(Climbing) Partner Disappointments, Delusions and...

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happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 10, 2006 - 08:28am PT
....Downright Fiascos


I had a day yesterday that just....didn't go all that well. All things considered, I got off very easy on the "I'll not be climbing with you again" scale, but it occurred to me this morning that it might make for an interesting topic to hear stories for the Supertopian populace on such experiences. After all, for the most part, when it comes to climbing, this group has done it bigger, better, faster and/or first; thus, the stories which must abound should make for fascinating(and climbing-related!) reading.

I was going to suggest that stories of heroic saves, selflessness, moments of incredible intuition that changed the course of events, and other positive experiences also be told, but maybe there should be a separate thread for that one. If someone has a story in that front that they'd like to add, maybe they will want to start another thread - or put it here if they prefer. Either way is good.....
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Apr 10, 2006 - 08:52am PT
Some people are just reckless and dangerous, for no good reason at all.

The first time I climbed the Snake Dike (80's) was with this gung-ho, semper-fi-do-or-die Marine. As I seconded up one pitch, I was astonished to find a set of belay bolts a bit below where he'd stopped. The topo and the old Roper's guide were both quite clear: there is no way to place gear on the Dike, and there are only bolts at the belay stations.

When I got to his "belay", it was nothing but a small sling over a tiny chickenhead knob, which looked like it would break off if you stood on it. The guy had passed up the belay bolts, so he could lead up another thirty feet! We had about a thousand feet of air, with nothing but this one knob to keep us on the wall.

I just resigned myself to the fact that I was going to free-solo the next pitch, my first free solo, ever. At the time, I was about a 5.8 leader, but 5.4 unroped was WAY beyond what I felt comfortable doing.

I never climbed with that guy again.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
St. Louis
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:00am PT
Had a friend coming to town who wanted to go outside and climb. I'd quizzed this individual on their skill level and they assured me what they could and couldn't do.

We drive 2.5 hours, hike in, get to the warm up, where they then exclaim "oh, I've never belayed someone who leads. Only someone who topropes" My heart sinks, but I (foolishly) instruct them on how to lead belay. I wasn't tremendously worried since this climb was a warm up for me and I'd done it many times before.

I start of up the climb and realize quickly that this person has no control over their limbs and I will be soloing this. More than soloing, I'm going to climb this with the added twist of fighting being pulled of the rock by someone who I now believe has NEVER touched a rope before ever.

I've never been so scared in my life. When I got safely back to earth, I picked up our stuff and we went home. Lesson learned.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:05am PT
Nice Crimpie! I bet lots of climbers have a very similar story...
Rokjox

Trad climber
Degnan's Deli
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:23am PT
Happiegirrl, you better run off and reserve some more disk space, supertopo will need it after this topic passes both the SM and the Mussy combined. I could run-up several Gigs of space by myself. Should be fun though.
MUR

climber
A little to the left of right
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:23am PT
Several years ago, I met a great woman who was looking to get out of the gym, and onto rock. She also wanted to do trad lines. "Great" I thought, she's fun, attractive, and wants to do gear routes. So I take her out to Red Rock, and decide a nice easy climb, that I can sew up, is in order. The more pro she cleans, the more she learns right? We stroll over to Peaches, and get set up, when she informs me she has never given a lead belay. No problem, we go over the details, get her standing right next to the face, she seems to have it down pat.

Now peaches is very easy,(5.6ish), but still a fun climb, with a very enjoyable crux traverse on sandy slab. The climb is going perfect, lots of solid placements, and she is giving me plenty of slack. It's like she knows exactly when I need it, fantasitic belay, I am psyched. So I tiptoe through the slab, and can now see over a little bulge, and there she is; sitting on top of a boulder, 10 feet from the face, and no rope in sight. Turns out she never stopped feeding out slack, and had the whole rope through the gri gri by the time I was 30 feet up the route. Definately did wonders for my confidence in my abilities, but kinda soured our climbing relationship.

I learned that day, that my penis should have no say when I am choosing my climbing partners.
WBraun

climber
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:30am PT
Hahaha LOL Rob that is funny, she feed the whole rope through the grigri and then sat down.

Airhead .....
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:31am PT
Terrie, I'm going to break our little understanding and chide you a bit.

You know enough to not get in those situations by now.

Even if we can't be friends, (your choice not mine)I still want you to remain in one piece and enjoy your climbing.

This probably would serve better if posted on that other site, but here it is.

So as a new or relatively new climber, there are some things to consider. One is, Trad climbing is not bouldering or sport or gym climbing. There are many ways to screw up in trad, compared to bouldering or sport or gym climbing. Add multi pitch and you can get into real trouble fast.

The old saying is that if you make it though two years wihout killing yourself or getting killed you will be OK. I'm not so sure anymore, because so many people refuse to educate themselves or to seek education from qualified individuals.

Even though I an against teaching climbing on the internet, there are still a few things you can learn that MIGHT really help you stay safe.


How to choose a partner.

1. Watch them belay someone else. You have to know what good belaying is for this to work, haha! But basically, if you see that brake hand coming off the brake line, look for someone else. Now, I have seen guys who have climbed for 30 years using terrible belay practices, but, it still is not good. THe only difference is that the 30 year guy might just know what and when he can get away with stuff. He also might not. BUT, the NOOB has no idea what he's doing, he thinks everything is just fine.

There are other belay errors to be sure, you have to watch closely. Now, here's the second thing: IF you see someone committing egregious belay errors, you casually and in a nice way mention something about it to them, and you obeserve their response. IF they are glad you pointed out a flaw and correct it, good. IF they react in any other way, keep moving.

