edge and say "we're going to do this climb."

It was a good test of my arterial strength because my BP at the time caused my ear lobes to hurt. I have good arteries.

I was so pissed that I said nothing, down climbed, packed up and left without saying a word. I mean I was so pissed that had the rope throwing idiot popped around the corner things would have gotten interesting, quickly. And I'm the type to do something stupid first and plead forgiveness later.

In retrospect, I'm pleased with my decision. If I remember correctly, we got a great day of climbing in and now have a good story to tell on top of all that.

Maybe we should all take the line of more respect for each other. I think a little respect goes a long way.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 11:44am PT
Tom. I agree with you 100% that people should be kind, considerate, thoughtfull and respectfull of all the other climbers they encounter regardless of their respective ability levels.

All that is well and good but at the end of the day you can not let emotions control decisions up on a wall. You have to clear your mind of the distractions and do what needs to be done to keep everyone safe.

I may be wrong on this but the tone of jeffe's post seems to indicate that he is trying to indirectly pass some of the responsibility for the accident on to the party that was rude to him and Brian. That does not fly. It happend, it sucked, get over it and pay attention to your own job which is getting off the cliff safely. I might seem a bit blunt here but reality is what it is. Sooner that you deal with it the better. What happend is in the past, nothing you can do the change it or reverse it. Somehow you have to process it and move on.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 11:49am PT
You guys had a 30 min sitdown at the top to discuss the incident. If you still let it affect your decision makeing after that you have to accept that as your baggage . Sorry but that is life...

PS, I have pleanty of my own baggage stored away includeing the death/guilt variety. Somehow you have to accept what happened, learn from it and keep on liveing. We are just here to learn...
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 13, 2010 - 11:51am PT
Japhy, you were in the right to be super pissed at those folks. Their conduct was beyond rude and into the the "you're risking my life" territory. It shows what kind of guy Brian was that he didn't punch their lights out up there.

A few years ago I was involved in a real cluster on The Trough. Somehow I ended up with an extra cam, so it wasn't all bad.

Prior to that, I was in a party of three, one of whom was leading The Trough as her first lead. She wasn't struggling or anything, and doing a good job. She's now a very solid leader.

We had gotten an early start. Up behind us came a party of two. They asked to pass. My thought process was: here's a party on The Trough. Who climbs The Trough? Beginners. There's some loose stuff higher up, not a lot, but some. Do I want beginners above me? No. So that's what I said.

It turns out the party was Sue and Julie from rec.climbing. If I had known that, I would have invited them to pass.

Was I a dick that day? Julie thought so. She's probably right about that.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
May 13, 2010 - 12:05pm PT
Tradmanclimbs: Sorry but I don't buy that. When someone climbs past you simo climbing without asking or disregards your appeal not to climb over your ropes and puts you and your partner in possible jeporady, that is quite upsetting. My partner, WHO NEVER GETS PASSED IN ANYTHING HE DOES, is still upset over a year later about these guys who climbed around and then over the top of us on Birdland, simply because we were being considerate to the multiple parties ahead of us. I am also. Simply because they were simo climbing(like whoever these climbers were on Serenity/Sons), it doesn't give them the right to climb over the top of people. To say that to get in a confrontation with a group over passing, and then a 1/2 hour later, this will not affect your thought process is ridiculous. yes, you should be focusing on the task at hand, but the confrontation and aftermath may make it hard to do so. That much is obvious here. That is why whoever these people were that were inconsiderate, rude, and self entitled, they indeed indirectly contributed to this accident. After something like this happens, the climbing community does need to take a hard look inward. There are climbs where speed records are sot out, like The Nose and NWFHD, and teams should be prepared to step aside and let speed climbers thru. Even Serenity/Sons be prepared to allow them to pass. But for someone to climb thru a belay up behind a leader disregarding the appeal not to, well.... very bad karma.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
May 13, 2010 - 12:07pm PT
I was so pissed that I said nothing, down climbed, packed up and left without saying a word.

Yosemite is my favorite place on earth and Camp 4 is my home and you all are my extended family. However I left the valley climbing scene for forty years over the kind of treatment I got from fellow climbers. And I am not the only one.

I never did stop climbing, and I feel that being famous is greatly overrated. I suppose bullying is a fine technique to narrow the field for those obsessed with being the hero.

No one is going to feel threatened any more by a demonstration of my climbing abilities. I am older and wiser and not afraid to speak out just because some heroic opinion leader is also a bully obsessed with ego expansion techniques.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
May 13, 2010 - 12:43pm PT
I may be wrong on this but the tone of jeffe's post seems to indicate that he is trying to indirectly pass some of the responsibility for the accident on to the party that was rude to him and Brian. That does not fly. It happened, it sucked, get over it and pay attention to your own job which is getting off the cliff safely. I might seem a bit blunt here but reality is what it is. Sooner that you deal with it the better. What happened is in the past, nothing you can do the change it or reverse it. Somehow you have to process it and move on.

I agree with the above. However it sounds like we lost a special person in the middle of this learning experience. That's an awfully expensive way to learn a lesson. If people are such talented climbers, then how about apprenticing others rather than lording it over them?

I am very uncomfortable that this discussion is happening without the participation of the well known climbers in question. It seems like some very big apologies are in order. And for those deserving as opinion leaders; this is an important opportunity to make community-wide policy improvements .
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 12:46pm PT
Studly, They had a bad experience. Some jerks climbed all over them. Its not worth getting killed over. They had a sit down, hashed it out etc. the responsibilty of getting themselfs home safley is 100% theirs and to try to pin any of it on a party that were jerks to them in the past is complete bullsh#t..

