Sh*t people say (to climbers)


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 14, 2012 - 08:53am PT
This is one of the better in these series I've seen :)


Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 14, 2012 - 09:22am PT
I spittled on my screen within the first second. Excellent video!!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 14, 2012 - 09:37am PT


Jim Henson's Basement
Nov 14, 2012 - 09:40am PT


Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 14, 2012 - 10:24am PT
ho ho ho

kinda makes you wonder what climbers say back

Boulder climber
Nov 14, 2012 - 11:38am PT
That was awesome.... HUH?Ņ

Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:05pm PT
Pretty much captures it all! Thanks!

Missing one (probably needs to go in the specialty department): Me and buddy sorting out gear at Ellery Lake turnout post mini-epic up Ellery Couloirs. Dude in big RV drives up, gets out. Looks at us. Looks up. Looks at us again. Looks up again. Then looks at us once more:

In pitch perfect Slim Pickens voice: "You boys gonna scale that peak?"


Trad climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
You beat me to it locker!

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
Climbing at Swan Slab one day, the driver of the Green Dragon said to the tourists "This is where the climbers Practice their climbing" PRACTICE?!? This is real climbing buddy! Later that day while riding my bike to the Manure Pile, I passed the bus and yelled "This is where the climbers practice riding their bikes!"

Trad climber
Montana, Whitefish
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
Is that a purse?

Watching him running up the rock with his trekking poles put tears in my eyes.

Good stuff GDavis.

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 14, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
Spot on with Mt. Everest, but forgot my second bane: El Cap! (I've stuck to mostly alpine and multi-pitch sans aid up til this point, it'll happen eventually.)

Gearing up at the parking lot for Ancient Art, hiker sees California plates: "You boys climbed that El Capeetan?"

Co-workers, "How was your weekend?" - "Great, was in Yosemite climbing". "Oh neat, did you climb El Capitan?"

While in Squamish, countless times, "Oh, from California? You climbed El Cap?"

If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked if I climbed El Cap, I could buy a new rack.

I should probably suck it up, buy aiders and ascenders and just do it one of these days. Maybe I'll just rap it though, I hear that's pretty easy.

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Nov 14, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
e butt of el cap counts when answering the tourists- but only then

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Nov 14, 2012 - 02:13pm PT

*I choked on my spit and hurt my stomach muscles laughing at this!

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 14, 2012 - 02:14pm PT
It that Fritz in that video???

From Fritz photos

photo not found
Missing photo ID#273782


Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 14, 2012 - 02:21pm PT
Yeah, the shoes, it's all about the shoes. All about the shoes. All about the shoes....

Good one!


Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 14, 2012 - 02:30pm PT
I was bouldering in Acadia NP, Maine in 2002 and everywhere we went we would get the 'What the heck are those things' in regard to our crash pads. So we just started randomly telling people our crash pads were actually for our traveling puppet show. I guess word spread quickly and about 3 days later a gaggle of kids with their parents came up to us and asked when the next show was. Sadly the only show they got was us flailing on some terrible rotten rock covered problems.


Sport climber
Nov 14, 2012 - 02:54pm PT
Co-workers, "How was your weekend?" - "Great, was in Yosemite climbing". "Oh neat, did you climb El Capitan?"

Old boss. But let me tweak it a bit for you.

Manager, "Hi Michael, what did you do this weekend?" - "Oh I took my girlfriend to Yosemite for her first time". "Did you climb El Capitan?"

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 14, 2012 - 02:56pm PT
A friend told this story. He was leading something, gripped, sewing machine leg, whatever, not making much progress. A suburban couple walking by stops to watch the drama as my friend is fighting for his life. "Come on, honey, lets go. He's GONNA make it," says the husband to the wife. They were just watching to see if he was going to fall!

Jim Henson's Basement
Nov 14, 2012 - 03:04pm PT
The one I always get from clueless clients and co-workers:

Them: "How was your hiking this weekend?"

Me: Er.. "it's rock climbing.. you know.. like straight up a vertical face.."

Them a week later: "So how was your hiking?"

Me: "Uh.. remember.. its actually rock climbing that I do.. I don't like hiking"

Them one week later: "So did you get out on a hike again this weekend?"

