The fine art of screwing the second


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Trad climber
the south
Topic Author's Original Post - May 29, 2006 - 06:49am PT
I posted this in a thread that asked if racks were now too big on rc.communism.

Note to the PC, easily offended crowd, you might not want to read this. You need a sense of humor to fully appreciate it.


What you mutts don't understand, is that carrying too much gear is part of an art--

the art of screwing the parasitic second!

Consider, the second, who climbs the route on your dime, criticises your placments, carps about your speed, laughs at your weakness, short ropes you at a critical moment, forgets the beer, you name it.

But most importantly, he climbs without the extra weight of the rack.

So heres how it works.

YOU drag your huge rack up to the crux. YOU hang all excess gear at the crux. You pull the crux, and finish.

Now, when the slimeball smug second reaches the crux, he has to carry all the extra weight through it.


I am probably going to get in big trouble for telling this dark secret of trad, but I don't care. IT's high time someone gave out good information about this big rack business, and now you know...

the rest of the story!

Apologies to Paul Harvey.

Trad climber
the south
Topic Author's Reply - May 29, 2006 - 08:18am PT
Riely, that is the beauty of it, you only leave the excess. Carry it ALL up to the crux, hang the stuff you don't think you need for the rest of the route right there, move on, and let the second pull though the crux, carrying hopefully 15 pounds of gear.
Bryan Kent

Trad climber
Dawson Creek B.C.
May 29, 2006 - 11:54am PT
Hey Dirt what does ROTFLMAO!!! mean.

right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 12:05pm PT
Well Dirt Daddy,
There's two sides to this scenario for sure, both pretty funny IMHO.

Like, I much prefer leading, yes rack weight is an issue (see diet rack as a natty solution) but I much prefer wiggling the little nutzies in on lead to getting them out on second.

On lead, you have focus and adrenaline working for you.
On follow, you have a gaping void beneath you and the fear of failure nipping at your heels.

Getting stuff out on the follow can really bungle things.
Russ Walling once became so disgusted with this prospect that for the better part of a decade, (and perhaps still), he refused to do any more following of my leads or any others for that matter!

Trad climber
the south
Topic Author's Reply - May 29, 2006 - 12:52pm PT









This is the ORIGINAL FORM of ROFL, rolling on floor laughing.

1993,-96 and longer, I used to write to this unix developer, first in PA then in CA, as we played USCF postal chess.

COmputer dudes love acronyms, and our letters woudl have things like this:
WIIWYIWR (Well, if I were you I would resign)

And the other guy woud have to translate and repeat , then offer his own back.

they got pretty long, and I still have a pile of very funny letters from blake.

Somewhere in there we switched to computers, and of course used ROTFLMAO!! a lot, cause we thought we were really funny , and we were.

I'm not saying we invented it, but we sure used it. Others used it too. Later it got shortened to ROFL by nincompoops.


Social climber
The West
May 29, 2006 - 12:53pm PT
A varient.

After I followed Dingus McGee (the OTHER Dingus) on the crux pitch of lucky streaks he asked me if I used the unlikely hold in the roof (or something like that) I told him I had.

"When I did this with old slichter, I did the move with that hold, then reached back and wiped the chalk off so he wouldn't see it, he had a hell of a time with it," said the dirty Mr McGee. "He's the kinda guy you gotta do that with."

Trad climber
the south
Topic Author's Reply - May 29, 2006 - 01:16pm PT
Tar-babay, yo uare SO right about that fear of failure!!

I am MUCH happier failing on lead than on second LOL!

BUT, to be fair, the leader MUST screw the second at every opportunity

He must give bad beta, he must place gear in the hand holds that are critical, sometimes even repreating the phrase," I'm afraid I Fvucked you on that move, sorry", and he must do what he can to allow the second to have as much excitement as the lead offered.

The onlyu thing that is off limits is dropping the poor SOB. THAT is just dirty pool, ALTHOUGH, if the second hangs around complaining that a piece is too hard to get out, a little penalty dip IS allowed.

Furthermore, when the second begins to curse you for your desperately crammed in gear that is now welded in place, the leader MUST have witty repartee prepared IN ADVANCE, so that it rolls off the tongue with stand up comedic precision, for example:

Second: "SH#T!" (leader feels good tug on rope indicating second has come off while trying to remove disgustedly welded bit of shiny metal)

Leader: "ARE you OK?"

Second: 'FVCK YOU!"

leader: " BE the best you ever had, Jimbo, climb on!"