Another example of this is, say this potential partner is leading, and their leg is trapped between the rope and the wall. YOu are obligated to say something. If they react badly to your comment, they are an idiot. Don't climb with em. Someone that is too stupid to be glad you pointed out a potentially disasterous mistake is too stupid to be around. They are going to ruin someone's day sooner or later. Don't let it be yours.

2. Too much talk, not enough action. This is ALWAYS a bad sign. They Brag. Some climbers are characters, they talk a lot. Other climbers are very quiet. But good climbers will do what they say they can do, and they don't need to try to impress you with talk. There's a difference in a funny anecdote and a self agrandizing tale.

3. They try to get you to do things you are not ready for. There is a fine line here, but in the end, it will boil down to, you are not prepared, they do not really prepare you, and then they try to get you to do something you are not comfortable doing. The key is, someone who is really good will make sure that you are ready technically before they want you to do something new. Someone who is an idiot will just want you to do it because they say so, whether you have had the instruction and practice or not.

A person who is willing to let someone lead trad without first making sure that that someone can competently place the gear needed for the particular climb in question is downright dangerous. A person who puts people in new situations and purposely neglects to properly instruct those people or even leaves out some information or fails to give them the proper gear for the climb just to see what they will do is close to sadistic, and definitely stupid.

I realize some of this is stuff you have to see the potential partner doing, but some is stuff that you could pick up on in say, a PM email or telephone conversation.

I'll borrow a page from the crimposter here, and say that if your intuition tells you somethign is wrong, then it is wrong, and you should move on.

Well before this gets too long, I'll just say that even thoug hyou would liek to have experienced partners, there is sa differnece in good experience adn lucking out over a long period of time, haha!

Some have survived because they are careful and thoughtful, others have survived because they are skillful climbers and never had to deal with anythign too awful, and still others have gotten by purely on luck. All three will tend to think they are doing just fine thank you.

I climb with one fellow about whom it is said that god keeps him alive for the entertainment value. I climb with another who is as hard a climber as I can keep up with, and yet he was also an AMGA schooled (not grandfathered) guide and he NEVER takes risks that are unacceptable, he keeps the whole party safe, and yet he has put up some very scary and serious routes.

One last comment. IF your potential partner is also a moutaineer, there is a great chance that they are much more comfortable with certain situations than they should be. A mountaineering attitude is fine when you are mountaineering, but cragging is different. People die mountaineering all the time, but in cragging nobody has to die. Some climbers fail to adjust from mountaineering standards to cragging standards.

Oh well, that's a good morning rant.

Terrie, tell your story!!!

Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:40am PT
The first (and only) time I attempted Cap I met up with these two guys (can’t remember their names). This was 1976. I did some climbing with them the day before we set out on the Salathe Wall. Some stuff down by Reeds, I remember leading Siberian Swarm Screw. They seemed to be competent and okay climbers.

The next day we start up the Cap (fixing pitches). These guys had both assured me that they had done the Nose before (not together but with separate parties). I had done the Leaning Tower and Washington Column South Face.

The three of us took turns leading. The second day we get up to Heart Ledge and it starts sprinkling. They wanted to bail because they said it was going to start bucketing. I told them that firstly, I had checked the forecasts and secondly that it was a typical spring precipitation and that it would stop shortly. But no, they wanted to bail, so we rapped off.

Of course, it did stop sprinkling (hell, it wasn’t even rain as such) and the weather was brilliant for the remainder of the day and subsequent days. Pissed me of and I saw that they used me. I bought most of the provisions (food, drink and grass), as well as having much of the gear. Never climbed with those jokers again. C’est la vie, we live and we learn.

I never have climbed Cap, though I will someday. More than once.

(PS I was suppose to do the West Face with Peter Barton, but then Dale said he'd partner Peter, so Peter, quite sensibly I suppose, opted for the better and more experienced partner. Unfortunately... a sad day, he never made it to the face. RIP Peter.)
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 10, 2006 - 09:48am PT
My experience yesterday was the culmination of events, due to the fact that I had my dog out with us. I take full responsibilty for my part of the story, but what I felt was a sign that our partnership would never be a true one, was when I slipped off a boulder, trying to carry my dog through a talus field I had said was too difficult to navigate, and my partner ignored the scream that I emitted. Not even an "Are you okay?"

My partner had gone ahead because I said I needed to pee. I'd assumed he meant he'd go out of sight and I would be able to catch up. But instead, he hightailed it back to the trail, which was where I found him later, talking on his cell-phone.

As I said - I take responsibility for my end. And I wasn't hurt in the slip, though my entire shin scraped raw along a boulders edge. But, as my leg slipped, I rememeber the thought of "oh sh#t.....what will be the result of this?" My scream was the emotion of that, and a conscious alert to my parter who I knew was ahead on the trail. I didn't know what the fall was going to be, but it occurred to me that if I hit my head, I might be knocked unconscious. Or that I could twsit my ankle or break my leg. I thought it was a good idea to alert the partner..... Amazing that this much consciousness can occur in what has to be less than two seconds time.

As I said, I luckily wasn't hurt, and Teddy and I found the real trail which was easy terrain. I got back to the road and waited for my partner to finish his call, and asked if he had heard me scream. He said he had heard me arguing with my dog(which I had been, trying to persuade him to jump over a log and onto the boulder I fell off).

I looked him in the eye, and said "You didn't hear me scream?" here was no possible way that a person could have heard the conversation I had been having with the dog, and not the scream I had made. And his eyes betrayed him.

Now, I do understand he was pissy because there had been problems in the day. I had already refused one talus-filled because it was too diffucult to carry a dog through. And I even would understand listening after hearing the scream and thinking "well, at least the bitch isn't hurt" and not waiting for me to catch up.

