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numptyboy


Jul 27, 2005, 1:21 AM
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French Crag Etiquette
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Hello all, going to Chamonix for first time next monday. Unfortunately not for a full climbing holiday but will squeeze a few days in. Two of my friends have been recently on seperate climbing holidays and came back with disturbing stories at the crag.

Both were leading a route and had a french climber climb over the top of them! There is actually a photo of one of my friends about to clip in and the bloke is actually reaching over! Now, I can understand the crags will be much, much busier than here in Ireland and I could also understand if the route was part of a much bigger climb that had time pressures on it but I've been told that neither of these climbs fit into this category!

This practice to IMO is both rude and dangerous. I have to say if I saw someone tearing up my route I'd be tempted to fall on them...it would teach them some manners or at least take them off the cragg for a while!!(only joking...well...mostly)

Have any of you witnessed/experienced this? I've climbed in both spain and Italy and have never seen this before.


mnanao


Jul 27, 2005, 1:41 AM
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I've never seen anything like this in three years of climbing here. However, I try to stay away from the overpopulated crags as much as possible (except ceuse :-) ).


natrajk


Jul 27, 2005, 2:16 AM
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I'd love to see the photo :shock: :D


numptyboy


Jul 27, 2005, 2:18 AM
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I'll see if I can get my hands on it!!


rastafari


Jul 27, 2005, 2:48 AM
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Yeah, Ceuse is great............/swept away in a dream/


lucas_timmer


Jul 27, 2005, 3:38 AM
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I heard of the many people on some of the alpine routes, like on a good day in the summer 600 people try to climb the Eiger a day,and if you've ever been on the Mont Blanc you've witnessed the hundreds of people on their way to the summit.It isnt what is used to be anymore...

-LT


overlord


Jul 27, 2005, 5:24 AM
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man, thats crazy.

id kick him off the rock. you CANNOT climb a pitch that somebody is already climbing.


firn


Jul 27, 2005, 5:59 AM
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I've seen it happen quite a bit on long routes in the dolomites. If you are slow the guides will climb right over you. I could see it happening in Chamonix, its famous, and crowded. Personally I ask permission to pass.


yedaki


Jul 27, 2005, 6:03 AM
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I've climbed plenty in France (sport), just got back from the Gorges du Tarn. Never saw, heard of or expierenced anything like that.
Don't know about Chamonix though.


timstich


Jul 27, 2005, 6:38 AM
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In reply to:
I heard of the many people on some of the alpine routes, like on a good day in the summer 600 people try to climb the Eiger a day...

Perhaps, but they aren't lining up to do the North Face, that's for sure. Maybe you are thinking of the standard route on the Matterhorn? We only saw a few groups of four going up the Monch from the glacier path to the mountain hut. Never got a look back at the Eiger, as the clouds were pretty thick.


flipnfall


Jul 27, 2005, 6:52 AM
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I could be wrong, but I think these are some practical French climbing etiquette rules:

(1) Don’t step on another climber’s brie cheese
(2) If you want to pass a slower climber, say, “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”
(3) If they say “Wee,” that’s not a queue for you to unzip your fly and take a “whiz.”
(4) Don’t mock them for their funny accent, instead say, “I know your accent is stupid, but I’m not going to mock you.”
(5) If some French dude is giving you a hard time, politely remind them that we won their country and gave it back as a gift.
(6) If they threaten to fight, remember that when the rubber meets the road, the French won’t fight for fear of breaking their baguettes.
(7) Remind them that they’re country is a member of Bush’s “Axis of Evil.”
(8) If all else fails, use the giant fly swatter (see below) to remove unwanted climbers

And in case you don’t know, I’M JUST JOKING! Please don’t send me a ton of stupid PMs about my stupid post being “untrue” or “mean.” I know the French are one of our greatest allies in the war on terror…blah, blah, blah. I’m just having fun. If they’re going to dish out their “America’s an Empire” crap they can take a little crap in return.

GT


dangle


Jul 27, 2005, 7:32 AM
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In May, 1976 when I did the Nose with Dave Cheesmond and Chamonix guide (and grandnephew of "superguide" Armond Charlet) Georges Bettembourge a couple of Georges' fellow Chamonix guides insisted on starting up the route right behind us despite my entreaties for them to delay a day.

They dogged us and never stopped bitching. At Camp 4 one claimed that if it wasn't for us they'd be done. Soon I was finishing the Great Roof when there were some snags on my rope. I looked down to see what was going on and saw one of the rude frogs in the middle of the same pitch yarding with little caution up MY ANCHORS. If he pulled one sideways I could end up stopping his fall unwittingly!

