Rock climbing etiquettes

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To those of you just started climbing. What are good climbing etiquettes. If you had never asked this question before or even think about it, then you might are one of those annoying climbers that others frown upon 🤣.

Climbing is a social activity so you and your friends are not the only climbers at the crag. If you have no idea what good climbing etiquettes are, here’s what you should know before your next climb.

1 – Do not lane hog

There is a reason why this is first on the list. Lane hogging is the worst. If you are working on a hard route where no one is trying good, hog as long as you want. However if you are at a popular projecting a route where most climbers do for warm up then you should stop after a couple of failed attempts.

Come down, rest and do it again later. This way other climbers can have a go. Resting on the rope and holding up the queue is very inconsiderate. Yes the other climbers know you are not strong enough. They are happy to be patient but just not for too long. This apply to both gym and outdoor crag.

An advice to not hog lane… Get stronger.

2 – Do not set up top rope on fix gear

If you need to set up top rope on an outdoor route be it to work on your project or for others to climb. You should always set up top rope using your carabiners at the anchor. Why you should not set up top rope by treading your rope through the fix gear at the anchor is to minimize wear and tear of the fix gear. Imagine every climber top rope on fix gear at the anchor. The gear will wear out and eventually there will be one unlucky climber at the anchor looking at a totally worn out anchor.

3 – Put up your own gears

If you are working on a project, you should be the one putting up the gears. If draws are already on the wall and the owner of the draws lets you use them then great, lucky you. However, if you drag a friend down to the crag with the sole purpose of having him or her to put up draws for you to work on your project and worst still help you clean draws after. Maybe you should pick an easier project or get strong enough to an least put up and clean the draws yourself.

4 – Keep your beta to yourself

Seeing someone struggling on the crux that you breeze through gives you the urge to share your wisdom with the climber. Unfortunately, not all climbers are grateful to you well intentions. Climbers are a unique bunch not every climber wants help especially if he or she is on an onsight attempt or wants to figure out the crux on their own. Hence, it is best to keep your beta to yourself.

5 – Share beta only if you are beta worthy

There will be time when a climber is stuck at the crux and wants beta. If you are an experienced climber or had finished the route then it is good that you share your beta. However, if you are an armchair climber or hadn’t climb the route before maybe you shouldn’t be sharing any beta because you wouldn’t any in the first place. Giving bad beta is worse than giving no beta.

6 – Chipping holds

There are routes which are so hard that you can’t even start. Yes there are some routes that have start moves that are so heinous which makes clipping into the first draw insanely dangerous.

Some may think that chipping a couple of holds to make the route go is good as it allows more climbers to try the route with less risk of falling. That will depend on what kind of a climber you are. Depends on how you look at it there is no right or wrong. One can have good intention base on a safety perspective. But by chipping holds to an extend you’ll alter the intent of the route. That is very much frown upon by the local climbing community and you don’t want to do that if you are a climbing.

If you find the route is too dangerous then maybe your risk appetite is too low so try something else. Don’t ever chip holds on a natural crag.

7 – Clear up your rubbish

Climbing outdoor is great fun. Clear blue sky, fresh air, wide spaces and trash… Imagine disposable cups, food wrappers and napkins litter all over the crag. I suppose that is not a sight you want to see when you go to your favourite crag. So please clear all your trash. Yes all even those that are biodegradable like orange peels or peanut shells. Keep the crag the way you’ll like it to be when you are climbing.

8 – Keep your eyes on the climber

This is very common at the crag. Long route and the climber is taking a long time on the wall. It is only natural for belayer to get bored and easily distracted. You’ll see belayers checking out other routes or talking to other belayers when their climber is still up on the wall.

Always pay attention to your climber when belaying. Maybe you don’t need to be looking at the climber the whole time but you’ll need to be alert and attend to you climber’s request promptly.

9 – Be mindful when chalking

Climbing in humid environment like in Southeast Asia it is easy to get sweaty palms so using chalk is a must.

However, if you have a tendency to use more chalk than is necessary. Or you like to chalk holds with a shit load of chalk when you climb. Please have the courtesy to brush off the slimy concoction of sweat and chalk from the holds when you are done with the route.

10. No climbing barefooted

Climbing barefooted is like having your smelly toes in the next climber’s hand. The footholds your bare foot stands on will be the next climber’s handholds. So keep that in mind when you are about to climb barefooted.

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