Me: *(sigh)* "Yeah... the 'hike' was great." Meh


Nov 14, 2012 - 03:09pm PT
I was going to post this but you beat me to it. That is our very own Horvath starring in this.


Trad climber
Nov 14, 2012 - 05:55pm PT
Not-to-be-named family member, straight out, after I got back from the Facelift:

"You actually tried to climb rocks? Aren't you a little OLD to try that sort of thing?"

Good thing I view these sorts of comments as ENCOURAGEMENT...


Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Nov 14, 2012 - 07:06pm PT
The best for me personally, was me following a route, and getting wigged out on the traverse crux.

It wasn't that bad, but hell, every traverse is a crux for me...

so I'm bout 30 feet off the ground, and hikers are watching me wig out while my partners are trying to give me encouragement. At long last, one of the hikers, a skinny little boy of no more than 13, yells up...

'need any help?'

HAHAHAHA, the idea of it knocked the fear out of me and I finished the crux.

The second best is...

'Nice Boots!' as I was belaying my partner.

Cause...I do have nice boots!

Hee hee



Trad climber
New and Bionic too!
Nov 14, 2012 - 07:13pm PT
"Aren't you a little OLD to try that sort of thing?"

You didn't look old to me at all. Certainly a good enough time to take up the sport.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 14, 2012 - 07:22pm PT
ORVATH THE FUNGUY, who talks back.

So, do yeew guys, like, have Fun? Or is it just all scabs and chalk and sh#t? NO, BUT SOME STRANGE SEX IS INVOLVED, DEAR.

You know anyone who died doing this? URGE TO KILL!!

You have an exceptionally large rack for a free climber. YOU TOO, BUT I'M NOT CRITICIZING!!

I'm in site 57. THANK YOU, Jees-US!!

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Nov 14, 2012 - 07:24pm PT
From a co-worker: "so if you fall you can die?"
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 14, 2012 - 07:40pm PT
Anders, get off my f*#king pink rope! :)

I had some genuine Canadian blended whishkey this afternoon at Dad's. The wake didn't last half as long as it should. I've come home and insulted Anders. I have a Cndn. lapel pin I want to give you next LIFT, MY TEE, cus you are the best Canaduck we got here.

Sh#t, sh#t, sh#t... Is that really a pink goddam rope? One solid pink? EEW!

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Nov 14, 2012 - 07:52pm PT
"you must have really strong hands..."

Ha, little do they know...



Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 14, 2012 - 07:58pm PT
The following account was contained in a letter I sent Steve Grossman, who asked whether I had done any climbing with Mark Powell. He posted it in one of the Needle's Eye threads and then I think it was reposted in the thread on my Red Rock trip report. In spite of the fact that it has obviously been around, it seems like this is a good place for it too, especially since the political aside at the end seems prophetic in view of the alternate realities advanced by the recent presidential campaigns.

Although we always camped together in the Oreville Campground, I don't recall many times when I ended up climbing with Mark. In fact, the only climb I can remember was an ascent with Mark and Bob Kamps of Sandberg Peak, a preposterously named and precarious-looking pinnacle perched right at the edge of a Cathedral Spires pullout.

Probably the most memorable feature of that climb was an interaction I had with some tourists, a story which now has been told and retold, having been appropriated by others and recounted as if it had happened to them. But you twisted my arm so I'll tell it again...

Mark was leading, Bob was belaying, and I was on the ground watching. A tourist pulled up and watched Mark lead for a long time, long enough to see him place a piton or two and clip into them, and finally reach the tiny summit. After watching all this, the guy got out of his car, walked over to me, and asked, "How'd they get the cables up there?" (Mind you, he and his wife had just watched how they got the cables up there.) I was very polite, and in my best imitation of the professor I would become, I offered a careful and detailed explanation of exactly what Mark had been doing. At the end of this mini-seminar, his wife (whose size seemed to preclude an exit from the car) leaned out the window and shouted to her husband, "How'd they get the cables up there?" To which her husband replied, in tones rife with exasperation, "I don't know, I can't get a straight answer out of this guy!"

Experiences like this caused us to make a bunch of tee shirts with the legend "Pinnacle Repair Servce" on the back.