Heck I have had fights with my GF up on the wall. Had a woman tell me that she was leaving me on P3 of an 8 pitch climb, whatever. The bottom line is you have to be able to focus on the task at hand and not let the distractions in life kill you. You have 100% control over the things YOU do. You can not blame YOUR actions on others.. Those people had left, they were long gone.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 12:57pm PT
Tom, I think you have to seperate the 2 incidents. Yes The big shots were jerks and should be nicer to the common folk.

The accident happed well after that event and was aparently the result of the team useing a fairly obsure and somewhat sketchy system that they did not fully understand as well as a lack of concentration perhaps due to letting a prior incident bother them emotionaly. Forget the past, think only of the now and the very imediate future when rapping. Be methodical, don't count the climb over untill you get down safely. You have only yourself to hold accountable for these basic principals.

Studly

Trad climber
WA
May 13, 2010 - 01:00pm PT
You're right, its not worth getting killed over. or someone else getting killed either. Your climbing ego is not more important then my safety or that of my partner.
Maybe the op should have reached out and pulled some slack and threw a ovehand knot in the rope and tied the chick off so she couldn't go any further. She had been asked not to. Then the resulting confrontation when the second arrives, escalating tempers....what do you do when you are on a climb and at place where you don't feel comfortable with someone passing and they do it anyway? I know what I will do in the future. There is a big difference between allowing someone to pass and someone forcing themselves on you at what you feel is a inappropriate moment. That call should generally always be up to the lead team, don't you think?
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
May 13, 2010 - 01:07pm PT
Regarding Anchors..

If climbing, nobody is trying to pass, and a leader arrives at a bolted anchor before the other party has left (this is common!), the arriving leader should always have the right to clip the bolted anchor, especially if no other pro is available.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Full Silos of Iowa
May 13, 2010 - 01:08pm PT
Wow, that's a vision-
"Maybe the op should have reached out and pulled some slack and threw a ovehand knot in the rope and tied the chick off so she couldn't go any further. She had been asked not to."

Aside: Were I ever under the circumstances to do this, somehow I feel I would be way more inclined to do this if it were a guy instead of a girl. (Probably a weakness.)



EDIT 10:14 Melissa- Wow! Powerful post. All the way around.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 13, 2010 - 01:11pm PT
japhy,

First, I want to say that I really am sorry for your pain right now. You're a stranger to me, but I've thought about you and Brian so much this week.

I know that it might be hard to accept, but believe that everyone who was on the route the day your friend perished, including the simulclimbers, is in hurting and in some state of shock too.

The passing sounded clearly rude. The climbers wouldn't have won points with me, and I might have ripped into them too.

But if no accident happened in that moment, it's really putting a lot on the passers to put any part of you and your friend's rigging error on them, especially when it sounds as though Brian had gotten newly distracted by taking pictures of other climbers ascending.

The closest I have come to dying on a climb (that I'm aware of anyway) happened because I was having a big 'ol crying fight with my bf. He started up the climb in a huff, and somewhere in the fray I threaded my knot but didn't tie it. Did I mention that the fight started b/c I lowered off the climb after an unsuccessful lead? Good thing I sent on "TR". He saw the state of my knot as I neared the anchor and grabbed my belay loop. I cried again at the anchor when I realized just how close I came.

We abandonned the whole trip after that. I didn't climb again for a month. My lesson that I took from it after much mulling and stress was that I can't control the people around me, but to a degree, I really can choose to block or indulge in strong emotions that they stir in me. For the sake of safety, it's often best to do whatever I can to put off going to that place until I'm done climbing, even if my feelings are justified.

A friend of mine who rides motorcycles told me that the biker anaology for how much distraction you're allowed is that you've only got one buck in your pocket. If 10 cents goes to a helmet that doesn't fit right, and 10 to the radio, and 10 to what's for dinner...To maximize safety, it's important to not give any of that dollar away unless you really must.

I'm sorry that your burden is so hard to bear, and hope that you find a way to manage it with the help of friends. I shared the story because I feel like it was a really bad thing that happened to me that gave me some insight that keeps me safer now. I don't mean to sound preachy, but I'm afraid that I do.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 01:15pm PT
Studly, all that is childish. If you have a bad experience in a life threatening situation you need to let go of emotions and do all the right things to stay alive. In this case they needed to make a concious decision to let it rest and deal with their own responsibilitys.

I take this lesson and try to apply it to climbing.

The way you know that you are figting a professional is when you hit them in the face their emotions do not change. An amatuer gets angy and emotional when struck hard in the face, their emotions take control of them and they become easy to read and easy to beat. A pro turns into a machine when he gets hit. No emotion, no fear, no anger, no indignation, just the mechanicle actions that are required to do the job and come home alive.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 01:22pm PT
Melissa nailed it. Her BF may well have been a jerk but it was Melissa's responsibilty to take care of herself and tie in correctly.

Whenever something emotionaly distracting happens while climbing you MUST take a time out and get your sh#t together. That is YOUR responsibility cause it's YOUR sh#t that will splatter if you don't.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
May 13, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
What a crock Tradman. No one is debating what would be best case scenario with your emotions. The problem with emotions is that they can get the best of you, especially when they are inflicted by other people and they usually stay with you far after the conflict is over. To say otherwise is not dealing with reality.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 13, 2010 - 09:39pm PT
Actually studly it is not a crock as you put it. 300ft off the deck is Not the place to feel sorry for yourself and let a bunch of crap distract you. Do your job, keep your situation wired tight untill you are down safe and then have a meltdown if you need to.