OK Tar-baby, I hope this little tutorial has helped. You seem to feel that the leader owes the second some sort of consideration, but, in fact, he does not.

Um, how are your forearms doing?

I am feeling pretty good myself, if this keeps up, in the hoped for future, we will have to climb this hourglass thing together, adn I want you to know what is expected in advance.

BTW, the second only needs 4 words for his climbing vocab, in two essential phrases, and they are,

1. "Bite Me!"

2. "Fvck You!"

I have already given the proper and expected response to "Fvck You", and the correct reply to "Bite Me!" , is "Hang it out there and I will, clean off, don't be shy."

YOu will notice that the leader's responses are much longer and more complicated than the belayer's, and that is because, leaders are much smarter than belayers, and have a better vocabulary.
OF course other words may be added, but they are not often needed. Any four letter word is acceptable. 7 letter words are considered too high brow.

Welcome to southern climbing!

NOte: This is all true, not made up, and the dialog is based entirely on real events, with my best friend in climbing and favorite partner, who has the foulest mouth in the south and also is the best whiner you will ever hear put on a whine fest.

He also has a dog that knows her way around every decent area, and when you go there for the first time, the dog will lead you out, stopping to wait for you to catch up at every point where you could go wrong. The dog's name is Star, the climber's name is withheld to protect the guilty. YOu may wonder why the dog woudl be leading you out, and that is because the dog's owner is off somewhere retrieving something he dropped, or gone back for something he forgot, or trying to figure out why his pack is so heavy (rocking you partner's pack without detection is another story)

Second note: I wrote this for the sole amusement of Tar-Baby, who I really like, and who made me feel much better last week, when I was in chemo hell. IF it offends you, GOOD! If you think it is funny, that's good too. We can talk.

right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 01:47pm PT
all troo.
totally applicable.

right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 02:07pm PT
it's a wonder i have any partners left.
...wait, i don't.

anyhow, there are other quirky notes to this leader follower relationship.

*Right of the leader to revel in hard won adrenalin buzz*
*Nuisance to the follower of an overly tight belay from above*
Hey, I just wupped arse on some gem of a lead and you expect a taught belay and watchful eye?
Fuhgettaboutit bub.
I'm starin' off into the distance, uploading residual adrenaline like a junkie. Your rope will come up loosely and in good time. Sheet, onlead, I had the same if not worse cosequence to a fall as the little bit of slack yer getting, so what gives? Besides, as a follower, I personally hate a tight rope, getting slapped in the face as it gets jerked tight, or worse: getting yarded in to the rock on follow by a tight belay when I'm tryin to lean back in a lieback. Scott Cosgrove called the loose belay for the second a "Roy Belay". Oh Well, Ho Hum. I do my best.

Trad climber
the south
Topic Author's Reply - May 29, 2006 - 02:29pm PT
ROy, that is so cerebral, you need to talk to werner or soemthing.

Jaybro, excellent!!!!

On the FA of Under the Bigtop, BSF, last year I think, no wait year before, not in guide yet, or maybe it is, I don't ahve a copy LOL, Stegg leading of course, I get to the crux, not knowing he finally had to aid though it, struggle mightily, no good, struggle some more, no good, finally I decide he has put chalk on this little rugosity as a cruel hoax, no way anyone can use it to climb up, resort to aid, think Stegg must be a god after all, wonder how the hell he did the rest of it with almost no gear, thin edges, all dirty and licheny, dead vertical very balancy, flailing up, almost out of gas, a deadpoint to a tiny lip, barely get it, then done.

I accuse him of the fake hold where the chalk was, he matter of factly says he aided though that part, I amd thinking, um, couldn't you have TOLD Me that, before I spent half an hour on one move, suffering, trying what must be 5.12 or so??????

Bit I got him back by tricking him into leading a crack in georgia that was FILLED with Poison Ivy with roots that were an inch and a half thick, he had to use s machete to get it out, and the way I got him to do it is that he says he don't get PI, so I said, well how about that crack, it looks great, and you dont get PI, and he jumps on it, and two hours and 40 feet ( taller, but 40 feet of PI filled crack) there is now a very nice asthetically cool low moderate where a huge mass of PI had been. Machete crack.

well it sort of backfired, in all the debris falling down, I got a good dose of PI, so I was taking cortesone and itching anyway, called him up next day, " Hey shannon, you got any poison ivy?"