But, to completely ignore it, which was what happened, is wrong. Really wrong. When I had fallen, I was so shocked not to hear "Terrie! Are you okay!?"

My leg definitely hurt, and I P&Med some pretty big swear words, in part because I wasn't sure yet if I was damaged. I even called out my partners name.

Nothing.

Like I said, this is nothing, in comparison to some of the things that can go wrong. But, a partnership is a partnership, and I know that:

1) I would not leave my partner in difficult terrain, carrying more than half the load, on an area they had said was going to be a problem.
2) I would NEVER ignore a shocked scream, obviously made during an accident, no matter how pissy I felt during the day(and by the way, this partner actually gave no indication that they had had anything but a fine ofd day at the crag. But I know that if it was me, I wouldn't have been a happy camper, so I can only assume they were affected. As well, I had earlier told them I'd buy dinner, and that they didn't have to replace the biner of mine they'd dropped when they sketched on lead earlier in the day....because I assumed I had made for a less than stellar day and wanted to make good at least as best I could.)

To me, this was a passive-agressive response, and frankly I'd have felt a hell of a lot better had the person said "Yeah, I heard you scream. Yeah, I heard you bitch afterward, but then I heard you pick up and continue on, and I was secretly glad you got smacked around because it was a shitty day and it was all your fault. But I'm glad you're not hurt."


So.....what the hell. Like I said, I got off easy. But, I take my parnerships seriously, and I know I will resnt this person for this. As well, they are not humble and I knew this has potential for trouble. So in a way, I think I am making more of this that others might, because I sense ominous possibilities. Climbing is dangerous, and all. I like to have complete trust in my partners.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 10, 2006 - 10:17am PT
I dunno happi, are you sure you're partner isn't telling a similar story about partner disappointments somewhere else?

Carrying a dog across a talus field when you're going climbing? WTF?
pc

climber
Eastside
Apr 10, 2006 - 10:30am PT
Nevertheless. What a dick. At least you're not married to him. ?

Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:02am PT
If you haven't carried a dog (preferably large) over talus, (preferably in the rain) to or from climbing,

You haven't lived.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:09am PT
Fine by me.

But, I've stuck myself more than once with a partner who claims to be motivated to get out and climb. Only to find out that they they are the World's Slowest Hiker. Or they dick around at the car. Or delay some other way. Or spend all day babysitting a dog. Or want to do 2 pitches and go home.

I'm the first to admit that there are plenty of climbers out there like that. I'll also admit that IT TOTALLY MAKES ME CRAZY. Partners who waste my time suck.

Truth be told, that's why I like sport climbing so much. There just isn't so much nonsense. There isn't such a production. There's less excuses. You just climb.
Leroy

climber
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:14am PT
I´ve climbed not once but 3 times with convicted psychokiller and thief Luke the Fluke Stong.The first time he´s in the parking lot talking 5.12.So we go to Latin swing etc.He does not climb1 foot off the ground..Second time ,the Fish and I need another belayer to man the backrope......To be continued
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:15am PT
A minor point of clarification...

dogs are not considered 'part of the load.' Certainly not part of the community load. Unless it was HIS dog, lol.

DMT
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:16am PT
BTW, I'm ususally the one getting written about, as in

never again!

DMT
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:19am PT
a good partner not only doesn't dawdle, is ready, and motivated, but brings these things out in you.

Climbing with such indivuals makes the occasional forays with the other kind all the more painful.

Not always practical, put it's good to select new partners from people you've already 'seen' in action.

I think a lot of soloing stems from partner impatience, it has for me.
Zetedog

Trad climber
PGH, PA
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:26am PT
Back in the 90's in Austin I had a rope gun named An. Standing about 5'4" and of some far east persuasion that I never discerned, An amazingly lead 12's comfortably, and was readily available as a partner. I was always willing to give a belay if he could set something up that I could flail on.

An was also a ladies man, but had an ego that wouldn't allow him do date women taller than he, which pretty muched limited him to date women that were also of some far east persuasion. An was constantly bringing new women to go climbing with us (often their first time), which I normally didn't mind. He'd usually lead up something really hard, with me belaying and the new love interest watching, then I'd follow on TR, with the new girl belaying (normally on a gri-gri), and An nearby giving proper belay lessons. And by nearby, I mean the type of lessons were he would be standing right behind here, a la a tennis lesson.

The girls that An were bringing seemed to get smaller and smaller in progression, to where the one he brought on this fateful day was maybe 4'10", and weighed 80 pounds.

The normal climbs that we'd set up on the greenbelt were taken, so we decided on a climb called meet the flintstones, a 5.9 that I have never led. Somehow, An swindles me into leading this (I was leading low 11's at the time), and further swindles me into letting this girl belay me (It's well below your ability, you'll have no problems).

I tie in, she puts me on belay, Then I do the math: Me = 2.5*( 80lb Asian girl), and decides she needs a ground anchor. there's nothing really close to the wal, but we find a good set of rocks a ways out, and sling her belay loop to the rock, and I set up.

I Climb up past this cave some 75 feet, clip a draw to the last bolt, pull up the rope, My left foot slips off, and I take flight just before I clip the rope in. I fall past the ankle shattering ledge on the cave, missing it somehow, 20 some feet in total.

I look down and see the girl about 6 feet in the air, not even making any bend in the straight line that was created between the rocks the ground anchor was attached to and the first bolt. She managed to keep a death grip on the free end of the ATC. She was literally hanging by the ATC on the underside of this line, looking like she was on a tyrolean. An, on the other hand, was double over on the ground. He was standing right behind her for the fall, with the ground anchor line running between his legs for his belay instruction. Anchor sling came taught, and smacked him right in the junk. Not a move one normally uses to impress the ladies.

With some help of neaby climbers, she lowers me. I don't think I ever climbed with An again.