Obviously you wouldn't get this concept as you are still bent out of shape from getting your ego bruised in RR a year or whatever ago...
corniss chopper

Mountain climber
san jose, ca
May 13, 2010 - 11:31pm PT
Charging a toll to allow a party to pass seems fair and if your
slick enough they'll never notice you collecting a biner as they go by.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 15, 2010 - 10:53am PT
Went to take a friend from Britain up the Kor/Engles on Castleton yesterday. There was a group of five on the route. We were able to do another climb but you should never embark on a popular climb with five people.
Pate

Trad climber
May 15, 2010 - 11:03am PT
5 people on Castleton??? What's this world coming to. There shouldn't be more than 3 people within 50 miles of it on any given day, unless they are in cars on the highway.


Looks like The Black is your only option for solitude donini.
Pakdong

climber
May 15, 2010 - 02:35pm PT
RULE 1

AID CLIMBERS WILL ALWAYS MOVE OUT OF THE WAY FOR FREE CLIMBERS. IF YOU DONT KNOW YET, FREE CLIMBING IS COOL, CAUSE ITS "FREE", AND IF YOU DONT LIKE FREEDOM THEN YER A COMMIE.

RULE 2

FREE-SOLOISTS HAVE RIGHT OF WAY OVER EVERYONE, IN THE CASE WHERE ONE FREE-SOLOIST MAY PASS ANOTHER, THEY SHALL REMOVE THEIR SHIRTS AND HAVE A SOLO-DUEL(?) A' MUERTE!

RULE 3

ANYONE WEARING A SWAMI AND A HEADBAND SHOULD BE GENEROUSLY PRAISED AND GIVEN A POT BROWNIE, THEN, AFTER LISTENING TO THEIR STORY OF THE TIME THEY SAW A RACCOON TREE A BEAR IN THE PINES DURING AN ACID TRIP, YOU SHOULD LET THEM PASS

RULE 4

ALWAYS PULL ON THE GEAR OF PARTIES YOU PASS, PARTICULARLY SMALL NUTS, BEING SURE TO PLACE FULL BODY WEIGHT ON THEM WITH THE ODD BOUNCE FOR GOOD MEASURE.

RULE 5

IN THE CASE WHERE A SLOWER PARTY FAILS TO GIVE WAY; START CHAIN SMOKING CIGARETTES AT THE BELAY AND TALK IN A LOUD EASTERN-EUROPEAN ACCENT, FAIL TO TEND TO YOUR PARTNERS BELAY WHILST CRITICIZING ALL THINGS "AMERICAN". WHEN YOUR PARTNER ARRIVES, PAZZ ZEM ANYVAY! (SEE RULE 4)

RULE 6

RELAX, HAVE ZE FUN.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 15, 2010 - 05:27pm PT
Pate, actually you are the one of the biggest Cyber bullys on this site.

It seemed quite clear from the tone of jaffes post that he was trying to shift some of the blame on to the party that passed him some time before the accident. If I am wrong on this my sincere apologys! His accident was horrible but starting a thread that points fingers like that is not a constructive move. It is complete bullshit to imply that a party passing him an hour before the accident was in any way to blame for what happened, If Jeffe brought the subject up in person I can gaurentee you that I would tell hem that it was not a healthy thought process and that the system they were useing was not a very good system.

I am not being callous and pointing fingers at Brian and Jeffe either. I am pointing out that you have to take care of yourself. You can not control what other people do on a cliff but you can control what you do. In this case that means focusing on getting down safely.

QITNL

climber
May 15, 2010 - 06:14pm PT
tradmanclimbs:

You make an valid and important point: no matter the circumstances, it is our own responsibility to be safe, we must keep our heads clear.

But I think you are missing an important part of the context here. "It seemed quite clear from the tone of jaffes post that he was trying to shift some of the blame on to the party that passed him some time before the accident," you say.

Scroll back to the original post. You'll find no shifting of blame, no mention of the accident at all. You would need to be a very careful reader to connect his name with the accident. When I saw the original post, I said to myself "uh, oh"

You have the fifth reply on that page, in which you say: "Like it or not if you are a complete wanker you are going to get passed at some point so either learn how to move more efficiantly or accept your fate."

I don't think you realized the connection at that point. I sincerely hope not; if you had, that would have been a tremendously callous thing to say.

Japhy coughed up the goods only after he was cornered. Look at the difference in Steve's two responses at the top of page three. After he understands the background of the inquiry, he takes an entirely different tone. That is the type of empathy I would hope to share with those I meet in the mountains.

Unfortunately, much of what has been said in this exchange makes me feel less warm and fuzzy. You are absolutely right: I have to take care of myself. To do so, I have learned that I may need to avoid other climbers.

Nonetheless, if Japhy were to re-visit this forum, I figured he deserved a better welcome. You're welcome to make a contribution there.

No hard feelings, just trying to inject a little compassion.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 15, 2010 - 07:22pm PT
At that early point of the thread I had no idea who the OP was. I may not have been even replying to the Op in that post that you took out of context. I was merly discussing the topic of getting passed on a climb which has happened to most of us.

Later in the thread it became apparent who Jeffe was and that he was really angry about the passing incident and indicating that it may have had an influence on the terrible accident that followed.

If the accident had happened while they were being passed then he would have been more than justified in feeling this way. That was not the case however. The passing party was long gone, they had a 30 min discussion about the incident, they interacted with annother party, took pictures etc. They then rappeled the rout with a complicated system that they did not use properly. Both climbers actually useing a different method of decent on a complicated system added confusion factor. Furthermore if they did let the passing incident affect their performance of the rappel that in itself would be their own responsibility.

