Spring has officially arrived! Soon all those itching for real rock will be rewarded for their patience. Climbers will be arriving in droves to their favorite climbing spots each sunny weekend, and migrations south are happening as I type. With 2 new guidebooks coming out for Ontario we can only assume to see a few more people enjoying the local Crags than last year. Now sometimes things can feel a bit crowded, but if everyone (newbies ad vets alike) follow the same set of rules for outdoor climbing, then we can all focus on sending our next project, enjoying the sunshine, and appreciate each others excitement to be outdoors. So without further delay here is a quick review of Crag etiquette.
All manners at the Crag begin with 2 questions:
-Am I being respectful?
-Am I being safe?
If your answer to both of these questions is “YES” you are probably acting like a model climbing citizen. If you answer no…
we may have to recruit some serious reinforcement to get you in line. Unfortunately there are no climbing police so fierce cut-eye, and better yet friendly reminders will have to do.
Your fellow climbers.
Sharing is caring, so remember that taking up an entire area is not good manners. This means keeping your gear tidy in a contained space so that others can pass or park. It also means not hogging a route, or pressuring someone to get off when it is clearly their turn.
The space you are using.
You are outside, that is no excuse to act like a wild animal. Unlike the gym no one comes in at the end of the day to clean up your mess. So manage your shit, both literal and figurative. Don’t litter, don’t destroy what nature put there, or the trails provided for that matter, and for goodness sake channel your inner kitty and bury excrement. If the area looks different when you leave from when you had come in: you have done something wrong.
Unless you own your own Crag, you are climbing on someone’s property. Know the rules for that area ahead of time: parking, hours of access, fees, waivers, knowing whether or not you can lower off chains or top-rope, and countless other things are all your responsibility. If you are resourceful enough to get yourself to the Crag, finding out the rules shouldn’t be too difficult.
No one wants to see you get hurt.
So know your way around a Crag. If you are new to the outdoor scene have an experienced climber in your party, or take an outdoor class. The lead test you took at your local gym does not prepare you for the outdoors.
Be humble and aware. Experienced climbers can get a little lax with safety too sometimes. Remember; being comfortable is one thing, complacent is another.
No one wants your actions to endanger themselves either.
Do not distract nearby climbers. Loud noises, and unexpected distractions take the focus of both the climber and the belayer from the task at hand.
-Playing music. Headphones are encouraged, speakers are not.
-Little people and pet breakdowns. Generally the presence of both is a positive addition to the Crag. But in case of meltdown please evacuate until the coast is clear. Your fellow climbers will thank you.
-Yelling. OK the occasional sending scream is encouraged, swearing happens, and many share beta from time to time (when asked for). But everything in moderation.
Wishing everyone a fun and safe outdoor season,