Rock Climbing Etiquette

I have zero desire to be the next Emily Post of Climbing Etiquette, but something needs to be said. After a second weekend dealing with a group of 8–10 clueless climbers who have draws and/or ropes on 2 routes no one is actively climbing, all the while taking over 3 other routes at a busy crag — someone needs a beatdown something needs saying.

I know that a lot of rock climbing etiquette articles (248,000) have already stated some of the obvious things, like pack out your human waste, but there’s just some simple things, common sense things that people should simply adhere to as common courtesy.

Such as:

  • Unless you are bolting a new route, or projecting something 5.12 and up, don’t act like you own the route. Maybe, just maybe, after the 10th attempt at the crux of that 5.9 you should call it a day. Maybe the folks eyeing the route haven’t asked how long you’d be hangdogging a crux because they are simply over-polite, not because they don’t want to climb it.Especially on popular routes. I can understand for anything above 5.12 — they get less traffic just in regards to their difficulty, and sort of demand projecting — but anything less and you should maybe, just maybe, let others give it a go.
  • No, I don’t want to hear your crappy music. I actually go outdoors to enjoy nature, not the latest Katy Perry track. And asking the climbers next to you if it’s alright doesn’t make it right. What about the climbers a couple routes away? Playing your crappy music on your crappy boombox in the outdoors makes everyone suffer.Have you ever heard of wireless headphones? Yeah, I know not being able to hear is dangerous, but since you can’t seem to give up your beloved music for an afternoon maybe that’s a cross you would like to bear?
  • Just because you are willing to let me use the gear you have laying on a route doesn’t give you the right to leave your gear on it all day.I have no idea what condition your draws are in, and even if you understand how to set up a proper anchor. I think I’ve read enough Unbelayvable articles to look at some stranger’s setup askance. Do us all a favor, and if your buddies on the route have to skip out, and you say ‘Just leave it up, we’ll take care of it.’Then you goddamn well better take care of it.
  • If I need beta, I’ll beat it out of you.
  • Of course I can’t find the link now, but one website stated: try not to go in groups of over 4, and bring only one rope for the 4 of you.I like that idea.When you come to a crag like a flashmob of 10+, and other people are looking pissed off at you hogging an entire crag, maybe you should, like many boy bands, consider breaking up.

Okay, now that I have that out of my system, I think I’ve decided to do more trad — and find anywhere else that the crowds have not.

Wish me luck.


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Originally published at on March 14, 2016.