I have tons of compassion. What happened was terrible and its going to take a long time for everyone involved to process.







SeanH

climber
San Carlos, CA
May 15, 2010 - 07:41pm PT
It seemed quite clear from the tone of jaffes post that he was trying to shift some of the blame on to the party that passed him some time before the accident. If I am wrong on this my sincere apologys! His accident was horrible but starting a thread that points fingers like that is not a constructive move.

Sorry, but just had to chime in. I read the original thread paying close attention, so that I might learn anything I could from it.

tradmanclimbs - When I read your above comment, I had to cringe a little bit - the poor guy is far from trying to point fingers and shift blame! Read what he originally wrote,

The only explanation I have for this oversight is distraction and complacency. Brian MAY not have been 100% focused on the task (there were several things going on... party coming behind us and he was excited to take photos of the leader below... a few moments earlier on the last pitch, we were rudely and inconsiderately passed up by a speeding simul-climbing party; this bothered both of us considerably). I am equally guilty of the same distraction and complacency for not having noticed the absence of the backup.

All he was saying is that the passing incident was something they were distracted by. I'm sure all of us have experienced incidents that lingered in our heads throughout the day. I don't think his words were written expecting people to connect the dots that had it not happened, they would have been better focused and the incident wouldn't have occurred.
phile

Trad climber
SF, CA
May 15, 2010 - 08:23pm PT
to answer the OP's question: I would have been very upset had I been passed like that--I would have reacted a lot like you and your partner did. Reading your post brought back memories of an a-hole pass a party of 3 did on me on third pillar of dana a year ago. It still makes me angry to think about it. They didn't slow us down a lot, but... it was a very different set of ethics than I climb with.

Some are saying (well, possibly just one person is saying) that you should have gotten over the rudeness and just got on with it. I would like to be the kind of person who could do that (just get on with it), but instead it tainted my experience of the climb. I would like to be a better person... but it'd be nice if there weren't so many a-holes out there revealing my weakness.

I thought you did a solid job of trying to divorce your question from the tragic context. Unfortunately, it obviously didn't work. Internet forums can be a b!tch.

Take care.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 15, 2010 - 08:38pm PT
Yes, Internet forums can be a bitch and I tend to get sucked into discussing things that I should just leave alone. Its easy to argue and get stuck on preceptions that may or may not be the posters intent. That can happen on both sides of the discussion.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 15, 2010 - 09:07pm PT
Phille, when I first got involved in this discussion I had no idea the context of it. No clue that the OP had just experienced a fatal accident, I was merly participating in a discussion about a fairly hot topic. getting passed and passing.
With that in mind, however rude it was of the party that passed you on the Third pillar, would it have been acceptable for a member of your party to dwell on that incident to the point that they lost concentration and did something stupid that endangered both of you?

The bottom line is that climbers must be able to overcome distractions and focus on the basics that we need to cover to stay alive. My experience is tiny compared to many on this site but here are a few examples.

Load a guy with serious head injury and punctured lung in a litter and then set up and exicute 5 rappels, stung by bees while soloing, stung by bees while leading, treated rudly by other climbers many times, partner fell off mountain while simo soloing so I had to finish soloing the rout that I was on, down climb the ajacent gully and then help with rescue, love of my life informs me that we are finished just as I am about to start the crux pitch of an 8 pitch climb. etc,etc, etc.

The reality is that we have to be able to control our emotions when climbing so that they don't control us. Maybe I find this easier than other folks because of my extensive martial arts background?

Not saying that I never get upset. I am saying that I know how and when to stop everything, pull my sh#t together and keep it together untill everyone is safe on the ground. That is a mandatory skill set for anyone thinking of doing multi pitch climbs INMOP.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 15, 2010 - 09:28pm PT
TR, You are absolutly correct that we need to be nice to each other. You shouldn't forget that being nice may involve realizeing that you are slowing up someone else. It goes both ways. If you are going slow on the highway and notice that you have a line of cars behind you, the nice thing to do is pull over and let them by. At the same time it's not nice to honk your horn, flash your lights and give Italian hand signals to the person in front of you.

Everyone should be nice. The fast people and the slow people.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 15, 2010 - 09:38pm PT
"this may be so but if you're climbing over someone and it's messing them up, YOU need to stop, not blame them. i mean, yeah, this is an individualistic culture and all, and people should be responsible for how they react to stuff, but really, people are only human."

TR, If someone is about to have an accident while your climbing all over them then yes you do need to stop! If they decide to have an accident long after you have passed them then they need to chill out and pay attention.

Back to driveing anology.
#1,Guy in a big truck runs you off the road and you crash. It's the big trucks fault.
#2 Guy in a big truck almost runs you off the road and it freaks you out so much that you and your passenger gripe about it for 30 min, get all worked up over what an as#@&%e the guy in the big truck was while you are speeding down the road at 65mph. You run a red light and T bone a school buss.. Who's fault is it now?
Pate

Trad climber
May 15, 2010 - 09:54pm PT
Six posts, 27 misspelled words, a dozen grammatical errors and a completely unintelligible argument later you're still wrong.

Just apologize without the excuses attached and man up. Or change your name to tradboyclimbs.

CyberBully.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 15, 2010 - 10:22pm PT
the only reason to combine climbing and racing is if you are getting paid.

you load up your car, pay a ransom for gas, fight the traffic, fight more traffic in yosemite, cram into your campground, then finally, FINALLY!

you are on the rock. everything is beautiful. peaceful, it was all worth it.

then, some peckerhead dickbrain from planets unknown, sees fit

to ruin your vibe, all in 5 seconds.

