Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Climbing Gym Characters

GearGals has a list of 10 types of people who inhabit a climbing gym. Most of them I have not seen. I, much to my chagrin, fall under her definition of:

The Helper: He won’t let you walk away from any problem without helping. He’s got a voice that carries so even when you’re two stories up you can hear him yelling ‘left foot on blue! Left foot on blue!’ like you’re in a crowded game of vertical Twister. The Helper clearly thinks you are a fool for not seeing the obvious sequence he’s directing you to do. The Helper has never seen you before and he doesn’t care. He’s Helping. It’s what he does.”

There is one type of person I’ve noticed in the gym, that she doesn’t mention. I think I’ll call it this person the “Self-esteemer.”

Here’s an example of a self-esteemer. In the last week, I have given 7 top rope belay tests at the gym. All 7 of the climbers told me they had been climbing and belaying for “a long time.”  6 of the 7 told me they belayed as part of their jobs working at various climbing walls. All 6 of those people flunked the belay test. They either did not know how to tie a knot, did not know how to use a belay tool, or did not keep a brake hand on the rope.

The 7th person said, “I have climbed for years but I am a little rusty right now. I am not sure if I remember everything about it.” He passed his test with flying colors. Moral of the story: I am not sure.

Maybe the moral is: the people who have the biggest talk, have the smallest experience.

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