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johnwesely


Nov 6, 2011, 5:06 AM
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Everyone Blames Gyms but...
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College climbing walls in particular seem to be the source of problems at the crag far more often than gym rats in general. Big groups, loud music, trash, you name it, kids fresh from the college climbing wall love to be a nuisance. Thinking about this over the weekend, I realized it was because of the insular nature of climbing walls. Most college climbers start at their wall and only interact with other climbers who did the same. Then, they go outside in big groups and that mentality remains.

Any thoughts?


acorneau


Nov 6, 2011, 6:20 AM
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In general, i would concur with your theory as I have seen the same around my local crags.


tH1e-swiN1e


Nov 6, 2011, 8:26 AM
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Id agree that of both gyms the on-campus ones will probably send the most unethical climbers to the crag. I still say that neither gyms teach the basic crag/nature ethics needed for said climbers to head outside.


coastal_climber


Nov 6, 2011, 8:29 AM
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While it is super annoying to have these groups at the crags, i'm not sure its the responsibility of the gym to teach crag etiquette. the gym is a business, there to make money.

If the gyms could suggest "intro to climbing" courses through local guiding services, then perhaps new climbers would be more aware.


csproul


Nov 7, 2011, 6:42 AM
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johnwesely wrote:
College climbing walls in particular seem to be the source of problems at the crag far more often than gym rats in general. Big groups, loud music, trash, you name it, kids fresh from the college climbing wall love to be a nuisance. Thinking about this over the weekend, I realized it was because of the insular nature of climbing walls. Most college climbers start at their wall and only interact with other climbers who did the same. Then, they go outside in big groups and that mentality remains.

Any thoughts?
So you saw the giant group from Florida up at the New this weekend too?


bearbreeder


Nov 7, 2011, 6:56 AM
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ive seen "experienced" and "confident" climbers out here doing things that are outright dangerous to parties below ... such as soloing above others on the same line, climbing through other climbers who are still on lead without permission, etc ...

im actually least worried about "gym" climbers on TR ... sure they are annoying but then they are on TR and wont usually kill others

besides theres often hawt gurls with em Wink


mikeclimbingdude


Nov 7, 2011, 8:31 AM
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i think it is like saying, it's not the gun that kills people, it's people who kill people,it's not the gym that killed the grag, it's people who killed the grag. it's not just at your favorite climbing places with these big groups, but with road biking as well. it's all about my gruop is here!, and f$%# everyone eles, i don't care if i bum your nature trip, it's all about me and my group. so don't blame it on the school climbing wall, or the climbing gym, put blame where it belongs, on the people, and the group mantality that has found it's way in to sports like biking and climbing, the key word here is"EDUCATE"


caughtinside


Nov 7, 2011, 8:42 AM
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I think it is oversimplifying to say it's just college walls.

I think you need to look at why people are outdoors. If you've been camping and hiking in the woods your whole life, and then join the college gym and go on a climbing trip, chances are you'll know how to behave outdoors.

If you're a city kid who has never been more than 20 minutes from a road in your life, start climbing at the college gym and then go on the college rad rock trip, chances are you won't know how behave appropriately outdoors.

So if you're a cllimber who's drawn outdoors with climbing as part of that outdoors experience you'll probably do fine. If you're a gym rat who is only going outside because that's the next step for gym rat radness, you'll probably need some education. Hopefully from more experienced friends.


johnwesely


Nov 7, 2011, 8:49 AM
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caughtinside wrote:
I think it is oversimplifying to say it's just college walls.

I think you need to look at why people are outdoors. If you've been camping and hiking in the woods your whole life, and then join the college gym and go on a climbing trip, chances are you'll know how to behave outdoors.

If you're a city kid who has never been more than 20 minutes from a road in your life, start climbing at the college gym and then go on the college rad rock trip, chances are you won't know how behave appropriately outdoors.

So if you're a cllimber who's drawn outdoors with climbing as part of that outdoors experience you'll probably do fine. If you're a gym rat who is only going outside because that's the next step for gym rat radness, you'll probably need some education. Hopefully from more experienced friends.

I am not saying it is just college walls, but they do seem to be worse than traditional rock gyms at producing obnoxious and disrespectful climbers.


caughtinside


Nov 7, 2011, 8:54 AM
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johnwesely wrote:
caughtinside wrote:
I think it is oversimplifying to say it's just college walls.