ToddE
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:29am PT
Well I'm glad you are OK, Terrie.

BTW, remember our discussion about the dog-in-a-pack? I met someone yesterday who has done it, LOL! It works. That dog has even rappeled. I really think with a little effort you could get Teddie to get in the pack. HE's not nearly as stubborn as you are, after all, hehe.

Terrie, I know you are very careful about who you hang out with, so I have to wonder how you got into this situation in the first place.

I also wonder, was this the first time you met with this person?

Maybe not, but for those first meetings, I'd advise EASY GROUND, such as, in your case, Peterskill. Someone who pooh-poohs the idea of meeting on easy ground for a get aquainted and on the same page climbing day might just be one of those people you don't need to be climbing with.

BTW, easy ground means the approach as well. I would think twice about agreeing to go class 4 or even class 3 approaching with someone I did not know I could trust. The classic example around the south would be the approach at Tallulah, where you could easily screw up and die.

HAHA, even with someone you can trust, it can be serious. Once a funny fellow and I were on a 'trail' in NC, he was leading the way and I was following. He missed the turn and came close (but not too close) to leading us off a cliff. OF course I have never let him forget it.

Another time in NC a very well known climber in our group came close to crushing his head when he slipped on some loose rock and sild into a depression, followed by rocks big enough to crush his head. One did hit his wrist and one his ankle, but the one aimed at his head stopped just to the left or right as they tell it. Of course that time there was no trail ,and this guy had been going up this scree for years Without incident.

Fortunately, unlike your 'friend', Terrie, the infamous RRK was close enough to see or hear what happened and he went over and pulled the guy out.

I guess the theme of this post is that climbing is safer than walking on the trail? And LOTS safer than tow trucks, or slacklines, ROTFLMAO!

Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Apr 10, 2006 - 11:38am PT
My first date with my (now) wife was out climbing. I was terribly impressed that the first day she touched rock, wearing hiking boots and a swami, she did 8 pitches of climbing with no fussing or falls -- just about hiking up Calypso and Pseudo Sidetrack in Eldo. I've told that story with pride many times.

Until I read this thread today, though, I never thought of the fact that she hadn't belayed before, either.

(Not a story of disappointment I guess.)

happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 10, 2006 - 02:20pm PT
CIS - I am without a doubt the partner has a story about the girl and the friggin' dog(unless.....life just doesn't register very deeply). I thought I had alluded to that, and also said that I take responsibility for my side.

What I had issue with had nothing to do with the dog, other than it probably darkened his perception of me and led to the behavior - It was about a person hearing their partner in distress, and ignoring it. Actions speak louder than words, and there are plenty of of situations where trouble could occur in a more dire situation. Do I want to pair myself, again, with someone who has demonstrated that they may ignore me if I am in trouble?

No.

And yes, I'd partnered with the person before, with the dog, and "dog mode" was supposed to be in play that day. From the start, it had been ignored, even though I explained more than once, the limitations I needed to impose.

Anyway - the thread isn't supposed to be about Terrie and Teddy and the evil moss-covered boulderfield of Sleep Hollow(a damned cool place, by the way, though not with a small dog). I intended th thread as a chance for people to offer their own experiences with partnership foibles, faux pas and other experiences where they lived to tell the story.


Crimpergirl

Sport climber
St. Louis
Apr 10, 2006 - 02:30pm PT
Here here Jaybro! I'm with you 100%.

I hate to get outside with someone who goofs off, piddles around, etc. meaning that at the end of the day only a couple routes have been accomplished. That is maddening. If I don't leave mentally and physically exhausted, filthy and with some bruises or blood, it wasn't a successful climbing day...
Ouch!

climber
Apr 10, 2006 - 02:34pm PT
Hey Locker! Were you mean to Happi's dog?
Mike.

climber
Apr 10, 2006 - 03:58pm PT
Just acknowledgment once again to Rick the Dick. Now, being a dick is not a horrid thing in itself. In climbing it can even be a good thing. But,

Flat broke at the store after a day of desert cragging with RtD, the member sympathetically coaxes me from the car with offer to buy me a drink. Hello, cold Bud. In the store, he eyes my product selection, "No, I meant like a drink-drink," and immediately recants the funding.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 10, 2006 - 04:48pm PT
Happi,

Sorry, I didn't mean to bust on ya. Yeah, it was really lame of that guy not to check to see if you were ok.

Seems like I constantly have to relearn the lesson that not everyone climbs like I climb. And I mean climb as every step of the process. Fortunately, most of my partners have been great, and I'd bend over backward to help them out, even away from the rock.

But sometimes, I'm blinded by my own stoke as well as a few, eh, misrepresentations. Which can lead to some exciting and/or excruciating times at the crag. Plus, a few of my partners have been, well, a bit dramatic.

Naturally, I'm as much to blame for these misadventures as the partner I didn't mesh with. Sort of. It's just another one of those risks you take when you climb...
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Apr 10, 2006 - 05:07pm PT
Partners who toprope laps - bugs
locker

Trad climber
Joshua Tree Ca
Apr 10, 2006 - 05:43pm PT
as with all realtionships, healthy communication is key...

Terrie, pick and choose wisely young lady!



EDITED in later because somehow I missed reading it...

"Hey Locker! Were you mean to Happi's dog?"...

Fuk dude you did it again... Busted me up big time...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 10, 2006 - 06:24pm PT
Several times I've had partners on walls who, given the easier free pitchs because of their lesser experience, somehow have come to the conclusion that despite agreeing to FIX THE LEAD ROPE AND HAUL THE BAG they now feel obliged to ignore the agreed upon protocol and first haul the bag, then pull up the slack and put me on belay.