"hey, can i pass, man?, like, my reason in life is to do a sub 2 hr link up on all 8,000 routes in the park by mid october.

why?

my girfriend told me i have a small penis, and i have to prove to the world, who knows nothing of my deeds, btw, that i am king sh#t jockomatic from the youth gym in berlin. "




Sure. i find people who are having the time of their life and then I go f*#k up their trip.







































FREQUENTLY.
WandaFuca

Social climber
From the gettin place
May 15, 2010 - 10:59pm PT
Ethics and etiquette are not the same thing.

Bob Fellner

Trad climber
Carrboro, N. Carolina
May 16, 2010 - 12:16am PT
I really dont mean to pile on here but...
Bob, Don't let your ego get involved ;)

Tradman, lack of ego is one of the main reasons I climb. I have a love hate relationships with gym climbing, I love going and getting a good pump on but I hate how the atmosphere in most gyms is ohh check this move out or watch me send that... too much ego. I love being outside but even there, I hate ratings on routes aside from the fact that they give me an indication of whether or not I should be attempting a route. My statement that I deserve to be on classic is justified, if it's public and you can go do it, why cant I? Because your faster?

I climb for... all the same reasons everyone else will list including the zen like place you have to take your mind to achieve pushing the edge of your ability but when you are half way up a route and something pulls you out of that place it can be hard or impossible for some people to get back. I am not participating in shifting the blame of the accident but can see why it might affect someone. Not everyone has the "cool-hand luke" badassedness and martial art mastery you do to be able to shrug-off something shocking or terrifying.

Oh and Donini I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that
Went to take a friend from Britain up the Kor/Engles on Castleton yesterday. There was a group of five on the route. We were able to do another climb but you should never embark on a popular climb with five people.

was a backhanded slap at me implying that not everyone deserves to be on a classic... Buy the land and then you can designate who is worthy.
blr

climber
socal
May 16, 2010 - 01:29am PT
I just read this entire thread (studying for finals) and I don't come away with the feeling that Japhy is trying to shift blame at all. It sounds to me like he would have posted about this sooner if it weren't for the accident.

tradmanclimbs, I think everyone gets what you're saying, it's just that many here don't agree with your premise that Japhy is shifting blame... thus, you kind of come off as an a-hole. I do actually agree with you though on the general topics of passing and keeping your mental facilities about you while climbing. In reality though, people are different, and you are going to run into those who aren't so good at it from time to time.

Japhy, the way you described those people passing you is completely unacceptable in my opinion. I would have been quite pissed too. I'm sorry that you had to deal with it, and I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

On the original topic, I think that passing sucks for everybody involved, but sometimes its more or less necessary. No matter how much you try to avoid it, a competent climber is eventually going to get stuck behind a slow party at some point. Otherwise the trade routes would be the strict domain of only slow people. The argument of "I woke up first, so it's my route" only goes so far. Both parties should be considerate and keep their egos in check. I've let faster parties pass me before and I've passed slow parties myself. Every time those two "rules" are used, it's been an okay experience.

On a side note, I once had a guy say that I couldn't pass because he didn't want to risk any falling rock... only there was already a party above that they clearly started after. I guess the rock fall argument is more of an issue in the afternoon than it is in the morning.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
May 16, 2010 - 01:46am PT
Bob Fellner,

How's it going ? I'm Jim.

Party of five ???? and like, that's normal ? This sounds like obesity by association. I have trouble hearing and I don't listen well,[ask my friends]so I want to ask:

What ever happened to a party of 2 being the acceptable example and the roped conga line being a joke instead of some sort of significant statement of plurality ? Is this worthy ?

irritatedly yours,

Jim
Bob Fellner

Trad climber
Carrboro, N. Carolina
May 16, 2010 - 02:30am PT
Hi Jim,

and how are you?

Im not advocating people make a norm out of parties of five or "conga lines".

Actually, I myself am irritated that my participation in this thread has been pulled off topic to who should be allowed to climb what but that apparently is my point now, who should get to decide who climbs what? What does it take to be worthy to climb a classic and how must you do it... please do tell?

~Bob

Edit: For the record I would like to be clear, I offered my opinion on the topic as a novice, stating such and for that was attacked by a few, one being tradmanclimbs so I was definitely not in a rare category there. The other being a "renown" expert who in the process, inferred there is ground that lesser mortals should not travel. Climbing is a solitary sport to be enjoyed with a few friends in the way that you desire without the rules most other sports demand. That said there are rules of etiquette that should be adhered to which is what this thread is about but the last I checked telling someone they couldn't climb somewhere on public lands because they were not as good as another who decided to say so is not part of the sport. I am not going to take being told such either just because the person doing the telling should be revered. It's like traveling around the world to surf some great wave you've seen video of and though your not the best surfer and you don't live there you paddle out, wait your turn and then get bumped off your board by the locals or get your legrope cut. Is that what the climbing world is at the upper echelons? No thanks, Ill stay at the local crag and have fun with my friends, you can keep your classics.
SeanH

climber
San Carlos, CA
May 16, 2010 - 04:42am PT
Bob (and all chiming in on the classics debate),

There are very few hard and fast rules in climbing. No one's going to physically go and stop you from starting up Cobra Crack, or Jumbo Love, or the rostrum, etc, etc. But everyone has their limits, and whether they'd admit it externally or not, most people have an idea what those limits are.

It's similar with surfing. You go paddle out (if you can) to Mavericks and you're not in that league, you'll probably drown. You see people surfing triple overhead in hawaii or something and think you can catch a flight out there to "try it out", it doesn't work that way. Locals, or at least, people in that league, will at the least be annoyed by your presence, if you aren't outright being a danger to yourself and others.

