Calling out the Hacks.

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AaronRN
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Calling out the Hacks.

Post by AaronRN » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:17 pm

So I’m enjoying an afternoon of climbing in the Smoke Bluffs with my friend who’s visiting out of town. We’re at the Smoke Bluff Wall and had just finished getting off Mosquito and had moved on to Sphinxter Quits. While my friend climbs and I belay, a young man approaches the crag says hello and stands there looking up at the wall. After checking out the wall for a short while he decides on what route to do and begins his solo climb of Mosquito. I knew from the moment I saw him, that he was there to solo, and I also knew from the moment I saw him the he spelled trouble. Perhaps it was his baggy- a$% crotch to the knees jeans, the extra small chalk bag clipped via carabineer to his belt loop, or perhaps it was that he began to struggle with the climb only after the first two moves, I knew this kid was going to deck. After hacking, lurching and skating his way up the first 15ft of the climb he had had enough. Unable to down climb he nervously pronounces “ Ah man, I’m coming off” At this point I alert the only other two climbers in the area if they could “please give this kid a spot before he breaks something”, and with his spotter now in place the kid promptly falls off, hits the ground with a thud, bounces to his feet and pronounces “I’m ok!” Moments later I lower my friend back to the ground and I fill her in on the excitement she just missed. “He did What?!” she said. “Yah, that guy right there fell from right over there and decked.” At this point I over hear the fellow who was kind enough catch the kid giving him pointers on how to properly lay back and jam cracks, with I thought was odd and akin teaching someone how best drive a stick shift after they crashed their car in a NASCAR race. To his credit the kid did come over and said to us. “He man, for what it’s worth, I’d really like to apologise.” My response was considerably less cordial. “Hey pall, if you’re going to come free soloing in the Smoke Bluffs you REALY need to know your sh*t!” The kid was taken aback from my response and was clearly offended. He protested “Hey man, I know my sh*t! I’ve been climbing since I was knee high” This of course was bull sh*t, not only did he just struggle up then fall of a 5.8 but he fell off well before the crux (thank god) and wasn’t able to down climb the 5.6 climbing that he had fallen from. At this point I wasn’t going to get into an argument on his climbing ability but I made my point to him which is what I’d like to share on this forum. To the kid I said...
“I’m not your mother, and if you want to come out here and get yourself killed, far be it from me to stop you. But I’d like you to realise that when you pull this bull sh*t you drag everyone around you into it. No one came here wanting to deal with having to drag your broken body out of here, but when that happens, if I’m around, I have to go into Emergency Room Nurse Mode and save your sorry broken bleeding a$%! So go do whatever the f**k you want to do, but don’t ruin everyone’s day doing it, and don’t drag me in to it!”
I think I made my point clear to him.
Thing is, I’m a Registered Nurse and had the kid seriously hurt himself, unless there was a doctor or EMT standing on the ready in the moment this kid hit the ground there was no one more qualified than me to deal with the situation. Now the sight of bones prodding from skin, torn bloodied flesh, broken teeth, coupled with screams of pain, and loss of bowl control upsets most people, and it’s upsetting for me as well but I’m what you might call desensitized. For most people experiencing seeing trauma like that and being thrown into a situation where they feel morally obligated to help, can really scar a person and make them do things, things like give up climbing. In short, when idiots go soloing they endanger us all.
Now I’m not writing this to bash on all people to chose to solo, I’m writing this to encourage other climbers to call out the hacks who would put us all in danger by their actions. So has anyone else experienced this before? and how did you deal with the situation?
Aaron Kristiansen RN.

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thebigchin
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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by thebigchin » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:37 am

I fully agree with everything you said. Can't add anything.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by NateDoggOG » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:10 am

As a soloist myself, I'm not sure how appropriate it is to post in this particular thread, but here goes.

I have no problem with soloing, or other people soloing, as long as it is WELL within their ability. If this kid was trying to onsight solo a 5.8, then he should be climbing AT LEAST 5.10+ 5.11- while roped as far as I am concerned.
I enjoy soloing for the peacefulness and freedom of it, but I have never soloed anything I haven't climbed before, and I generally limit myself to 5.7 and maybe the odd .8

As Al said to me once (we all know Al, right?), don't solo anything that you can't downclimb.

Ah, and yes, I agree with you on putting other people at the risk of having to deal with the consequences of some idiot's actions. Nothing is more unnerving than forcing yourself to look away because someone insists on biting off a lot more than they can chew.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by raythebutcher » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:00 pm

I also agree that free-soloing is ok as long as you arent risking having to pull other climbers into a bad situation. i've taken part in one rescue and one recovery and its a bad scene.

last week i was climbing the SB connection with a friend who had never done it before. while we were at the top of P1 some kid from yosemite who no doubt was a strong climber climbed the 10c beside mosquito, didnt put in a single peice of gear, passed us at the belay and climbed through without hardly saying anything. he got to the 2nd station and brought his second up( who wasnt nearly as fast as he was) and managed to floss our rope on the 2nd p and then proceed to get so tangled that she had to unclip a bunch of our gear just to get through. we all got to the bottom of P.3 and he took off again, didnt put in any gear, clipped the anchors at the bottom of jabberwocky for protection and kept going.

