Big Wall Passing Ethics


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 21 - 40 of total 60 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Trad climber
May 19, 2008 - 10:19am PT
"it is better to pass by than to pass on" or other ways of saying, in passing
I was leading my 70yr old wife on a 2 segment aid climb of center of Moby Dick and a party was wanting to go by. No problem, so we let them free-buzz by us at mid pitch. It was sort of amusing anyway. I had to haul her up the overhang at the end of the first pitch.
Y-all have a fun trip where-ever

Mountain climber
May 19, 2008 - 10:35am PT
I am an average speed wall climber. As a result, I have been passed 3 times on a wall:
Once with a partner when NIAD pair went by.
Twice when soloing.

All 3 were good experiences. The key is to try to set up the pass on a ledge and not hog all the anchor bolts.

On the Nose, when the Nose-In-A-Day team was catching up to us, we got to a ledge, brought all of our stuff up, and were over to one side. We left one anchor bolt free and the middle one was very accessible. When they came up, we never had a cluster because the two teams were always separate. It was nice to take a break and chat with those guys. They really did not hold us up for long.

The 2 times I have been passed while soloing were similar. The 1st time, I could see the other team coming, I gathered everything up and off to the side without using the entire anchor and ledge.

The second time was on Zodiac and I did not have the luxury of a natural ledge. I was flagging my ledge and set it up on one side. When the party of 2 came up, they used the open anchor bolts and the belayer sat on the ledge with me. It was nice to actually talk to someone after 2 days on the wall.

In all 3 cases, I was talking to the passing party when they were about 1 pitch below me (I took the initiative). The passing was coordinated. You can use the down time of a pass to reorganize and eat.

But, in all 3 cases, the passing party was clearly faster.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 19, 2008 - 10:52am PT
This is a great thread folks.
Thanks for all of the comments/tips. . .

Where you want to be
May 19, 2008 - 11:06am PT
Tez- If only we were all as considerate as you. We'd have a lot fewer problems.
My room-mate told me this anecdote, and maybe it belongs on the "Overheard" thread, but here goes:
His friends were on the captain, when the Huber brothers came blazing up below them. They yelled above, "Climbers on Salathe! Can we pass!? (or whatever) We are on SPEED!
To which my roomie's friends yell down, "Climbers below, we are on WEED!"

someplace in-between
May 19, 2008 - 01:26pm PT
While not on a wall I thought this story worth contributing.

Last year while climbing the Steck Salathe my friend Dave and I were passed by a couple of French climbers that didn't want to miss their flight the next morning. We were not moving at snails pace by any means (we out distanced the other free climbers that attempting the route that day) but the Frenchies were French freeing so the were moving faster.

The first time the tried to pass the leader tried to step over me without even asking while I was belaying dave on the first wide overhang of the route. Frenchy's partner was about 50 feet below us and I knew we would end up overlapping and tangled for more than just one pitch. In addition, Dave was now out of view and in unknown territory (at least for us). Anyway I stuck my palm into the guys chest and a said something along the lines of "you're going to have to wait a bit buddy, when the time is more appropriate we'll let you pass". He gave me quite the sob story about their plane and explained that things are different in France. I didn't really care and insisted he wait. It was a good thing too because about 5 minutes later Dave had gotten off route, taken a fall, ripped a piece of gear and banged up his ankle in the process.

Anyway, we finished the pitch and then allowed the party to pass. We took a little comfort in watching them struggle to move up a 5.9 squeeze and then resign to French freeing using the face outside of the chimney. I was also very glad I'd held my ground because it could have been pretty nasty if Dave had fallen onto the frenchmen.

Anyone else ever experience something like this?

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 19, 2008 - 01:44pm PT
Anybody read Culberson's account of being on the Walker Spur and having a rude euro push by him, pull off a big rock which barely misses him, and kills a party of two below?

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
May 19, 2008 - 01:54pm PT
Grab the slow leader by both ankles. Yank hard! (unless you're chewing Aaron's anti-masturbatory gum) You will then have clean sailing until you reach the next wanker. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 19, 2008 - 02:14pm PT
note; make certain "wanker" is unarmed

Trad climber
Montague, MA
May 19, 2008 - 02:52pm PT
Last month my girlfriend and I were climbing at Cathedral in New Hampshire (not a big wall), but:

We hit up Still in Saigons a 2 pitch climb you need to rap. As we we're about to toss our ropes down, I took a look and saw a dude starting the first 20 feet of the first pitch. I decided to just wait a few for him to move cliff left. I looked down 2 minutes later and he was passed the first pitch belay. I asked him if he wanted me to toss our rap ropes and get out of the way of the pitch 2 anchor or wait. He said whatever doesn't bother me. But if you wait, we can rap together. Sounded good, we waited for 5 minutes while he belayed his 2nd, chatted, then rapped both pitches with our two ropes combined for one rap. It slowed us down 10 or 20 minutes, but we gained time only doing one rap, and both he and I were courteous, it made for a better experience and was pleasant. I was fine losing 10 minutes in the day. (We had driven up 3.5 hrs one way for the day (7hr round trip), so every minute counted.)