The point is, why go rope up on a "classic" that's above your ability if it's going to take you 4x longer than it should to do it, and you have a good risk of epicing, when you should be putting in your time elsewhere to get the skills to go do said classic in proper style, or close to it? You're going to hold people up, and for what? Just because you can?

I don't understand the need to argue over any of this, it should all be common sense. In normal life, I'm far from the most zen, easy going person in the world. But when you get out on a cliff at yosemite (or any crag really), your ego should be checked at the door, and you should do whatever makes everyone's life easier. It's about getting away from the stresses of "normal life", period.

Lambone

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
May 16, 2010 - 05:12am PT
I think it is fair to ask to pass if you catch up to a party from several pitches below.

At the same time I think it's fair for the slow party to say, "sorry... we were here first."

I just don't get when an experienced party gets on an easy trade route then gets pissed that it's crowded with slow parties. Like...duh! Get up earlier or get on a 5.10 or harder multipitch if you don't want to wait.

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
May 16, 2010 - 06:16am PT
Bob,

I can't think of a "lesser mortal" than myself. Still, I climb, therefore I am is to neglect the fact you are not alone.

Do what you want but I've rappelled from 400' on a steep cliff not because some people ahead were slow but that they set up a top-rope in the middle of a 10 pitch climb and proceeded to camp out with no alternative for the people coming from below !

And please, enjoy the classics. Just give up on the idea that climbing is a solitary sport. Even Messner had someone boil his rice at camp. Hell, I don't even like my own company sometimes.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
May 16, 2010 - 12:40pm PT

the first person who passes me is gonna get shot.


and i do mean that.

Bob Fellner

Trad climber
Carrboro, N. Carolina
May 16, 2010 - 04:59pm PT
I dont want to hijack this thread but I think that it is important that I make a serious point about my opinion on this topic and the tangent of who belongs on what climbs.

I stated from the onset I am a novice. I have been climbing on and off for over 20 years and have achieved fairly decent levels of ability and then fallen off again for periods of time(due to lack of time or other pursuits). Still, I am an integral part of the climbing community... why? What I see in this forum is a sub-population of the climbing community that is mostly elite and hardcore climbers. I have great respect for all of the hard work that those of you have put in finding and establishing the routes you do and sharing the wealth of information that makes climbing more fun and safer for the less skilled/experienced of us. It is this type of information that allows me to be able to take 5.10- gym climbing skills and competently lead 5.8 trad routes. Using this information, I may be slower at this on a classic route than you care for but am safe and feel I deserve to be there because in a sense I do contribute to the acquisition of that beta. You elite climbers make up less than 1% of the community and it is the other 99% of us that buy the crap at REI that gets you your sponsorships. It is the other 99% of us that give the volume to the voice in public forums that says maintain access for climbers on public lands. We are a necessary evil that make your world what it is, good and bad.

Etiquette is an informal set of rules agreed upon by a community to govern shared behavior, often times not written down or carved in stone but this forum is an attempt to do so regarding this particular situation. Bearing in mind that this forum (as I assumed prior but could be wrong) is mostly populated by the elite, I feel it is that much more important that voices like mine be heard and seriously considered because we are the bulk of the climbing community though not the best of it.

And Jim, when I say climbing is a solitary sport I am talking about the part of it when you are on the sharp end of the rope (or unroped if that is your preference) and it's for you alone to have the ability and the mastery of yourself to overcome gravity... no one else to pass you the puck, stop the shot or block the lineman.

Best of times to everyone and safe climbing,
Bob
SeanH

climber
San Carlos, CA
May 16, 2010 - 06:34pm PT
Bob - I think you have some misconceptions about "elite climbers". Yeah, there are some sponsored climbers out there. But the majority of "elite climbers" or hardmen or whatever are dirtbags that live out of vans or tents and climb almost every day. They aren't getting anything from people's REI purchases. They just climb.
Pate

Trad climber
May 16, 2010 - 06:39pm PT
Just give up on the idea that climbing is a solitary sport.

Jim, I completely agree with your argument.

I quoted you because if you ever get to Colorado and want to hook up, I can show you that you don't have to go far to be alone!

It's all about where you choose to climb.
Fuzzywuzzy

climber
suspendedhappynation
May 17, 2010 - 03:05am PT
BITD when we ran into somebody at Reed's or anywhere - we would just continue around the corner to an empty route.

Lots of good advice here - mostly.

If you are very fast why not wait until the rt is clear? You can do it in no time and there will be no effect on anybody.

Of course The Nose etc are unique.

Steve S - thanks, your self-examination, perspective (and respect for others ) is appreciated.

We all know how nice it is to be alone on a rt. Maybe we should let them be every now and then?

Cheers,

TC
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 17, 2010 - 06:26pm PT
Mostly, I do manage to only do classic climbs when they are clear and have passed very few parties in the last few years. But on some of the really popular routes, it can be hard. I would say that it is not that uncommon for the first party on royal arches or EB of middle to start at first light and for there to still be a party on the route as it gets dark.

I usually do RA as an aerobic, get-back-into-fast-mode, climb each spring. Even during the week, even with a 6:00 am start, I have passed two or three parties on the lower sections. Yea, the route might be clear at 6:00pm, but I'm not going to climb up there and wait behind an epic on the final pitches. I guess a midnight start with headlamp is an option...

There are certainly better (and worse) ways to ask a party to be allowed to pass, I certainly understand that. But really, threatening to shoot someone who is going to take 3 or 4 minutes to simul-climb through? Really? Sheeish...
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
May 17, 2010 - 07:29pm PT
I passed a party yesterday and did not feel at all unethical about it!

