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 Are You Dating a Serial…Climber?

Serial climbers and serial killers often display similar warning signs, and to the untrained eye, it can be difficult to tell the two apart. We frequently get questions from people that are concerned their loved ones might be a serial killer, but the person in question claims to be just a climber.

Similarly, if you’ve recently met someone that you’re interested in seeing again, but you have some reservations that they might be a serial killer, we’ve provided some advice to help you distinguish who is just a very active climber and your run-of-the-mill psycho killer.

Climbing Crags or Claiming Lives  

Below we’ve addressed some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the hallmark signs of a serial climber and the glaring evidence of being a murderer:

Disappearing for Long Periods

“Why does my loved one drop all contact with the outside world periodically? They’re often impossible to reach via their cell-phone, social media, or home address – sometimes for days at a time.”

While these could be the signs of someone that has left their cell-phone behind to stalk the streets at night, it’s also a sign that your climbing friend has left the industrial world behind to scramble around on some rocks. Long absences from the developed world are often the first warning sign that someone is becoming a serial climber. At first, new climbers are hard to reach for short periods, maybe a couple of hours in the afternoon, but soon they’re disappearing for weekend trips into distant mountain ranges and can be out of contact for many days.

Tape and Rope are Lying Around

“Why do they have so much tape and rope lying around? Are they using it to tie up unsuspecting victims?”

Possibly, but it is unlikely.

If you’re interacting with a serial climber, it’s more likely that they’re using the rope to belay their friends up climbs and rappel down the sides of mountains. The tape is not being used to cover the mouths of victims. Instead, it’s being used to cover the blisters and little cuts that develop on the hands of climbers.

They Own a Van  

“Why are they driving around town in a van? Is that giant creepy van for abducting potential targets?”

We certainly hope not.

Think of a climber’s van as a mini RV. Climbers aren’t exactly homeless (although they may look it), they have just chosen a lifestyle that requires more mobility than most people. So the van is not usually for abducting potential targets. Instead, it’s the mini home that climbers return to after a long day in the mountains.

Dirt on Everything

“Why is everything covered in dust and dirt? Is it because my friend/lover/relative/acquaintance is burying bodies in the wilderness?”

Climbing is an excellent way to get covered in dirt and dust. You’re spending your days scrambling over dirty rocks and hiking around the backcountry. While it’s possible your climber friend is burying bodies in the woods, it’s more probable that they’re having a good time in the outdoors. You should consider joining them.  

Speaking Nonsense  

“Why is my loved one speaking crazy? They’re saying things like ‘Brah, beta says there’s no bomber protection on the layback crux.’ Aren’t these the ramblings of a deranged homicidal maniac?”

Climbers talk strangely. Over the years climbers have developed an odd dialect, and you have to trust that there’s a meaning behind all the words in the rock climbing vernacular. For example, beta means “information” regarding the route, “bomber protection” refers to gear placements that are safe and secure, “layback” is a particular type of climbing move, and the “crux” is the hardest part of the climb.  

Unkempt Appearance  

“Why does my loved one look so raggedy? Their clothes don’t fit them, they’ve recently grown a scraggly beard, and they’re dirty.”

If you notice a serial climber’s clothes don’t fit, it’s probably because climbing burns a ton of calories and climbers don’t eat enough food while they’re climbing. Your climbing friend probably grew out their beard or leg hair because shaving is a hassle in the wilderness, and the rocks don’t care how hairy you are. Finally, climbers are dirty because climbers don’t usually have access to showers on a climbing trip (plus, showering sacrifices valuable climbing time).  

Odd Cuts, Bruises, and Scrapes

“Why does my friend always look scraped up, especially around their hands? Are these small injuries from fighting with victims?”

It’s not uncommon for climbers to have little scrapes and bruises here and there, especially if they’ve recently climbed through and off-width crack or a chimney. Significant and frequent injuries are not typical, but little scrapes can be expected from climbers.

Dead Bodies

“Why are there dead bodies buried in the backyard?”

We can’t help you with this one. That person IS a serial killer.

Wait for a Confession, not a Coffin

Our final thoughts are that unless you’ve uncovered a dead body, your friend or loved one is probably not a serial killer. Serial climbing can take its toll on relationships and the human body, but it’s not anything as serious as murder. Your friend is probably not disappearing to plan a homicide. They’re just out climbing in the mountains and having a good time. Similarly, if they’re coming home covered in dirt and debris, it’s just from scrambling over rocks in the mountains. That creepy cargo van they want to buy is not for kidnappings, they’re fantastic mini-RVs that give exceptional access to the mountains.

Rest assured, your loved one is just another serial climber…until he or she confess otherwise.