Climbing Etiquette – let’s share the wall, eh?

To be honest, these are mostly common sense rules but it’s amazing how many people don’t seem to follow them, it’s not like I’ve been doing this for ages! There’s also a danger you might read this as a rant. The reason for that is because I have a tendency to rant. Hmm. Anyway, let’s get into some simple rules for climbing etiquette…

Don’t crowd people

If someone is doing a route and you want to do the one right next to it, just wait a minute for them to finish.

If you push on anyway, they could hurt you if they fall. Or you could ruin their climb because you’ve invaded their space. Or – look, just don’t do it. Be cool and wait your turn. Let’s all be friends and play together nicely.

Somebody did this to me last week and I was half way up, it totally messed with my rhythm and plan. It’s pretty selfish when I’d have been off the wall in less than two minutes.

It seems there are people in all sports (heck, all activities), who just don’t care about personal space and which bit of the planet is currently in use. Whether you’re swimming laps or trying to navigate a supermarket – some people can just be awful.

So, don’t be awful.

Be aware of where people are

When you’re going around corners or through tunnels or past slides, just be aware of where people are or could be. You don’t want to be fallen on and they don’t want to fall on you.

Just pay attention and be considerate (a theme perhaps!).

Do talk to strangers

This is perfectly okay. Congratulate people, share tips, ponder together – it’s all good.

Apparently this happens more to me than my friend, but that’s most likely because I do it to other people. I also spend a lot of time watching other people because I want to know how they do things.

So, do talk to strangers. Unless of course they’re scary. Or you’re scary. Or they just don’t want you to talk to them. Basically, read the situation and respond appropriately.

Unless you know who you’re dealing with, don’t talk mid-route

I had to give myself a proper talking to when a guy stole my climbing buddy on our last session. We were mid way through figuring out a route and this guy comes over and asks my friend for advice. Advice on the route I’d figured out weeks before, but whatever.

So my friend disappeared off around the corner and I made slow progress on our route. Then this guy asked to try the route I was on AND have tips from my buddy. I was still on it, so I jokingly told him to watch how not to do it…

Then, while I was in mid-reach for the tricky hold, he starts “joking” that I won’t make it.

Firstly, having someone talk at you while you’re part-way through a tricky move – heck, any move – is really distracting. My buddy and I do that to each other, but we know each other and can see when is good to talk and when not. That and our relationship allows us to tell each other to shut up and that their turn has just been forfeited. And we apologise. This guy didn’t. Anyway, that leads me to the next tip…

Be nice – think TEAM.

I don’t need someone telling me I can’t. When I’m on the wall, I am busy telling my own voice to zip it when it says I can’t. When I’m off of the wall, I am AMAZED by the distance I manage to travel and the moves I manage to pull off. I’m also amazed by what other people are achieving all around me.

I cannot imagine saying anything negative in that space. It’s not helpful, it’s not necessary and it’s certainly not welcome.

I’m fine admitting that it might be funny, in any other situation, but hey – there are other ways to be funny. Work on that.

Basically everything else is allowed, assuming you’re following the rules set out by your climbing gym. I have seen dogs on the bean bags, babies even – I don’t know why it feels more “normal” for dogs to be there!

So just chill out, have fun and do your thing. Just, make sure you’re not stopping other people from doing theirs…


climbing etiquette (1)

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