I think you need to look at why people are outdoors. If you've been camping and hiking in the woods your whole life, and then join the college gym and go on a climbing trip, chances are you'll know how to behave outdoors.

If you're a city kid who has never been more than 20 minutes from a road in your life, start climbing at the college gym and then go on the college rad rock trip, chances are you won't know how behave appropriately outdoors.

So if you're a cllimber who's drawn outdoors with climbing as part of that outdoors experience you'll probably do fine. If you're a gym rat who is only going outside because that's the next step for gym rat radness, you'll probably need some education. Hopefully from more experienced friends.

I am not saying it is just college walls, but they do seem to be worse than traditional rock gyms at producing obnoxious and disrespectful climbers.

Well you are likely correct there... but I have a hard time faulting 20 year olds for being obnoxious and disrespectful, having once been one myself.


csproul


Nov 7, 2011, 8:56 AM
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johnwesely wrote:
caughtinside wrote:
I think it is oversimplifying to say it's just college walls.

I think you need to look at why people are outdoors. If you've been camping and hiking in the woods your whole life, and then join the college gym and go on a climbing trip, chances are you'll know how to behave outdoors.

If you're a city kid who has never been more than 20 minutes from a road in your life, start climbing at the college gym and then go on the college rad rock trip, chances are you won't know how behave appropriately outdoors.

So if you're a cllimber who's drawn outdoors with climbing as part of that outdoors experience you'll probably do fine. If you're a gym rat who is only going outside because that's the next step for gym rat radness, you'll probably need some education. Hopefully from more experienced friends.

I am not saying it is just college walls, but they do seem to be worse than traditional rock gyms at producing obnoxious and disrespectful climbers.
I think you are largely on the right track, but I also think that just being a college-age person goes a long ways towards producing obnoxious disrespectful people (or maybe that's just the aging curmudgeon in me talking).


Partner happiegrrrl


Nov 7, 2011, 9:22 AM
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coastal_climber wrote:
While it is super annoying to have these groups at the crags, i'm not sure its the responsibility of the gym to teach crag etiquette. the gym is a business, there to make money.

I think a gym could definitely include "Getting Out There" workshops, where a local guide comes in and barters their exposure as a service for the workshop. They could give a general talk on what the local ethics are, and also the issues.

When I took my first workshop as a climber9I SO wanted to get outside, and wasn't finding a way, so when the w/shop was offered - I grabbed the chance).

These guys told us before we even got to the crag the proper behaviors in the setting. No screaming, no horseplay, no leaving shit around(literally), etc.

For this workshop, it was assumed most would not really pick up climbing, but a gym crowd is different, and I think explaining things like not setting up camp with unused TR's all day and stuff like that would be well to be included.


mr_rogers


Nov 7, 2011, 9:22 AM
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Some thoughts:

(and this is coming from the perspective of someone who learned to climb in college, has been the doofus marching about with the large group, been the doofus shepherding the large group around, been the doofus taking a dozen summer camp kids top-roping, and been the doofus bitching about the large group)

(1) How much of this is not so much "college climbing walls" and just "college kids." You were dumber when you were 19. I know I was.

(2) How much of this is that college groups are generally large beginner groups? Beginner groups are, let's be honest, annoying. They're new the area and the sport, enthusiastic in a way that's grating to cynical old hands, ask dumb questions, make dumb mistakes, and don't understand the unwritten local rules of "how to act" at a crag.

(3) I suspect that part of the problem is also that college kids (often) are beginners and all arrive in the same van, so they stick together. Also, they might have to stick together because of limited equipment or experienced climbers to set up routes for them. A group of beginners from a commercial climbing gym is generally only as large as the number of folks that can squeeze into one or two cars. A college outing club, however, has access to 15 passenger vans. More space in the van = bigger group = more annoying. (Large guided groups have similar problems, but they generally have a guide with them who can regulate a bit).


eRJe


Nov 7, 2011, 9:34 AM
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johnwesely wrote:
caughtinside wrote:
I think it is oversimplifying to say it's just college walls.

I think you need to look at why people are outdoors. If you've been camping and hiking in the woods your whole life, and then join the college gym and go on a climbing trip, chances are you'll know how to behave outdoors.