A low gravelly dead pan voice replies, in a measured monotone, "From head to toe." I bust out laughing, "ME TOO!", we laugh our A$$es off.

right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 02:49pm PT
i'm also fond of lounging around till the last possible moment, then blasting off the couch for the pre-dusk crag sesh.
this means i usually top out in glorious sun, with the chilly shadows rising all too fast and washing over my second.

same goes for impending rain, where i hit the protected stance while the watery onslaught drenches my follower, adding to the objective difficulty already ensuing per removal of the welded gear.

what a jerk.
i will handily dispense more wisdom as it leaks out from wrinkled brain.
no i have knott consulted a professional shrink on these issues.

and no, i think werner is right now too busy to help me with these cerebral matters...

Trad climber
the south
Topic Author's Reply - May 29, 2006 - 02:59pm PT
D@mn, right again Roy!!

The sacred art of the last minute dash, preceded by the frustrating delay, double whammy, Amen, praise it with great praise!

made one partner so mad whit this glorious technique we didnt even do the climb, and he didn't dpeak to me for a month, ROTFLMAO!

But we kissed and made up and went on to invent the high sport of no hands leading, when we were both injured (not climbing related, we never get hurt climbing, but life on the gound IS dangerous) but that is yet another tale, involving the funniest climber in the south.

Man, your GOOD, Roy!

Therapy??? We don't need no stinking therapy!!

right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 03:24pm PT
here's one of my faves.
proper respect for and exploitation of the protege.

yup, got a chance to clean up a lotta routes on my obscure tour list with this one:
Guy Kenny, one of my best pals and most eager followers, pretty much got trial by fire on this account. as he was about a 5.8/9 follower, i started upping the ante quite a bit, as i am a selfish cur and don't mind soaking loyalty to the limit.

he'll tell you that just about everything we did was either offwidth, loose, overhung, 5.10 or all of the above.

case in point: for our ascent of the 3-4 pitch "Turncorner" on Lumpy Ridge, which features a natty 'ole Robbins 5.9/10 overhanging squeeze crux, i pretty much shamed guy into following it even though we both new he was way too hung over even for the approach, much less the climb.

guy proudly claims to have puked at the crux on the follow.

*selection of follower is key*
here's guy before, during and after various ascents we made with him cleanin' and doin' a fine job I might add:

Social climber
The West
May 29, 2006 - 05:20pm PT
We are a strange bunch.


right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 05:34pm PT
LOL Jay,
We are a strange bunch indeed; a "Ship of Fools" as you might aptly concur.
Hugs and kisses all around.

Just yesterday, I met 3 pals for a 4th class 14 'er ridge romp.
I provided all the ice axes for our band of fools and one of them, an experienced Frenchman, showed up with two footwear options:
Tevas with sox or Sorels. Hmm, antogonistic? Just a wee bit?

All in all, that type of equipage on the part of the frenchie shows much the same style of lead folow antogonism (or tacit agreeement if done well) which this fine thread chooses to honor.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 29, 2006 - 05:35pm PT
Shannon Stegg, hmmm.

I seem to recall him getting screwed by HIS second, but actually by his own hand!

Imagine a climber who has driven 2-3 days from Georgia. Enters Zion Canyon and is so jazzed to get on the rock that he gives an impromtu belay lesson to a nonclimber, ties into the middle of a 60m 9mm and climbs the 20m first pitch of Flails'.
Then he has the novice lower him.

You do the math.

10m off the deck the ends without knots slip through the belay.

I was up on Prodigal when I hear the wailing of the ambulance.

Word was that he recovered OK.
Tahoe climber

Trad climber
May 29, 2006 - 05:41pm PT
The only problem with screwing the second is that some time or another you swap leads, and then he/she screws you!
So be careful (or just nice.)


right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 05:45pm PT
Shyte Ron,
That's Real.

Wait till I post my story about my buddy, who had never belayed or climbed on rope, jugging Wunsch's for me in the South Platte.

Now, in all fairness to our readers I will reveal that fellows I've done this with, namely Guy and Jeff, were in posession of such a wiz bang mechanical and intuitive character so that I was in fact making very sound judgements...

right here, right now
May 29, 2006 - 05:49pm PT

Be advised that this is mostly tongue in cheek and the product of somewhat inevitable details shared amongst climbers, some of which are heartily embraced with a certain degree of brinksmanship and humorous aquiescence on the part of the individuals involved.

Social climber
The West
May 29, 2006 - 05:49pm PT
oh yeah, it's a reflexive art.

-back from field testing the maxipadô, after a year of rest, it still protects 49yr old ankles, knees etc.

On to X-3

Happy holiday, all.
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