I went out to do a Sunday hike of Frogland. We expected some traffic of course. When we got to the base there was a party starting up. Turns out to be a party of four. Their tech was, leader leads on dbl ropes and one of those seconds trails a rope for the fourth.

The leader was solid but very cautious and slow. The belayer told us about the size of the party and that they planned to do only the first two pitches of the route and then rap.

Knowing that the first pitch ended on a sizeable tree covered ledge my partner and I picked an alt first pitch and started up after all of the first party members had left the ground on the original first pitch. I followed the first pitch. Upon reaching the first belay the other party's leader was well up but still working on the second pitch.

A few things were apparent and a few facts were learned at this point:
apparent
1. The party was almost at their high point.
(the higher of the two typical belay points for the 2nd pitch)
learned
2. The party was large, slow and not very familiar with the route, approach and descent.
(They told us they drove the wrong road in and hiked for hrs in the morning sun
and that was just to gain the entry to Black Velvet cyn.)
apparent
3. I could not (conveniently) ask their leader if I could start up and pass in the process.
In talking with the crew on the ledge I got a tentative go ahead.
apparent
4. I could easily climb to the side and fully in the clear of their rope/belay/protection system.
I could get to a ledge 40' below their leader and set up a belay before the second would even be leaving the P1 belay.

So I did just that. I took off up P2 purposely staying almost off route and always to the same side of their line. I never crossed their rope or got near their gear. I ran it out a few times because the available placements were occupied. I reached a belay about 40' below their leader that was substantially to the side of their 'plumb' rap line.

Their second came up and passed me. I waited and as soon as he was passing me I put my second on 'B'. My second climbed through and linked the 3rd into the fourth pitch and set up a belay the better part of a rope length above the other party as they brought up the rest of their entourage and prepped to rap.

There was a little tension at first. The (non leading) members of the first party were a little wary of the idea at first yet they were obviously not very experienced. I assured them I would stay out of their way and give them time if they needed it here and there to facilitate a smooth transition for everybody. They gave me the go ahead.

When the party was rapping off they were all smiles and no complaints.
Things went very smoothly.

Sure I agree with the up thread post about the speed climbers on Birdland on a crowded day.

But on the other hand:
I am still trying to figure out why a party from out of state,
would drive all that way, hike that far up an approach
and drag a party of four up only the first two pitches
of an uber classic multipitch?

I think I did it as gracefully as possible but...
I passed'm damnit !


HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 17, 2010 - 09:00pm PT
There was a little tension at first. The (non leading) members of the first party were a little wary of the idea at first yet they were obviously not very experienced. I assured them I would stay out of their way and give them time if they needed it here and there to facilitate a smooth transition for everybody. They gave me the go ahead.

This encapsulates the basic play of emotions with a reasonable outcome for all.

Some have compared passing climbing with passing on the freeway (or any other road for that matter). e.g. I've got the right to pass.
B*S*
The passing driver has the legal obligation to do it safely and stay clear of the passee. Freeway or goat track. Try telling it otherwise to the Officer who's writing you up or to the Judge.

Now is not the time to be taking Japhy to task for anything he or Brian did or didn't do nor to point out their errors. Japhy survived a most dreadful accident and in his other thread has shown great maturity and courage in telling us what happened only a week ago. He clearly told us what went wrong. There's been a good discussion of what went wrong on two other threads and I'm sure most of us have learned something from it.

We all know it's our personal responsibility to keep our S&^t together when things aren't going smoothly. To stop and get our heads together before proceeding. No need to lecture any of us on that point.

And on the question originally posted: what's the etiquette?

Screw the etiquette.
When we choose to start behind another party we know the possible scenarios.
If we want to pass them, it's our RESPONSIBILITY to not f*#k up their climb. It's our RESPONSIBILITY to do it safely for ourselves AND for them. That ALWAYS means with their consent. If they don't give it, take it to the parking lot.

If they ask us to not pass we must respect their wishes. We have no automatic right to push past. They have their reasons. If you want to argue about it, wait until you've caught up to both of them at a belay where you can piss and moan and hopefully pass safely.

Just because you're a hot sh#t and trying to knock 10 minutes off your best time up the route doesn't give you the right to run roughshod over others.

If someone's asking to pass you, say yes unless you've got a good reason (and there are a few). Then ask them to wait till YOUR party is safe. If the anchor is bomber, get a sling rigged for their leader to clip to. You'll be saving yourselves time in the end and it's safer for you all. If the anchor's not bomber for both parties tell them they'll have to set their own someplace else.

I was going to mention some of my personal situations in passing/being passed. But no, the basic etiquette and responsibilities are not situational. So I am back full circle to etiquette....etiquette with possibly dangerous consequences.

It's not Australian Rules Football, climbing is far more dangerous and there are no referees on the rock.
Fred Glover
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 17, 2010 - 10:19pm PT
I always thought that you pass tequila. Why would you pass a party?
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Jun 18, 2012 - 02:14am PT
If that b&6tch tried to pull that on me, she would find herself clove hitched to the anchor so fast her head would spin.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Jun 18, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
Two rules apply to all civilized societies:

1) Say please.

2) Respond with thank you, no matter the response.

A lot of jerks out there who weren't around long ago when there were no lines in Yosemite Valley and Lover's (I can't speak for the Lily Rockers of them days) would have been sorry they were born if they tried sh#t like they do now. We welcomed the Euro crowd. Halcyon days are no more at my old haunts...