so sure enough when it his partners turn to climb she got up about 8 feet, got rattled and decked, luckily i spotted her just because i didnt want to see somebody bust their ankle and ruin the rest of the season.

i guess the moral of my story is that people need to be more respectful of their own partners and climbers around them. i think if you want to solo or race to the top of something pick something that isnt a classic that your just going to be pushing people of off. we were a party that knew what was going on but if it was someone going up there first multi-pitch or was nervous around other climbers it would have been a intimidating and unfair experience.

raythebutcher
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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by raythebutcher » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:06 pm

...p.s. she wouldnt have hit the ground when she fell if he would have had the decency to put in protection on wonderland instead of just clipping the chains at the top and doing the traverse.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by NateDoggOG » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:30 pm

..... May have ran into the same couple today, although they seemed to be pretty safe.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by psi4ce » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:41 pm

raythebutcher wrote:...and managed to floss our rope...
What does it mean to "floss a rope"? :|

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by staven » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:03 pm

That kid falling off Mosquito sounds like a total douchebag. Out of his league and not even realizing it after he fell, thinking a little "I'm sorry" will make things cool. I feel anger just reading about it let alone being there. DOUCHEBAG. Couldn't have said it better to him myself (no really I couldn't have. I would have been too pissed). Nothing against free soloing, just keep it the f*ck out of the bluffs on a busy weekend. No need to bring everyone else down into your sh*t and make someone quit climbing because of your selfish a$%. And that goes for Al too. F*ck you if you're going to fall off Penny Lane and make my kids see your mangled corpse. Hack it up somewhere private.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by mcfly » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:35 am

I don't have a problem with people soloing routes but...
Soloing in front of strangers at popular crags like Neat & Cool, Burgers & Fries, Mosquito, etc... is selfish and egotistical IMHO. Soloing a route like Diedre on a busy day and passing people is irresponsible and dangerous.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by draic » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:24 pm

Jeezus--i mean you said what you had to say to this person at the time it happened. Nothing you or anyone else has on this thread said since is anything more that PURE BS. You could easily say that anyone who climbs a rock is irresponsible and stupid--its perspective. I started climbing on a hemp rope--dumb and super risky. I learned the way most people learn--trial and error; luckily i didn't die. How many dumbass things have you done driving a car, walking down the street or in fact, climbing in your past--and don't say none because if thats the case they you haven't learned anything about climbing and I for one one would consider you untrained. You are judging people who do risky things? Seriously??? If you said this crap to me I'd tell you to go F-yourself; compound fractures and all.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by staven » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:09 pm

Somehow I don't think Aaron (or myself) would have been half as choked if someone fell soloing a route they were clearly capable of doing. Broken hold, slipped foot, bad luck or whatever. But this guy was clearly trying to skip a few steps between knee-high climber and Dean Potter. This complete lack of perspective is what, more often than not it seems, leads to rescues, searches, or recoveries. Tyler Wright anyone? I'm not saying don't be dangerous, because you can die roped up on a 5.6 any day, but don't think you're entitled or capable just because you want to be. Be patient for god sakes. Life is long.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by NateDoggOG » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:13 pm

It's not a matter of doing risky things, cause everyone does them at one point or another, it's a matter of doing them when other people may suffer the consequences.
No one is telling this kid to not solo Mosquito; by all means, solo away, but wait until no one else is around. Soloing is about being alone anyways, so why have other people around? Ideally, what you are doing is well within your ability, so you shouldn't need a spotter or someone around to call EMS if you deck.
If you do decide to solo around other people, you best do your damndest to not make an a$% of yourself, otherwise someone is going to call you out, as was the case in this situation.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by original gorby » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:14 pm

"If you said this crap to me I'd tell you to go F-yourself; compound fractures and all."

Hey draic - have fun dragging yourself to your car and driving yourself to the hospital as you tell the bystanders to F*ck themselves.
What you'd most likely be saying after falling and fracturing your legs is...

ARRGHH! HHHUUURRRR!! DDUURRRRRRR!!!! SSH**TT!! FF*CKKK!! AH BROKE MAH LEGGSSS!!!

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by Fish Boy » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:05 pm

People were running up and down the apron today with no rope...I told a guy not to die as he took off, partially joking but also because I agree with everyone above that it is inconsiderate to solo around so many people.

I'm all for soloing and understand how great it feels to climb without gear, but to thrust it into others faces is rude.

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Re: Calling out the Hacks.

Post by NateDoggOG » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:22 pm

Going against what I said above about soloing meaning going at it alone, and speaking of the Apron, I hope to get up a little earlier on Saturday and get a quick solo in of either Deidre or Calculus (or Banana Peel, whichever has the least people), then run up Boomstick and the Butt Face. Anyone want to come with me?
Afterwards I plan to probably just wander around the boulder fields and see if there are any parties I could join, cause I need to start bouldering.

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