Twice now wind and position have made communication impossible and I've jugged and cleaned only to discover that the rope isn't tied in and my partner is wimpering and whining about not being able to hold me much longer...

I wish I could remember the name of the first guy (its been 30+ years) but the second was Rick McKinney. I post this as a public service to others as this person is walking proof that the term "common sense" is a contradiction.

If I ever find myself in that position again (and I will try HARD not to) and my erstwhile belayer whines, "But its freeeeeeeeeee." I'm gonna say, "So are you." and execute my very first mid-wall divorce. I mean, its one thing if you AGREE to wait for him to haul and then belay you (very inefficient), but if he is so stupid that he thinks there is some kind of unspoken rule against jugging a free pitch and you MUST follow not jug then this person is dangerously stupid.

Cut 'im loose, or better yet, avoid roping up to begin with.
locker

Trad climber
Joshua Tree Ca
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:45pm PT
My Armchair Psycho bull sh#t follows...

Most of we ingnorant beings have the tendency to "expect" others to think like we do. And with that expectation comes the set up for failure. Though it is rarely done, a good way to avoid this type of mess is to openly communicate each others "Do's and Don't" and "Wills and Won'ts" and so on and so on...But for the sake of climbing, we head out with practicly anyone willing to tie in... and if they don't know their sh#t, you teach them on the spot... Stupid! Just begging for trouble... I have done it too many times and most likely will contiue to do it... for the sake of climbing!!!...
Rokjox

Trad climber
Degnan's Deli
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:50pm PT
Jesus ain't that the truth. A thousand times I needed to learn that lesson.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 10, 2006 - 09:50pm PT
And then there are people who can't keep their agreements.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 10, 2006 - 10:35pm PT
I climb with strangers all the time but ever since I had a website, I've never had a bag experience with anybody. I think the ones who wouldn't like me figure it out in advance.

and over the years I've developed a sense of climbers and what they're probably capable and incapable of.

Maybe I'm too California and easy going.

I've done some climbing in the more distant past with a few folks that I knew rubbed me the wrong way. My best example is recorded in my Shield trip report here

http://yosemiteclimber.com/ElCapShield.html

Additionally I've taken a couple falls that were 15-20 feet longer than they needed to be due to bad belaying, but I don't fault the person for making a mistake (much) It helps forgiveness when you don't break anything before the rope stops you.

Puttering can be irritating, but I'm not shy about prodding a bit when time's of the essence.

Peace

Karl
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Apr 11, 2006 - 05:43am PT
Not only did I mess up with the "combustibles", I assembled the ledge wrong, ("2 am sooprise," **!), party fouled the last malt and put not one, but two core shots in the rope jugging over the Cyclops Eye.


I won't bore you with details, but suffice to say, they never climbed with me again.


Nice link, btw, KB...
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Apr 11, 2006 - 06:07am PT
Karl, great story about the Shield. Was that your first 'partner' that turned to a life of crime, robbing banks (he must not have been very good if he got caught), or do your other partners have a predilection for being Butch Cassidies and the Sundance Ki(n)ds. LOL ;-)

PS If we ever climb together, am I going to find myself fighting some hidden demons or desire to stick up banks? Can't hitting old ladies over the head and grabbing their bags suffice?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 11, 2006 - 09:06am PT
Some people have a subconscious need to subvert themselves. My partner was a smart guy who should have known he wouldn't get away with his crimes, and deep down he knew that he was setting himself up for a disaster.

First you paint yourself into a corner and then you've got nothing left to drink but paint.

Unless you have the vision to say "enough of this" and walk right over the paint and start differently

Peace

Karl
spyork

Trad climber
Fremont, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 09:23am PT
Wow, great story Karl.

Robbing banks, not for me. The feds have really long memories and constitute the largest armed gang of thugs in the world.
maculated

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 10:04am PT
Hey Dave:

"But, I've stuck myself more than once with a partner who claims to be motivated to get out and climb. Only to find out that they they are the World's Slowest Hiker. Or they dick around at the car. Or delay some other way. Or spend all day babysitting a dog. Or want to do 2 pitches and go home."

Hee hee hee . . . that last one . .. reminds me of a guy I met who had me drive three hours to meet him to climb and then had to stop after the second route because his shoes were too hot.

Terri, sounds to me like you're expecting chivalry from your climbing partners . . . you'll find that most partners worth their salt won't put up with princessing but will work with you to save your asses on true rescues. I once went skiing with some guys that had never gone before, taught them how to do it, then I would pass them as they negotiated, screwing around in the trees. I finally ate it , thanks to hubris, and they skiid right on past me while i lay there, poles in one direction, googles in another, feet pointed at odd angles. I was all huffy when I caught up to them about their not stopping to "save" me, and they said, "Ehh, you were fine. You taught us!"

Woman, get yourself a dog that doesn't need carrying or don't take it! *I* would be annoyed by that.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 10:20am PT
Hah! Busted by maculated. In all fairness, we did 4 pitches that day (all led by me, eh?), and I would have kept climbing if I didn't have a blister on my achilles the size of a quarter. Note that I didn't hike slow, dick around at the car, or spend all day babysitting a dog. ;)

But I've had my gumb moments, yes I have!

In the way of full disclosure, I've driven from Sacramento to Arch rock for a day trip, and only climbed (read: dogged) the Gripper. Only thing I did that day, got too worked. Felt like I let my partner down. Ripped my shirt. Ate a big burger in Mariposa. Limped home.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 11, 2006 - 10:41am PT
Mac - I do not expect "chivalry." I expect the same thing I provide - common decency. Would I NOT think a woman would call out "Hey! Are you all right?" upon hearing a person fall????? It has NOTHING to do with gender.

You all know......I was hesitant to describe the experience that inspired this thread, for just such comments as have been directed my way.