Jebus H Bomz

climber
Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Jun 18, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
My partner and I got caught up with on Lucky Streaks recently. An Italian guy whose gear was pulling out as he climbed, cruising along as fast as we were following pitches was in the lead of the party! He caught up with my partner as I led the last pitch and I guess was pretty cool, waiting while I got my partner on belay before continuing to the anchor.

We weren't going slowly, he was just cruising. I led out that last pitch pretty fast when I saw he was nosing up to us. At the base we saw his follower was still on the climb (technical difficulties maybe - he'd dropped a cam all the way into the snow at the base), so they'd slowed down considerably. I guess we'd been his rabbit to chase as well as him being the flame under our asses. The cross-cultural etiquette of the pass was thankfully avoided.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jun 18, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
It doesn't always have to be a bad scene. A few years ago, I was on Frogland, a climb we had chosen specifically in order to have a leisurely day recovering from some after-dark returns. A very fast British team came roaring up behind us. I immediately offered to let them pass, but they were, apparently, out for a stroll as well, "no problems mate, it's all about the day," they said. And so it was, we had a lovely day on the route, chatted amiably on all the belay ledges, took photos of each other on the top, and parted on the best of terms.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
Jun 18, 2012 - 03:16pm PT
You even have a Virgin River in the veecinity, don't you? Or is the name no longer valid? lol, & how's the fishing today?
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Aug 24, 2016 - 12:16pm PT
@Japhy:

I never wanted anyone to get hurt on one of my climbs and was very saddened to hear of your accident and loss of your friend. I myself have had near death experiences (similar to Melissa above) from distracted moments leading to poor knot tying/communication etc. and am lucky to be alive. Nearly every single experienced climber can say the same. There is no need to beat oneself up over such things, we are humans not robots and unless some truly willful negligence is involved all are blameless, caught up in moments and lives and thoughts and dreams or even in the wonder at the beauty of Yosemite on such a day. I hope time has softened your grief and you have come to terms with that.

Dwell instead on a fine spring day with the sandpaper kiss of perfect granite on the back of your hands, the gust of the wind through spindly oak branches, the call of a Peregrine below you and a lazy Merced pausing in her journey seeming a little stream so far below...and laugh, laugh for him as you denied gravity far above the Earth feeling your strong body climb, climb and climb...You lived so well that day, a special day and one that few humans ever get to experience...I think he would want you to remember that too.

I did not know Brian but I will remember him. I am sorry for your loss.


John Tuttle
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Aug 24, 2016 - 01:32pm PT
I re-read this thread after a six-year absence, and find that the last few posts make up for all the rest.

When I read the OP and made my comment in 2010, I had no idea of the circumstances giving rise to the question. The back-and-forth between the "I always have the right to pass slower parties" proponents and the "I got there first precisely because I didn't want to follow anyone" ones reached a limit of usefulness long ago, but the posts by Mouse, rgold and kingtut made reading the whole thread again worthwhile.

I guess we will always encounter some people whose idea of their entitlement differs from ours, whether on the road, on the climb, or in life. It gladdened me to see so many expressing concern for others, not just for themselves, and having stories showing that they express that concern in their actions.

I have a great deal of sympathy for Japhy, simply because I, too, have real difficulty letting go of perceived injustice (usually to me) quickly. Perhaps for that reason, I am not ready to let people who provoke others by inappropriate behavior off the hook because the provokee didn't "recover fast enough." Fortunately, that's not the real issue here, and it clearly was not in the OP or in Japhy's more detailed description of the incident. Well, at least it was clear to me, though obviously not to others.

The real issue remains how we treat others engaged in our wonderful sport. Whether we like it or not, we really do have plenty of unwritten rules of etiquette that require local knowledge. The accepted ways to climb K-2 differ from those to climb the Lost Arrow. Fortunately, most of the replies here convince me that climbers as a whole still understand why politeness matters and leads to a better experience not just for others, but for themselves, too.

John
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Aug 24, 2016 - 05:02pm PT
Missed this thread before. I'm surprised anyone would pass when denied permission. Total dick move. I'm glad I read this thread because I wouldn't have expected that to ever happen; it's never happened to me. Now I'd be prepared to physically block someone's passage if they were being a dick like that.

I've allowed parties to pass when they've asked and I've seen they are faster, or we just offer. I've told a few parties no, who act all put out, then we proceeded to climb faster than them anyway. My partners twice allowed people to pass us, who said they were fast, without consulting me first, and the parties who passed were slower than us and made us wait. I've had parties ask when we are in a conga line and told them no, we are waiting too, them passing us won't get them anywhere but in front of us, although I did allow a party to pass us in a conga line because they weren't dressed warm enough and were freezing so we did them a favor.

If there is an alternate route it's fair game. If it's a foot race on the approach, it's fair game.

Free soloers are a different story. Although they have still pretty much always asked me if they could pass. Which I guess they should. If they fall they could kill you. I guess I would just never say no to a free soloer because they'd be pretty screwed if you said no.

I do believe in first come first served is the primary rule. I've had enough rocks and gear dropped past me that I understand if someone gets up early they have the right to climb with no one above them, even if they are slow. On 90% of climbs you can see how fast the people are moving on it and decide to wait or climb something else. Yeah it's a dick move when a part of 4 slowly crawl up a classic line, but again you can almost always see a cluster f*#k and decide not to climb it or resign to a lot of waiting.

And bad situations DO mess with your focus. It's not the cause of error but it can be a factor. Once a partner got a call with bad news at the start of a trip. It really messed with his head the whole trip. We had to scale back our plans and be super cautious. It's almost like being over tired or shell shocked. You just aren't operating at 100% capability.
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