We next walked over to Toe Crack/Repulsion (upon the other parties recommendation for a dry route on a Spring Thaw day). The regular start was wet, so we took a 80 ft traverse in from cliff left. It was 5.7 and slabby with small features in one section, and a possible swing down on to a ledge if you fall. You end the thin traverse by down climbing 5ft onto the belay ledge. If you slipped making the move into Toe Crack you'd hit the ledge. I made quick work of it and put my gf on belay. She's a little skiddish on traverses (fell from modern times in the gunks, then subsequently learned how to prusik for the first time). She gets about 20 ft up the pitch and a European dude, who came up the hill already racked, starts up behind her. I think, hmm maybe he's doing Turner's Flake (goes straight up mid traverse). My gf gets to the tricky spot about 10 ft from the belay ledge, where you pull your gear, smear through the tenuous crux, and if you slip hit the belay ledge 5 ft right and 5 ft down. She's a little concerned and taking her time. Welp, here comes Mr. Euro, climbs up right behind her (10ft earlier I asked where he was climbing, and he said he was still figuring it out). She makes the traverse move just as he enters into the same move. She downclimbs into the belay leaving in my higher piece, just as he steps over, her, then my belay, then downclimbs to our right, crosses his running rope accross my skinny 8mm anchor slings, and proceeds to setup a belay 10 ft right and 5 ft up from us.... So he says, "don't mind my rope"... So my gf is a little frazzled, but fine, so I grab the 4 pieces from her, we flip the rope and start heading straight up into Toe Crack. It's thin right off the belay, you want to get something in so you don't slip and land on your belayer directly below you, or hit the ledge. Instead of just moving a few feet and placing, I am dealing with crossed lines, his rope running accross my first piece belay sling and flip-flopping the biners attached to it. Mr. Euro has put his 2nd on belay and his rope is bobbing up and down, while running accross right where I am trying to jam my toe into the crack, dodge my gear, his rope, my rope, etc. So I get past the first 15 ft, and the pitch is cruiser, I get to the anchor tree and setup a belay. I call down to my gf and tell her she's on belay. Then I'm waiting 5 minutes, I yell down and say what's up. She explains she waiting for Mr. Euro's 2nd to essentially step all over her and our anchor just like he did while leading. Mr. Euro's 2nd clears my gf, and she starts climbing. As I am belaying her, Mr. Euro pops up onto my ledge. Essentially steps over me and continues climbing. Again crossing his rope accross my face, then my anchor slings. I am belaying my 2nd, while his rope is running and bobbing back and forth in my face. He sets up a belay 20 ft above me. The 2 seconds arrive almost simultaneously and have to wait for eachother, un-mix the cluster f*ck, Mr. Euro's 2nd has to clamber over me and my anchor (on the real belay ledge I might add). My gf finally clips into the anchor and asks what's up. I said well, I planned on linking into Thin Air (2 more pitches to the top), then hitting up Pine Tree Eliminate (on an upper tier). She said, well what about the party now in front of us, I said "right, that's why i said planned...". Mr. Euro now 20 ft above me, though about a 2 minutes behind on the belay changeover, now launches into Thin Air, while another party (inexperienced, but doing fine on Thin Air, 5.6) is mid-pitch. He crosses and basically steps over the other leader. He then crosses their line and gear and continues into the route. There was another party above the now tramped on party, Mr. Euro comes into them, crosses their lines, links the 2 pitches and essentially halts both parties on Thin Air while his 2nd comes by to climb in and around the 3 crossed lines.

So Mr. Euro effectively halted 3 parties on 2 different climbs and slowed me down by a half hour on 2 pitches (that's alot for 2 pitches) and never asked. I really wish I had clove hitched his line mid-pitch. What an absolute ass. We rapped from the route, not wanting anything to do with him and his cluster-f*ck. That ate a good chunk out of the afternoon, we ran around looked for some more dry pitches, did a few things on the lower left wall then headed for beers and a drive home.

That experience just sucked, and though there was no-epic and we weren't hauling or trying to make time, it doesn't make me want to cooperate with passing parties anytime soon. I tried to make communication with him, but he pretty much had a holier than thou attitude and just kept tromping on us. I am usually a bit mroe confrontational, but for some reason didn't pipe up that day. My gf asked me later why I didn't react normally, don't know why, but wished I had.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 19, 2008 - 03:03pm PT
Popeye, do you carry a knife?

Mr. Euro could be politely asked how he feels about spontaneous free solos.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 19, 2008 - 03:07pm PT
I like the rack across the face. . .