Honestly - I had intended to bring a "climbing-related" thread to the forum. One about people's experiences gone wrong with climbing partners.

I did not solicit advise...don't recall any words whatsoever that were anything like "what do you think?"....and am a little annoyed that people have brought it upon themselves to go on about it.


MUR

climber
A little to the left of right
Apr 11, 2006 - 10:43am PT
No sh#t, enough of the Anne Landers BS, bring on the stories. I demand entertainment.
maculated

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:02am PT
Oh, Dave, can't pull the "I led all the pitches" this time - that was my first time out after my partner decked, man. :) You were my emotional ROCK. Ahem. Except for my needing to body belay you because of that crap anchor.

Chivalry exists in both genders, we just like to associate it with "knights."

Maybe my expectations are low for my fellow human. ::shrug::

I got stories, but they've all been told. I got wiser in my old age and don't put up with drama anymore so no stories.

Probably the best "read the signs" story I can think of is my Cathedral Peak story: http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=36148
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:07am PT
"I did not solicit advise...don't recall any words whatsoever that were anything like "what do you think?"....and am a little annoyed that people have brought it upon themselves to go on about it."

Sorry about that... but your post raised several 'partner red flags' for me...

So in trying to keep in the spirit you intended, here's my story of a bad partner.

I arrange to meet this guy to climb at Sugarloaf (coincidentally, this is the day before I'm supposed to climb 4 pitches with maculated). He shows up at the meeting point, and he is so freaking stoned he can't talk. I'm not joking. He can't talk! First time I meet the guy, 8 am or so, and he can't speak. Just mumble and gurgle. But I'm hard up, so I climb with him anyway despite serious misgivings. I did make him lead the first pitch. Day passed w/o major incident, but never climbed with him again.

Another time, we go to Lover's Leap with a few folks I meet at the gym. I'm looking to pick up more partners, and this gym crowd seemed competent. So we stroll, at a painfully slow pace, stopping every 30 feet to look at the cliff, over to the East Wall. Those of you familiar with the Leap know what that means. Yep, we're gumbs, and getting passed by several parties on the trail. I am dying on the inside.

So we get there, and miracles of miracles, no one is on The Line. So I grab one of the group, a young lady, and march on over. Climb first pitch. Frequent looks down confirm that my partner is sitting down, not watching me at all, with a loop of slack in the dirt. I comment about this, which results in immediate correction. Alas, the infraction was repeated moments later. Sigh.

Bringing up second now, and she is hanging all over me. Ugh. To compound it, I'm belaying off my harness, from a stance. I hadn't really expected that it would take her an hour to get up, hanging all over my kidneys. Clearly, we have to bail. I can't take two more pitches of this.

She finally reaches the belay. I tell her we have to bail. She's disappointed, and says "I could do it if I didn't have this pack on." She's got a pack, that I thought contained her tennis shoes and one nalgene. Turns out, she is an aspiring trad leader, and has purchased a full rack, which is stuffed in the pack. I am incredulous, but am told she had it in there "to get used to the feel of climbing with a rack on."

She hands me the pack and it is sooo heavy I can barely hold it. The thing weighs a ton!

Fortunately, there is a party below, and we are able to lower the rope and climb on w/o incident. ALthough, she did get a little snappy when I tried to impart a little anchor wisdom. "I know you think I'm a beginner, but I know what I'm doing." Right.

So that was that. She went on to climb the Haystack later that day with a couple of the other gym group, while I met slobmonster from this site, and he graciously fed me PBRs in the campground. Oh, you know they epicked on Haystack. Wild day.

The weekend was redeemed though. I climbed with Slobmonster the next day, who is a great partner, and had one of my best days of the season.
MUR

climber
A little to the left of right
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:08am PT
Ah c'mon Mac, I have read all your stories, and they are always worth the price of admission. *sigh* Guess I'll have to go study for my Minerals exam.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:15am PT
hah hah, just teasing you Kristin. That was back when your dog wasn't such a vicious little beast. I spent a whole day with the Fury, and wasn't bit once.

That would change in subsequent years...
maculated

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:18am PT
Well, thanks, Mur. Everyone keeps whining that I don't do them any more, but seriously - you get stuff fairly wired and climb with the same regular partners, no epics! Not as fun to write! :)

I know. Stupid dog. She was totally chill back then.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:18am PT
Trad and diabetes do not go together for me. If you have witnessed insulin shock, you'll understand. Fortunately did not occur until after climbing was done.
maculated

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:30am PT
You know, thinking about it . . . Mr Snarky CI isn't exempt from the odd trip report. Sport climber can't even FIND Cathedral. :) I don't know why I put up with that peon.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/articles/?id=2005

Now, that was an epic day of idiots. And none of it is my fault! You see!

caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:35am PT
It was only a matter of time before you trotted that one out!
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Apr 11, 2006 - 11:57am PT
So, back in 1978 I go down to Canon Tajo to do a mostly free wall with this guy. Pretty high up on the second day, we unrope to trudge up a 3rd class ramp and set up below the dreaded no-pro 5.8 pitch. This guy is so rattled he takes off without the rack, trail rope, or leader pack after he fiddles in a piece (the only piece on the pitch) at the very bottom. I find myself following this diagonal pitch above a big old jelly roll arch with no pro, wearing the bivy gear in a pack on my back, the rack in a teardrop pack worn kangaroo style, and the trail rope in a coil around my neck while wearing one EB and one rotten burlap chinese surfer shoe (yeah, so I'd left one of my rock shoes at home...). Sweating bullets about the prospective swinging fall into the abyss, I scrabble up to the belay. Remember: he'd left the rack behind. He's got my chalk bag sling, sewn on a 1952 Sears console sewing machine looped around a small dead tree for a belay!

