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  • #7314 Reply

    picture this: My partner and I are at a crag and I am belaying. I instruct my inexperienced partner nearing the top of the route that he is off-route and should attempt to traverse back on route and continue upwards rather than heading up the route he was on towards a much harder grade.

    if you are at the same crag and over-hear this exchange:

    Do you….

    A) Say nothing since you don’t know the experience level of the climber.

    B) Quietly inform the belyer that there is an easier route than the traverse and allow the belayer to decide whether to pass on the information.

    C) Or do you yell out to the climber, undermining the belayers instructions and assume that the climber can perform the task you suggest.

    Yes, I experienced this situation on the weekend and held my tongue as I believe a third party should not interferer. But I wasn’t sure and I wanted to see how you feel.


    #7315 Reply
    ed nepia

    depends a little on how dire the outcome is going to be.. generally i run and get the camera for a snap of a big whipper

    i dont like interfering much unless its clear that cockups of diabolical proportions are going to eventuate ie ‘death or mutilation’ and even then i’m reluctant to intervene

    i reckon that climbings an adventure sport and as such a few epics such as getting off route can provide excellent experiences, making stuffups is part and parcel of learning to climb and learning about our own ability (or lack of) is very valuable

    there are always reasons to try and correct someone leading but as much as possible i say leave them to figure it out, freak out, fall off, grit their way through it or whatever

    personally i despise onlookers who shout unwanted beta at me when i’m leading

    so what did you do?

    #7316 Reply


    I didnt say anything since i have only been climbing for a year and wasn’t sure if it was common practice.

    I was pretty angry about it though and i should have said something to him. Maybe next time, im sure if he has done it once he will do it again….


    #7317 Reply
    Richard W

    Very Cool Ed! Especially grabbing of the camera!

    #7318 Reply

    Depends on the circumstances….

    If I see someone doing something stupid, I usually say something if I think it will help.

    If I see someone doing something REALLY stupid, I walk away, as I don’t want to waste the rest of my day trying to get someone with multiple fractures out of Willys.

    A few examples – for some unknown reason, often climbers on their first trip to Churchman’s want to do that horrible climb with the tree in it. I will usually ‘encourage’ climbers to do a nice climb – not one with bad pro, slopey holds and dirt. But it’s amazing how many people persist in doing stupid climbs. Also at Churchman’s I once say some raw beginners with lots of shiny new quickdraws trying to lead Snatches and Lays. When I asked them why were they trying that climb (which was very, very obviously beyond their abilities), they responded that they had decided they were ‘sports’ climbers and that was the only ‘sports’ route at Churchies.

    Or once when I was at Willys, someone lead Dolphin Smiles – using nothing more than the three bolts. As a mixed trad/bolted climb, climbing on just the three bolts would potentially lead to about a 10 m ground fall (from the second bolt) or maybe even a 20 m fall – possibly a ground fall – from the third bolt.

    Often, advice from the ground up can be better than advice from the top down. But not always.

    #7319 Reply

    I would have gone with (b).

    If anyone yells beta at me when I’m climbing I tend to yell right back, something to the effect of ‘shut up’.

    So yeah Simon, it’s fine to tell people not to give you advice, that part of the fun for you is figuring the climb out yourself! 🙂

    #7320 Reply

    Di, your a legend…….i love straight answers.

    thanks all

    #7321 Reply

    I’d go with (b) also. The leader will be more tuned in to instruction coming from belayer, who will be able to filter it to suit the situation. But I consider (c) acceptable…too much information is better than (a)…no information. But that’s maybe just me.

    #7322 Reply
    John Knight

    I’d talk to the belayer. Usually when something weird is happening at the gym, that’s the first person we go to, then talk to the climber, yeah?

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