If you're a city kid who has never been more than 20 minutes from a road in your life, start climbing at the college gym and then go on the college rad rock trip, chances are you won't know how behave appropriately outdoors.

So if you're a cllimber who's drawn outdoors with climbing as part of that outdoors experience you'll probably do fine. If you're a gym rat who is only going outside because that's the next step for gym rat radness, you'll probably need some education. Hopefully from more experienced friends.

I am not saying it is just college walls, but they do seem to be worse than traditional rock gyms at producing obnoxious and disrespectful climbers.

And here I thought it was RC.com that produced obnoxious and disrespectful climbers. Tongue


blueeyedclimber


Nov 7, 2011, 11:46 AM
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mikeclimbingdude wrote:
i think it is like saying, it's not the gun that kills people, it's people who kill people,it's not the gym that killed the grag, it's people who killed the grag. it's not just at your favorite climbing places with these big groups, but with road biking as well. it's all about my gruop is here!, and f$%# everyone eles, i don't care if i bum your nature trip, it's all about me and my group. so don't blame it on the school climbing wall, or the climbing gym, put blame where it belongs, on the people, and the group mantality that has found it's way in to sports like biking and climbing, the key word here is"EDUCATE"

Cool


petsfed


Nov 7, 2011, 12:02 PM
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mr_rogers wrote:
(1) How much of this is not so much "college climbing walls" and just "college kids." You were dumber when you were 19. I know I was.

College kids are actually a leading cause of my climber-specific misanthropy.


Partner j_ung


Nov 7, 2011, 1:04 PM
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caughtinside wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
caughtinside wrote:
I think it is oversimplifying to say it's just college walls.

I think you need to look at why people are outdoors. If you've been camping and hiking in the woods your whole life, and then join the college gym and go on a climbing trip, chances are you'll know how to behave outdoors.

If you're a city kid who has never been more than 20 minutes from a road in your life, start climbing at the college gym and then go on the college rad rock trip, chances are you won't know how behave appropriately outdoors.

So if you're a cllimber who's drawn outdoors with climbing as part of that outdoors experience you'll probably do fine. If you're a gym rat who is only going outside because that's the next step for gym rat radness, you'll probably need some education. Hopefully from more experienced friends.

I am not saying it is just college walls, but they do seem to be worse than traditional rock gyms at producing obnoxious and disrespectful climbers.

Well you are likely correct there... but I have a hard time faulting 20 year olds for being obnoxious and disrespectful, having once been one myself.

Huh. I thought you were still one. Tongue


Partner camhead


Nov 7, 2011, 1:11 PM
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johnwesely wrote:
caughtinside wrote:
I think it is oversimplifying to say it's just college walls.

I think you need to look at why people are outdoors. If you've been camping and hiking in the woods your whole life, and then join the college gym and go on a climbing trip, chances are you'll know how to behave outdoors.

If you're a city kid who has never been more than 20 minutes from a road in your life, start climbing at the college gym and then go on the college rad rock trip, chances are you won't know how behave appropriately outdoors.

So if you're a cllimber who's drawn outdoors with climbing as part of that outdoors experience you'll probably do fine. If you're a gym rat who is only going outside because that's the next step for gym rat radness, you'll probably need some education. Hopefully from more experienced friends.

I am not saying it is just college walls, but they do seem to be worse than traditional rock gyms at producing obnoxious and disrespectful climbers.

I agree that campus boards college walls likely produce even more douches at the crag than commercial climbing gyms.

In addition to your reasons laid out above, remember that most college rock walls are employed by work study students, who often did not even choose to work there. So, you have fewer employees instilling senses of climbing history, style, and ethics into the noobs at the gym. It's the blind leading the blind.


tower_climber


Nov 9, 2011, 7:47 AM
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camhead wrote:
I agree that campus boards college walls likely produce even more douches at the crag than commercial climbing gyms.

In addition to your reasons laid out above, remember that most college rock walls are employed by work study students, who often did not even choose to work there. So, you have fewer employees instilling senses of climbing history, style, and ethics into the noobs at the gym. It's the blind leading the blind.

I disagree with you on this one. As an employee at a college wall, I can say that our employees are all hired specifically for the wall. Even for a work-study position, you must apply and demonstrate a proficiency and passion for climbing and teaching.