Photo by Bonnie Kamps

Bob had one; I can't remember whether Mark got one or not. These shirts were, as I had hoped, self-explanatory to most of the tourists who stopped, the clanking of iron and occasional banging of pitons only reinforcing the repairing theme. Pinnacle repair was a notion they had probably already been exposed to by postcards sold locally showing Herb Conn rappelling down George Washington's nose while on one of the Park Service's periodic missions to patch cracks in the sculpture.

The tee-shirts were more successful than I anticipated, leaving us to ponder the fact that many people are happier with a false explanation that conforms to their preconceptions than with a true explanation that does not. One cannot help but wonder, 30 odd years later, what role this phenomenon may have played in the civic and political life of our nation.

Napa, ca
Nov 14, 2012 - 11:27pm PT
two that were missed...

I could never do upper body is too weak.

annnnnd my favorite...

Have you heard of that alex (pause) hogwartz, or hollandaise, or whatever guy? you know the guy that free climbed half dome? do you do that?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 14, 2012 - 11:59pm PT
T-Shirt Nation.

Ball-Cap Nation.

Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Nov 15, 2012 - 12:31am PT
Are you rappelling?

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Nov 15, 2012 - 12:36am PT
"Rock climbing?!? More like rock hugging!" My GF after our first climbing date.

Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
Nov 15, 2012 - 02:12am PT
I have a buddy, (same one who was with me at Ellery Lake, upthread), who calls tourists "Griswolds." As in the Chevy Chase Vacation movies. I kind of like that. "Touron" is a bit too harsh for my taste. Griswolds are well meaning boobs who you gotta love at the end of the day. Ha ha!

Have yet to run into any Griswolds with Beverly D'Angelo class wives though! :-)

Oh wait... my wife is in that class! Maybe that means I'm Clark Griswold!

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 15, 2012 - 08:08am PT
When did the rangers put in the pinions?

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Nov 15, 2012 - 09:40am PT
So it's dusk, my pard and I are topping out right below the South Chasm View overlook in the Black Canyon. A herd of Texans observe, with some concern. "Do you need help" etc. (as if). Then comes one I've never heard before:

"Did you make it to the bottom?"

Mountain climber
La Mancha
Nov 15, 2012 - 10:54am PT
From a n00b at JTree who was apparently on his first outdoor experience: "How do you know which holds to use?"

Santa Barbara, CA
Nov 15, 2012 - 12:58pm PT
While at the top of the second pitch on Black Wall, Sespe Gorge (right next to the road) - car stops to watch a bit, kid yells up "I'm so proud of you" - I quickly respond "So is my mom".

Ice climber
Nov 15, 2012 - 03:40pm PT
I was asked while waiting in line to buy a cup of coffee at Curry Village "Are you a dirtbag?" Ummm...sans caffeine, my brain could not come up with a sharp and witty retort of "No, are you a touron?" Instead, I just stood there wondering since when is the natural adjective for climber, dirtbag? Mind you I was clean, hair brushed and dressed reasonably and it is not like I am sooo sucky of a climber that I need to carry my rack to safely travel through Curry Village. The appropriate question for that would have been "Are you a poseur?" of course.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 15, 2012 - 03:43pm PT
LS: I got heckled on the finger crack start of Nutcracker once by bunch of Mexican guys who walked over from their picnic. It was pretty funny, really. They didn't offer to help.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 15, 2012 - 04:15pm PT
Comes around goes around Melissa. Last Sunday LS heckled ME as I started up a route. She didn't offer to help either. At least not then :-)

I was all, WAIT JUST A DAMN MINUTE HERE. Harassment is MY JOB damnit. I'm not supposed to be on the receiving end of it. Sheesh! I hadn't even made the first clip and both my partners were letting me have it right up the keister.

And I liked it. :-)


Gym climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 10:10am PT
As my friend and I were walking back to the car with a rope and some packs in Yos.

Tourist: hey you guys climb that there half point thing.

Us: No not today

Tourist: you got some of those clippy dealy things ?

we at this point had to keep on walking for fear we would add a lexicon of climbing in this guys head that was non existent.

Trad climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 12:03pm PT
psyched you guys like the video!

