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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The New Age of Climbing: Beware the Gumbie

Rock and Ice had an article recently (read:  written years ago, and is making another pass around the clan) that really hit home and was very relevant to conversations we have been having around the dinner table.  If you haven't yet, hop over and read it through to the end.  There have been discussions recently about how the popularity of climbing in general, and the popularity of our new gym in Plano specifically causing an influx of new climbers that may or may not have the skills necessary to keep us all safe.  I think many in group have witnessed incidents in the making that likely were prevented through intervention and reporting.  Here are some thoughts on what to do:

1. Never allow someone to belay you unless you have seen them belay and are comfortable with their belay practices.
2. When you see something wrong, say something.  If you are not confident enough to speak out directly (and/or savvy enough to do so politely) reach out to a staff member if you are at a gym, or an experienced climber you trust if not.  Someone has to speak out.
3.  Even if you do say something and they appear to correct the issue, if your at a gym, tell a staff member.  They may have more information and begin to see a pattern where you only see one instance of the issue.
4. Don't get bent out of shape, regardless of which end of this you are on.  If someone corrects you on your belay style and you know you are alright (Dude, your GriGri is super small, and where is the handle?   ... Um, you mean my ATC?) be kind and educate them on why things are OK.  Remember, they just tried to save your partner a potential fall... who can get mad about that?  And if you correct someone and they ignore you, yelling at them isn't going to change their mind... make sure their partner (and the gym staff) are aware and make a mental note to put them on your NC list... (No climb).

Climb Safe!

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