They may in fact have heard me all the way down in the meadow when brandishing my crag hammer overhead and yelling,"You may do that in Chamonix but NOT HERE you &#$*%@ *&$%!!!"

Apparently I succeeded in communicating my feelings to him because despite his weak english he decided to hang out where he was until I finished the pitch. Then Georges came flying up the haul rope to get between us.

Long story short. I agreed to let them pass with the condition that if they got in OUR way I could cut their rope.
Really! No Bull. They were THAT confidant that they had been slowed by us.

Again long story short.
They couldn't get OUT of our way.

Well. They called my bluff. I didn't actually cut it, but they did look a little nervous as I picked my nails repeatedly. And of course every time we bumped up against them again I did my imitation of a thick french accent saying," Oh you amairicaans, you are so stoopeeed! You climb ze rock zo zlow."

They were Georges' friends but even he was laughing out loud at them.




But that was then. This is now.
Now I pretty much only climb my own routes so am more territorial.

Just read what I just posted about climbing in the Alps with a riot gun in "Do You Tip A Guide?" in the General forum.


king_rat


Jul 27, 2005, 8:36 AM
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Hi

I’ve never climbed in France but have had friends who have, and reported this kind of behavior. Particularly from guides who will quite haply climb over you in order to drag their clients up.
:x


chris5106


Jul 27, 2005, 8:40 AM
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Yes I have already seen that in France and it would be the same if we had more bolts in the mountains.
Just have a look at the end of this post I remember http://alpinisme.camptocamp.com/sortie1349.html?cname=%2Aperc%E9e%2A&sidc=402
Please keep in mind that it does not belong to french safety rules and you have to tell them they are stupid guys and if they want to take some risks, there are many other easy 5.12 at 12000 feet in the french mountains that they should try instead of bothering beginners (usually they "overpool" on easy mountain crags, of course)
But please don't be unrespectfull to a country, remember that you are climbers
thanks


johnhenry


Jul 31, 2005, 5:27 PM
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I had a French guy try and climb over me like that at Military Wall in Red River Gorge. I couldn't beleive it. It is not some crazy rumor.

THis dude clipped his draws into mine. Of course it was a cluster once we reached the anchor. Watch out for that shit...

CHeers,

john


wjca


Aug 1, 2005, 6:03 AM
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In reply to:

And in case you don’t know, I’M JUST JOKING! Please don’t send me a ton of stupid PMs about my stupid post being “untrue” or “mean.” I know the French are one of our greatest allies in the war on terror…blah, blah, blah. I’m just having fun. If they’re going to dish out their “America’s an Empire” crap they can take a little crap in return.

GT

Way to puss out there at the end.


slucarelli


Aug 1, 2005, 7:07 AM
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What about the Verdon Gorge? I',m going to be heading out there in September and was just wondering if anyone had any good beta for an enjoyable trip.


lucas_timmer


Aug 4, 2005, 6:19 AM
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In reply to:
What about the Verdon Gorge? I',m going to be heading out there in September and was just wondering if anyone had any good beta for an enjoyable trip.
It isn't such a big problem over there, only in the Alps.

-LT


numptyboy


Aug 19, 2005, 2:46 AM
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Hello All,

Thought I'd post to say what happened about this topic. Just back, great time. As regard the ettiquette the rumours I heard are both true and untrue. In the town itself is a busy crag with easy and moderate grades. DONT GO NEAR! It's where all the guides take their five year old clients fly up and string top ropes up every available anchor then sit back and snooze while they tangle themselves up and figure out how to belay each other.

The one really bad occaasion was more blind stupidity mixed with the rudeness of a guide. Girl friend still nervous about leading so we went down early, found an easy route and off she went. There was french dude on the route to the left at the top, no worries. Next thing guide flies up the route to the right sets up top rope and leaves two french teenagers to it. Girlfriend is half way up climb luckily having reached a nice ledge. Bloke to left procedes to bring up to five year olds (literally) at the same time who immediately go off route onto ours and begin to go under and over our rope stand on quickdraws in place and wrap themselves up good. Their mother? at bottom finds this hilarious...I did not. Girlfriend is getting nervous and decides to wait it out on ledge until they untangle their offspring.

NOPE! while this is ongoing one of the teenage tossers to the right has reach the top of his route and instead of being lowered starts this weird downclimb and also ends up on our route below girlfriend. His mate shouts up, guy looks up amd Girlfriend gestures him over. He then grins stupidly and starts to remove all our quick draws as he's being lowered. He then proudly presents them to me. I want to smack him but I know it's not his fault. Louise gets another draw in and shaken, lowers. I finish route and then proceed to let their guide know how f*cking incompetant I think he is and that if he or any of his come near us again I will cut their ropes. Ok Ok probably didn't do much for international relations but it had passed from bad manners to just pure dangerous.