Nov 16, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
^^^^^^^ you make a shockingly good touron.

Oakland, CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
Holy sh#t, the peels of laughter that brought out.

"Does this climb have good grips?"

Mouthing excitedly and pointing: "It's a deer!"

Dying here, man, dying!

My favorite was when a German tourist mom approached and asked in glorious accent if I was free-grimping. Still love that word.
looks easy from here

Ben Lomond, CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 02:21pm PT
If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked if I climbed El Cap, I could buy a new rack.

I get the same thing with Half Dome. I just need to hurry up and climb Snake Dike already so that I can tell them yes (while conviently omitting that I climbed the side, not the Face).

Trad climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 02:27pm PT
Some woman to me after I topped out the Chief in Squamish after fourth-classing the easiest route up it, "Did you just climb up here?"
Me, "Yeah."
Her, "By yourself?"
Then her kid runs in and shouts, "He free soloed it!!!!"
Her, "......."

Also had plenty of people ask me how long it took me to climb up, if I have ever camped on the wall, etc.

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Nov 16, 2012 - 02:29pm PT
I have the same thing, with both el cap and half dome...

I tell them that those climbs are scary and I don't do scary things.

But more often then not, people don't perceive me as a climber...

Just a sherpa!!



Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 16, 2012 - 04:27pm PT
When I soloed snake dike, some tourist guys at the top figured they could go down the way I came up, and started heading down there to check it out. I talked them out of it, though.

frozenwaterfalls - I always though of myself as a dirtbag, in the normal sense. At some point, it became associated more with what we're doing, than with homelessness. First one to institutionalize it was probably Fitz Cahall in the Dirtbag Diaries. It's the modern day stonemasters but also includes snowboarders, surfers, etc.

"At both ends of the social spectrum, there exists a leisure class."

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:57pm PT
Totoaly true, I think ive heard all those comments in yosemite
Betty Uno

Mountain climber
Alti Plano
Nov 16, 2012 - 07:55pm PT
This was over twenty years ago but it's real so here ya go;

I was on the Montrose side of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison checking the progress of a couple of guys climbing the Hallucinogen Wall.
It's still a multi day climb, though considerably less days than back then.

A couple drove up in an RV, and stopped, wandered around, and asked what were we looking at. After the inevitable explanations, they were silent for a while and then the wife asked...

"Are they married?" and I honestly thought for a moment that she meant were they married to each other, don't ask me why, lol. I said no, they were not married.

She said; "Well ofcourse not, what sort of wife would let her husband do that?"

I immediately said; "What sort of wife would STOP her husband from doing what he loves to do?
Even if you could, it would make him less of a man, it would turn him into a...."

Ooops, I found I was staring at her husband at that point. They left, rather hastily, I thought.

It was such a culture clash I have never forgotten it.

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Nov 16, 2012 - 08:18pm PT

It looks like we are the sh!t.

Donít you just feel sorry for all those people that donít know what ATC stands for???

Americans are stupid...

(I am an American now, BTW)

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 08:22pm PT
Ya mean it stands for something other than Air Traffic Control?
Betty Uno

Mountain climber
Apr 25, 2013 - 09:04pm PT
Here's one that's related to dirtbaggery, in a way.

I was a PSIA certified ski instructor going up the lift with a student who appeared to be about 20 but I'm no judge. He said to me; "Where do you go in the summer? Where is your home?"

I said in the summer I continue to live right here and I have two summer jobs, plus I chop all my winter wood and do a lot of hiking and climbing.

He said; "You can't live here." I said, yes I do, and so do a lot of others.

He continued to repeat that no one could live in a ski area. That his Dad said all of us live in the nearest big city (230 miles away) and commute every week.

There was no gainsaying him. He really thought every one, all of us, the builders, the painters, grocery clerks, deli owners, bus drivers and bakers, not to mention ski instructors all actually lived in the nearest big city and ran right back to it the minute the ski resort closed.

"No one lives in the mountains," he said.

I gave up. But I'll never forget that "no one lives in the mountains."

Social climber
Apr 25, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
At Smith Rock:

"Are those snap-links?"

"What are those shiny things in the rock for?"
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