Turns out it wouldn't have mattered anyway since halfway up the next pitch I discovered I'd failed to complete my tie in back on the third class ledge. When I tugged on it, the rope pulled right out of my harness.

But yeah, I continue to climb with BVB to this day.
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Apr 11, 2006 - 12:42pm PT
Good partners are very hard to find. Somebody who will let you have off days and also understands your fears reguarding climbing is very rare find. This same person who can also motivate you to get down and really try hard, is part coach and psychologist. If you yourself can return the same vibe you will be a team. Being a team is what it's all about IMHO.

Lots of what is pointed out on this thread is the easy stuff, stay away from Bozos is a good rule to live by.

I have also noted that people who are in "relationships" sometime don't do to well as partners....under the stress of climbing all the other junk BOILS to the surface..gets uguly.

I don't know if any of you folks have ever thought of it this way but I'll toss this out:
It's easyer to find a good sex partner then it is to find a good climbing partner.

And if you have to carry your UNINJURED dog you should just leave em at home.

C-YA
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Apr 11, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
This is more a story of how stupid I was. About 1980, going to do reg route on Half Dome. Trained with this guy for about a year and we climbed well together etc. We leave home and are loaded with all our gear and drive 7 odd hours to the Valley. We pull into the parking lot and start to get all out gear packed and he unloads the bombshell that he has "forgotten" his approach shoes AND he's wearing flip flops(thongs then). I am standing there wanting to kick him in the balls, so "we"(I)figure he can do the approach in his climbing shoes and I'll carry the haul bag to the base so his feet don't get anymore mangled than need be. So I trudge up the trail and when we get to Nevada Falls I am in desperate need of a break, so we stop to fill up water bottles and eat. Partner says he'll go fill up bottles, so I'm relaxin about 50 ft away and Partner is taking a dump. Well a bear comes outta the woods courious as to the bottles and in grabbing the bottles, the bear punctures most of the bottles. I am FREAKING out watching this happen, but yet to be discouraged, We are able to duct tape most of the damage. The hike continues and as we start heading up the hill outside of Little Yosemite my quads start to go into cramping mode, I take fifteen or twenty steps, stop, let the legs deflame, fifteen or twenty more steps, etc. This dang bear is tracking us all the way to the base of half dome, and my Partner is offering no help with the loads, he is carrying the ropes(2). So we make it to the base unload and spend the night. The next morning my Partner wakes to tell me he has drunk a lot of water that night and his feet are blistered from hiking in his climbing shoes, not easily discouraged, I offer to lead the first 3 or 4 pitches. At the top of the 3rd pitch he jugs up and tells me, "I think I bit off more than I can chew"!!! Now I'm discouraged or better yet just raged. I beg with him that if he follows and hauls I will lead everything. We spend about an hour before he decides it is time to bail. We get to the ground, I grab the rack and 1 rope and start hualing adze back to the Valley, he gets the hual bag to himself. We meet later that day in the Valley and he asks if he can drive my car home! I gave him the keys and asked him to lock em in the truck at my house. Never saw him again. Sad story because his climbing ability was there to do the route, but he didn't have his head together, and I figure he forgot the shoes at home on purpose and never intended to go up on the route anyway.
Peace
davidji

Social climber
CA
Apr 11, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
guyman wrote:
"Lots of what is pointed out on this thread is the easy stuff, stay away from Bozos is a good rule to live by. "

Yup. In my one really bad partner story, if I had followed that rule and gone my own way after the first disappointing day, I would have had a much better weekend.

My other "bad partner" is a friend I really like to climb with, but he actually tries to epic (he admitted it to me). After all his delaying tactics the last time he tried to make us epic, I'll still climb with him, but nothing bigger than grade III, and that only with headlamps.

The problem with the above bozos rule is at least one of my partners would have to stop climbing with me...

Rokjox

Trad climber
Degnan's Deli
Apr 11, 2006 - 03:03pm PT
This is a better use for the stories of lousy weenie partners than where it is setting,

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=166379#msg167041
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 11, 2006 - 04:30pm PT
I told this one over in gumbyville about a "wannabe" partner and the reaction got me to laugh about it for the very first time.

A crowded weekend in Snow Canyon and I'm doing a roped solo of Pygmy Alien a steep 140' pitch. The bottom end of the rope is clipped to a bolt and I'm just over halfway.

I hear, "Hey! You need a belay!"
Next thing, I feel my rope begin pulling on me.

It seems some nOOb twit has decided to unclip my rope and try to belay me but lacking enough rope to put around her waist she starts tugging on it to get more.

Her friends reclipped the rope and hustled her away before I ran out of curses, insults and threats.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Apr 11, 2006 - 05:32pm PT
Well Terrie, sorry if I gave advice, but you and probably others still need it.

But I totally agree with you that it was only common decency you were looking for. I indeed told a story about one of RRK's friends who slipped on some rocks (no dog involved) and had to be carried out. HE was no princess, he's a famous NC climber. My money says that RRK didn't need to hear anything but the rocks moving to head in that direction.

If you had been in that situation, which you could have been, nobody would be accusing you of princessly conduct, LOL.

Just for anyone who is interested, Terrie can be a bit of a pain at times, but she's mostly worth it. I'm 100% sure she would not go off and leave someone who might be hurt. And the dog is a good dog to have around, he's very entertaining. How someone could not have fun with Teddy I really don't understand.

And when the chips are really down, as in, fall to the death if you screw up scrambling, Miss Terrie did just fine. And she's at had her hand on and made a few moves and done a few pitches on some seldom climbed stuff in remote locations, and had a bit of an adventure or two in the dark, as in, one of her first leads was by headlight, on something she had never seen before, and she did very well. She's also had her hands on some virgin rock.

