Monday, June 27, 2011

Stealing Climbing Gear

Allii Rainey writes about the theft of her draws from a route she’s developed at Ten Sleep. She says:

“You, and every other person like you who steals gear from other climbers, destroys the sense of cooperative spirit and unity that binds the climbing community together.”

I understand her anger but I wonder why we assume climbing is different from other human activities. The “climbing community” consists of individuals who could be nice, generous, helpful, honest, truthful and also mean, competitive, dishonest, unhelpful, and thieving. What people who like to climb have in common is an interest in climbing. Your climbing friends would never do anything like steal gear. But that’s why they’re your friends. But to expect the same from the “climbing community,” I think, is naïve.

I have replaced many ‘biners at the anchor chains on Red Wing routes. Most of the time, they are still there when I check back. But, many times, someone has removed the new ones I placed and put an older one in its place. Or, just taken the new ones off. I have learned not to expect anything different from climbers than I would expect from drivers, shoppers, anglers, dog walkers, etc. So when I donate gear to a route, I don’t expect it to remain. That way, I ‘m not disappointed if it’s gone. Also, that way, I would never donate more gear than I’m willing to lose. As Edna St Vincent Millay said, “I love humanity but I hate people.” (I don’t really hate people, but I hope you get my point.)

There are consequences from not being able to trust the group of individuals who are climbers. She says this:

  • “People will be less likely to leave in situ draws on climbs in the future.
  • Crag developers tend to become less enthusiastic and open about sharing beta about the newest crags under development, preferring instead to wait until they’re done with climbing/bolting in these areas,”

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