Always Practice Outdoor Etiquette
We’ve all seen “that guy” at the sport climbing crag. Easily identified by their complete disregard for nature conservation, lack of knowledge regarding basic safety procedures, and they’re often known for their unnecessarily loud voices or having no outdoor etiquette – these people frequently give climbers a bad name. Here, we’re going to recommend that you don’t ever be “that guy.” If you’re new to outdoor climbing, or you need a refresher on basic outdoor climbing etiquette, we’ve compiled some words of wisdom below.
If you’re at a climbing crag or another outdoor area, don’t ever do the following things:
Disregard Basic Safety Commands
These people are too cool for school. Failing to use commands such as “on belay” or “climb on” is a big deal, miscommunication is the basis for many avoidable climbing accidents. It’s the climbing equivalent of not using your seatbelt in a car, you can get away with it most of the time, but when things go wrong, they go wrong. Never be too cool for school.
Climbing can be exciting, and if you’re out bouldering or sport climbing a little bit of shouting is unavoidable. By “excessive shouting” we’re talking about the group that’s loudly spraying questionable beta. Often, their questionable advice is punctuated with thoughtful statements such as “SEND! SEND!”
While we recognize encouraging your friends to climb hard is part of the fun, remember that the outdoors are shared by everyone, and noise pollution is a thing.
Ah yes, everyone loves having someone else’s dog in the midst of their belay area. If you’re looking to irritate everyone in sight, let your dog run wild through the crag or bouldering area. Otherwise, keep your animal on a leash, even if he’s “very friendly.”
Flying a Drone
Drones can be cool at certain times in a particular place, but limit how many flyovers you’re conducting at a popular climbing crag. If you’re a climber on a wall, having a strangers drone buzzing nearby can be annoying as well as terrifying.
Climbing can be difficult, and a little grunting is expected if you’re red-pointing a route. But there’s grunting, and then there’s grunting. The type of grunting that’s done to get attention, or to prove how hard you’re climbing, can be left at home.
There’s a place in purgatory awaiting those that litter on public lands. Even if things are biodegradable, such as paper or orange peels, it can take many years for these object to biodegrade (especially in a desert environment). It should have to go without saying, but it’s somewhat surprising how many climbers blatantly disregard this tenant of mountaineering.
“Yard Sales” in climbing vernacular generally refer to spreading equipment out EVERYWHERE. On crowded days at the crag, there’s nothing worse than people that feel the need to spread their stuff out over a quarter-mile radius from their belay station. Keep your gear to yourself, so you don’t make a crowded area even worse, your fellow climbers will appreciate it.
Disregard Nature Conservation
There are many ways to disrespect the outdoors. Take trail cutting, for example. Trail cutting is when people don’t stay on the trails, usually to reduce their travel time in between two points. While it doesn’t usually seem like a big deal to leave the path a little early and cut across to your destination, this rapidly increases the rate of erosion when dozens or hundreds of people do it. As climbers that are trying to enjoy the outdoors, we must uphold basic tenants of nature conservation. If that responsibility it too much for you, consider never leaving the climbing gym.
Always Be Awesome
In conclusion, if you’re going to climb in the outdoors, you have to abide by basic outdoor etiquette. Do your best to avoid being obnoxious if you’re close to other climbers; keep the shouting within reason, assess whether you need to go shirtless for your Instagram pics, and don’t fly a drone. Further, for your safety and the safety of others, always use your basic climbing commands and wear a helmet; if you’re unwilling to abide by necessary safety measures, you’re asking for an accident, and you probably should have stayed in the gym. Finally, nature conservation is the duty of every climber, protect the outdoors or don’t ever try to climb in it.