But I'm glad to see that what we have here is a bunch of hard core, no nonsense, giterdun climbers. Yeah, you trade route terrors really are inpressive.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 11, 2006 - 05:39pm PT
They aren't trade routes until AFTER i put them up.
Newton

Big Wall climber
Apr 12, 2006 - 07:03am PT
Dysfunctionalism helps people be better climbers.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Apr 12, 2006 - 07:13am PT
HAHA Ron, you crack me up!

Just so you know, 'twas was not thee of whom I spoke...

And I'm really not trying to rile anyone, just making a point.
Newton

Big Wall climber
Apr 12, 2006 - 07:17am PT
And I'm really not trying to rile anyone, just making a point

ZAllen

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Apr 12, 2006 - 09:02am PT
I used to swear that I was going to start a poloroid album of all the people *not* to climb with. Like a picture of the slung rhododendron anchor, and then the guy's picture next to it.
That was in the Gunks where dangerous and/or obnoxious partners are a dime a dozen. Really had to weed through some bad ones before meeting some great ones.
Newton

Big Wall climber
Apr 12, 2006 - 09:19am PT
Polaroids would work better.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Apr 12, 2006 - 12:39pm PT
Davidji,
Not to take credit where is not due, I think Guyman said what you said I said.
Peace
Rajmit

Social climber
Cambridge, MA
Apr 12, 2006 - 07:29pm PT
An ST user sent me an email that said your terrier is annoying.

dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Apr 12, 2006 - 07:32pm PT
Slung rhodos are bomber, whimpo.
Bobbleseth

Gym climber
Miami Florida
Apr 12, 2006 - 08:16pm PT
Rajmit, it was me that sent you that Email. But you obviously misread it. Here it is again. Now read more careful this time.

"An ST user sent me an email that said Rajmit is annoying."
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Apr 12, 2006 - 08:26pm PT
Is Rajmit's last name Moran?
locker

Trad climber
Joshua Tree Ca
Apr 12, 2006 - 08:37pm PT
actually his last name does start start with an 'M'. I can't remember what it is though... Roger Msomething...So Gary... you maybe right...
Rajmit

Social climber
Cambridge, MA
Apr 12, 2006 - 08:48pm PT
You guys still think I'm Roger. Wow. I really thought that you guys were a smarter group of people than that. I wonder if I should've said "April fools" a long time ago, though I gain so much laughter from your lack of reasoning and logic.
Anastasia

Trad climber
Near a mountain, CA
Apr 13, 2006 - 05:51am PT
I use to date a climber that had very limited verbal skills. He had learned how to climb through trial and error. It was also his method of teaching...
He would put me on things that were over my head, get us into an epic adventure and then give me a specific "look." It was this "oh shiest you are going to die, you better save yourself" look... (I hated that look.)
Our last epic was during a crack climb. I followed him to the bolt and then discovered that we didn't have enough rope to rappel down. We didn't have the option to top out and we didn’t have the right gear to set up another anchor below us, etc… Instead I found out that he had another plan, we were to climb off rope across the face into an easier crack. We were then going to free climb it the whole way down...

I remember focusing on each hold... Somehow I made it across and slowly fitted myself into the "easier" crack. It was pretty solid until I found myself in a very interesting section. A tree had grown out of the crack and was making the area crumble and fill up with dirt... It created a fragile ledge that you could walk across to another spot on the wall that had huge jugs. Nothing was solid going across but it looked a whole lot easier then climbing the slab around the tree. When I put my full weight on the dirt, I quickly realized my mistake… I felt my world shift and my feet fly over the ledge. At the same time, I flung myself across to grab a tree branch and held for life. I felt my hands being ripped by the bark; the pain was sharp as my shoulder jerked. I ignored the pain and held tighter, feeling the blood dripping across my wrist as my whole body dangling in the air sixty feet from the ground… The world slowed down and at the corner of my eye I could see him giving me the "look." He then called out to me; "don't let go." Somehow with this golden advice ringing in my ears, I pulled myself back in and made it down.
We dated for another year after that, but never did another rope climb. I was sick of epics, so I developed a preference for bouldering.
Looking back I can honestly call him both the best/worst teacher I ever had... He was the best teacher because I did go pass my limits on a regular basis. He was the worst because he kept putting me in danger.
(It was an interesting stage in my life…)



Rock!...oopsie.

Trad climber
pitch above you
Apr 13, 2006 - 07:12am PT
This thread reminded me of an epic TR I read a while ago on another board (canyoneering this time). About as bad a time as I can imagine 2 people and a dog having... especially the dog. Give it a read and happie's dog woes will seem inconsequential at best:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/canyons/message/25484

--->bob
pyro

Trad climber
stoney point,ca
Apr 13, 2006 - 09:26pm PT
hello!

To Anastasia_ Sorry I ever became your partner from Hell.
Sorry for ever investing in that "Fish" Harness.
Looks as if the climbing world will never climb with me.
I must be limited. wow- I feel horrible!

I must remember that day.
You must have been soo pissed at me since that day.
I ran into a guide over the weekend his name is todd and he works for Bob Gains. I'll sign up ASAP. It should make me the safe climber that I need to be. thanks for the compliment.
Limiting vocabulary is being fixed, because I go to school for that.
I can't do anything right can I.
locker

Trad climber
Joshua Tree Ca
Apr 13, 2006 - 11:45pm PT
Rajmit wrote:

"You guys still think I'm Roger"

Well OK then... Who the fuk are you? Try being real for once and not some bullshit Troll...
Newton

Big Wall climber
Apr 14, 2006 - 11:35am PT
My name is Dorothy and this is my little friend, Toto.
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