Anyway rant over. From then on went to crags on outskirts and further into valley, while not empty they appeared to actually know what they were doing and we had a couple of days pleasant climbing.


thomasribiere


Aug 19, 2005, 9:51 AM
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it happened to me in italy too, and not only in the italian alps... and probably elsewhere in Europe... bad education can be seen worldwide...


vivalargo


Aug 19, 2005, 10:32 AM
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Over the years I climbed with a number of French "superclimbers" in Yosemite and found them all to be first rate guys--bold, skilled and hardcore.

But . . . if you drop down a notch to the wannabe superclimbers, or the teenage Francopunks, you might run into a strata of chumps and guttersnipes worthy of a proper ass thrashing if only for their silly, Euro 'tude. As was pointed out earlier, there's a thread of poultroon running through much -- but by no means all -- of French society, telling us that behind some of the bluster and hogwash there's no bite forthcoming whatsoever.

Some guy starts edging on your face of clipping yor draws, bitchslap Francois and the affair is likely over.

JL


dirtineye


Aug 19, 2005, 11:02 AM
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In reply to:
Over the years I climbed with a number of French "superclimbers" in Yosemite and found them all to be first rate guys--bold, skilled and hardcore.

But . . . if you drop down a notch to the wannabe superclimbers, or the teenage Francopunks, you might run into a strata of chumps and guttersnipes worthy of a proper ass thrashing if only for their silly, Euro 'tude. As was pointed out earlier, there's a thread of poultroon running through much -- but by no means all -- of French society, telling us that behind some of the bluster and hogwash there's no bite forthcoming whatsoever.

Some guy starts edging on your face of clipping yor draws, b---- Francois and the affair is likely over.



JL

That's priceless!!!

Same thing about 'merican climbers from what I know. The ones that are or were at or near the top are all pretty nice guys, but the wannabees, that's were you get the shitty attitudes.

I have not heard the word poltroon in a LONG time (oops, is that a pun?). Gotta love a word like poltroon. Gee willickers, that's jim-dandy, by cracky.

From dictionary.com:

pol·troon P Pronunciation Key (pl-trn)
n.
A base coward: ?Every moment of the fashion industry's misery is richly deserved by the designers... and magazine poltroons who perpetuate this absurd creation? (Nina Totenberg).

[French poltron, from Old Italian poltrone, coward, idler, perhaps augmentative of poltro, unbroken colt (from Vulgar Latin *pulliter, from Latin pullus, young animal. See pau- in Indo-European Roots), or from poltro, bed, lazy.]
pol·trooner·y n.


degaine


Aug 19, 2005, 11:06 AM
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I lived and climbed in France for a few years, and never experienced any of the rude behavior mentioned in this thread.

I have, however, steered away from Les Gaillands crag in Chamonix.

However, I have experienced all of the rude behavior mentioned here at crags in the U.S., many times in Yosemite. In addition, a friend of mine had a couple of claimed "Valley Locals" simul-climb right over him on the EB of El Cap, while he was leading.

Some of you obviously have a beef with the French or Europeans in general and look for an excuse to label them as rude.

A-holes are just that, a-holes. Not particular to a culture.


Partner neuroshock


Aug 19, 2005, 11:34 AM
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In reply to:
I had a French guy try and climb over me like that at Military Wall in Red River Gorge. I couldn't beleive it. It is not some crazy rumor.
:wtf: most of the Red is single pitch cragging and i can't think of anything at Military that's multi-pitch... what was your belayer doing letting them get on? :?


In reply to:
I have, however, steered away from Les Gaillands crag in Chamonix.
the only place in France that i've climbed. i was only there for an hour or two with only my climbing shoes and chalk (i had hoped to boulder in Fontainebleau, but i was rained out).

after soloing and downclimbing some route (5.5, maybe?) i was watching, longingly, some French climbers TR a 12a (7a+, right?). after they'd had their goes on it, in broken English, they offered me the use of a harness and a free belay. totally made my day! 8^)


so, they're not all bad. just like here in the US, there are a few rotten apples, but everyone's generally friendly.


vivalargo


Aug 19, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Deganine-- I totally agree with you. The French guys I climbed with were really great folks and would have smacked anyone--French or otherwise--who tried to storm them on a pitch.

JL


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