The problem here is that we don't really have a "climbing gym" per se. We have a climbing wall as part of our larger university recreation department. The people who are ultimately responsible for the wall are not climbers and do not understand what goes into running a climbing gym. Employees do not have the freedom to interact with participants or try to educate them on proper climbing etiquette.

I also see a much larger section of our student population bouldering than I see at my home gyms.

However, I also work with our outdoor rec program and help lead outdoor climbing trips for students. These trips emphasize crag etiquette, leave no trace and responsible outdoor behavior.


redonkulus


Nov 9, 2011, 8:26 AM
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mikeclimbingdude wrote:
the key word here is"EDUCATE"
Man, I was so hoping you would spell that wrong...


petsfed


Nov 9, 2011, 9:21 AM
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tower_climber wrote:
I disagree with you on this one. As an employee at a college wall, I can say that our employees are all hired specifically for the wall. Even for a work-study position, you must apply and demonstrate a proficiency and passion for climbing and teaching.

I've worked both college walls and for-profit walls. I think its a mistake to claim that your particular college is representative of all colleges, or if you've worked at a commercial gym, that your experiences there are representative of gyms in general. I'm glad that your gym works that way, but I've been to many gyms, commercial or otherwise, that favor a customer service background over a climbing background, and specifically avoid mention of how things work outside of the gym so as to minimize liability due to "expert advice".


csproul


Nov 9, 2011, 9:50 AM
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tower_climber wrote:
camhead wrote:
I agree that campus boards college walls likely produce even more douches at the crag than commercial climbing gyms.

In addition to your reasons laid out above, remember that most college rock walls are employed by work study students, who often did not even choose to work there. So, you have fewer employees instilling senses of climbing history, style, and ethics into the noobs at the gym. It's the blind leading the blind.

I disagree with you on this one. As an employee at a college wall, I can say that our employees are all hired specifically for the wall. Even for a work-study position, you must apply and demonstrate a proficiency and passion for climbing and teaching.

The problem here is that we don't really have a "climbing gym" per se. We have a climbing wall as part of our larger university recreation department. The people who are ultimately responsible for the wall are not climbers and do not understand what goes into running a climbing gym. Employees do not have the freedom to interact with participants or try to educate them on proper climbing etiquette.

I also see a much larger section of our student population bouldering than I see at my home gyms.

However, I also work with our outdoor rec program and help lead outdoor climbing trips for students. These trips emphasize crag etiquette, leave no trace and responsible outdoor behavior.
I noticed that you live in NC, do you happen to work at the UNC-CH climbing walls? If so, do you really believe that the UNC climbing gyms do any real teaching of the students that climb there? Do you really think that the employees demonstrate proficiency in climbing and teaching?


mikeclimbingdude


Nov 9, 2011, 10:08 AM
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sorry to disappoint you, but we can spell here in california. Tongue


tolman_paul


Nov 9, 2011, 2:52 PM
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johnwesely wrote:
College climbing walls in particular seem to be the source of problems at the crag far more often than gym rats in general. Big groups, loud music, trash, you name it, kids fresh from the college climbing wall love to be a nuisance. Thinking about this over the weekend, I realized it was because of the insular nature of climbing walls. Most college climbers start at their wall and only interact with other climbers who did the same. Then, they go outside in big groups and that mentality remains.

Any thoughts?

I call BS. There are some people that are douche bags, whether they are climbing, at a bar, or a football game, they are just d-bags plain and simple.

I started a climbing club in ~'90 at the university I was attending. Our group climbs would be somewhere between 4-12 people. No yelling or screeming, no loud music, no trash, just climbers climbing. I'd venture to say 20+ years later if I went aon a group climb with them I'd see similar behaviour.

A small percentage of climbers are rude, selfish and otherwise obnoxious. But I'd be not the least bit suprised to find that from upper middle class, inner city, spawn of hippies and podunk backwoods upbringings, and both college educated and not so eductated.


tower_climber


Nov 9, 2011, 3:56 PM
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csproul wrote:
I noticed that you live in NC, do you happen to work at the UNC-CH climbing walls? If so, do you really believe that the UNC climbing gyms do any real teaching of the students that climb there? Do you really think that the employees demonstrate proficiency in climbing and teaching?

I sure don't. I work with Appalachian's gym and climbing program. I know for a fact that both areas of our program are staffed by experienced climbers that provide quality instruction. I cannot speak to the proficiency (or lack thereof) of other school programs.

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