There are a lot of unspoken rules in climbing, we’ve talked about a few in our crag care post and in our last post on community. Yesterday we went to a BBQ and climb, with some friends, and were super stoked to meet some new people. There were a lot of climbers there of varying abilities and it was great to climb with a couple really strong people. It got us thinking about the social side of climbing.
Beta is a big thing. Figuring out the moves of a climb is often half the fun, and going for an onsight is a big thing with a lot of higher level climbers. While it’s great to climb with someone and work on a problem together, and it’s great to get beta when you ask for it, there are a couple serious social faux pas. Beta spraying is a big one, this unanimously irritates climbers regardless of ability. If you’re not asked for it, try to keep your beta to yourself. We get that you want to help, but it can often be frustrating and “ruin” the experience if you’re not asked.
The same goes for casually walking over and topping a climb that someone is working on. Maybe you’ve done the climb a few times, or you just think it would be a nice “easy” one for you to do. But if someones working on it and clearly struggling, it is severely damaging to both motivation and self esteem.
This is key to a fun session. Talking sh*t is often unavoidable when you’re with friends and all working on similar climbs. It’s a bonding process but it’s also a great way to push each other to try harder. However it’s also only a small part of what you should be talking about. Sure you can give your mates sh*t, but don’t forget to offer some encouragement and positive comments too. And just because someone is stronger than you it’s no reason to tear them down, everyone needs a boost when they’re working a problem.
We’ve talked about this already but that was more for your motivation not the people around you. Be the motivation you would want from people, respect that some people are stronger and some people are weaker. Motivate them both. You’re here to get psyched and climb hard, so make sure you try to give people that same experience. We need to push each other, climb and work on something together and you’ll both end up climbing harder.
Etiquette at a crag or gym is huge, it makes an environment everyone can climb in. Be respectful of other people on the wall, don’t beta spray, don’t cut in, and don’t forget to have fun. Smack talk all you want but make sure it’s coming from a good place. Make sure you’re bringing psych not bringing people down.
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