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
May 19, 2008 - 03:07pm PT
We once let a party pass. They were faster but ended up bailing so we had to let them (and help them back across a pendi) pass going the other way too. Prolly a half a day in time lost by the time it was all said and done.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 19, 2008 - 03:31pm PT
Let's see:
The Nose: had my fixed lines to Sickle poached by "faster" parties on at least three occasions.

The Shield: launch day we arrive to find a party of four (intent on the Triple Direct) jugging our lines on the first three pitches, taking special care to saw the lines across an edge that we had pulled the lines taut to avoid. One day lost.

Next day, we launch but find that a party has fixed a line on top or our lines on pitch one. We jug anyways and, when we reach the top of pitch one, have Kaiser von Bismark super Euro and his weird Euro friend (dressed in purple) with one aider show up demanding that they were going to climb the Salathe.

We tell him he's going to have to wait and he goes ballistic, throwing rocks, stomping his feet and literally flexing and groaning like he's the Hulk.

We're ready to break down our anchor on pitch one but can't because super Euro starts jugging. I tell him if doesn't chill that I'm going to drop his line, so he backs off momentarily.

Some we're at the top of our lines and ready to do the rest of Free Blast to Mammoth. Now Super Euro is pissed because he can't jug our second fixed line, which was our lead line and we're starting to use. I launch up pitch four and french free it in about 30 min. Not good enough for Super Euro. He's still doing the Hulk while he and his weird buddy crowd my partner at the belay.

Realizing that their not going to pass us, Super Euro issues a final curse: "Jew vill never climb ze Shield" and raps off.
We top out four days later never having seen Super Euro again.

Long story short: people who poach fixed lines are inconsiderate losers. They should be condemned to a purgatory of standing in line at Rockcreation for the blue top rope to open up.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 19, 2008 - 03:36pm PT
You're too easy on them Dad.

Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out. A bit like an insane person with a submachine gun; they might not mean to endanger but the danger they pose could kill me or my partner.
Sorry Bub, better you than me. Stupid=Dangerous

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
May 19, 2008 - 03:38pm PT
Hey Popeye,

That sucks. I wonder if they were asses or as#@&%es. The difference being an Ass has no clue that they are being an ass, I'm an as#@&%e, and damn well know when I'm acting that way.

Mostly I like to have a good time and will let people pass if my team is slow, never happened, but I'd be willing to do so. I have waited many hours at belays for slower parties. I usually just chat it up with the others and call it good. This has all been on Trad Trade lines, so you get what you get. You're better off quizzing the Taco for unknown classics to avoid this problem when first traveling to an area.

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 19, 2008 - 03:41pm PT
Few tools are handier while climbing than a pocket knife.

Edit: I would never advocate violence in relation to climbing, except in genuine self-defence, and then limited to the needs of the situation. But climbers who are overly concerned with territory, and "rights", do need to remember we have a shared resource, and behave accordingly.

It behooves parties who wish to pass others to behave in a courteous, civilized manner. They have no "right" to pass, and should be prepared to be refused. As it is usually possible to see in advance that you'll be below other parties, some foresight and preparation would be wise. It's much like buying a house near the airport - if you don't like the possibility of noise, go elsewhere.

I recall that Aleisteir Crowley pulled a gun on someone during a Kanchenjunga expedition a century ago. Though not for trying to pass him.

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
May 19, 2008 - 03:43pm PT
Mighty and Ron,

Why the talk of cutting someone's elses line? You know neither of you are going to do that? Are you?

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 19, 2008 - 05:07pm PT
There are cases where I would Prod. Unfortunately some people can be very callous regarding other people's safety feeling that their speed "entitles" them to endanger others. Having spent time in a wheelchair caused by rockfall resulting from a party that detoured around (via the easy "descent" route) and then climbed above me has perhaps given me a less forgiving perspective.

You ever spend time in a wheelchair Prod?
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
May 19, 2008 - 06:02pm PT
took a group of 3 super cool dudes from the gym that haven't had any experience on a long route before up an easy climb at Tahquitz on Saturday.

Curious what route? We did the Trough on Saturday. Surpised we didn't catch anyone, but, also surprised it wasn't jam packed when we got there (although we stepped around a pretty good que at the base). Mustabeen good karma. I had a similar partner who reminded me before the trip that although he'd bouldered at the gym, he'd never climbed outside before. Got to hear him scream yesterday when he fell following a pitch. Too funny...

Speakin' of Koreans, anyone run into them at Suicide on Saturday, or, Tahquitz on Sunday? Holy COW! Amazing amount of personnel. Seemed like they were havin' a good time...

-Brian in SLC

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
May 19, 2008 - 09:45pm PT
Yo Ron,

Never spent any time in a wheel chair, sorry to hear about your experience. I did once get kicked out of a rite aid for racing their handicap carts though, does that count?

That is all besides the point, my guess is that if faced with the same situation you would not resort to a potential murder to save yourself from the same plight? Just saying…

Messages 21 - 40 of total 60 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo Videos

Recent Route Beta