Climbing Etiquette.

So, you’re a rock climber now, huh? You’ve got the gear, you’ve got the skills, and now you’re ready to head outside and climb rocks! But, how do you interact with other climbers at the cliff? How do you make sure you don’t say something to make you look stupid? Or worse, offend someone? Here’s some tips and climbers etiquette:

  • Climbing routes can be reserved. When you get to a cliff, and you’re looking for a route to climb, sometimes you will see rope hanging from it. Sometimes, there won’t even be any climbers near by. This means that a climber has taken the time to set up an “anchor” and place his/her rope on it. This takes time, and depending on how dangerous the top of the cliff is, requires a certain amount of skill to do safely. The climbers have reserved this route to climb, and it is unwise to try to set up your rope on the same line. Trust me, this will definitely start conflict. Find a different route without a rope hanging from it.
  • Climbers love music. It has been my experience that you almost always hear music at the crags. But before you blast Dr. Dre on your portable speaker, make sure you ask everyone at the crag what their taste in music is. You don’t want to play Hip Hop if the other group at the cliff prefers Jazz. An easy way to accommodate everyone, I’ve found, is to swap out iPods every half hour or so. This way everyone gets to hear their own music at least once.speakers
  • If you’re out there, chatting with other climbers and making friends, please be mindful of what style the climbers are climbing in. Some climbers are top roping, in this case it is safe to walk over and start a conversation with them. However, there are other kinds of rock climbing, such as traditional rock climbing. This is where the climbers start from the bottom of the climb, as well as their ropes. As they climb up, they stick in pieces of metal protection such as chocks and SLCDs (post on that to follow). This technique requires immense concentration, and as such, please respect these climbers by not talking to them while they are climbing and/or belaying.
  • Learn your commands! Nothing will make you stand out more as a noobie than not knowing your climbing commands. Climbers have their own language, and it’s best to learn it ahead of time so you don’t look foolish. When you start to climb, turn to your partner and say, “Climbing”, then he/she should respond, “Belaying”. If you need to rest after a hard move, let your partner know by saying, “Rest”. This lets him know to sit on the rope to make it tight so that you do not lose upward progress. They should respond with something like, “Static”, so that you know that the rope is now tight and you can rest. When you continue climbing, repeat “Climbing”, and your partner should repeat “Belaying”. Other commands are: “Watch me”, to indicate you are doing a hard move. “Dirt me”, to indicate you are ready to be lowered to the ground (dirt). “Come on!”, to cheer on a climber. “Sent”, a way of saying you got to the top of a route. There are hundreds more, and I will list all of them in a later post.

That’s it for now. I will continue to add posts about how to behave while rock climbing in future posts, but for now, stay safe and have fun!

As always, walking is knot climbing 😉

10 thoughts on “Climbing Etiquette.

  1. I suggest you bring a big enough speaker that everyone at the cliff can hear it, those little ones suck cause you can only hear the music 1-3 routes away! I only play reggae because everyone loves reggae!


  2. Correction: Nothing will make you stand out more as a noobie than having a blog about sh*t you obviously don’t know anything about. Really there are other types of climbing than top roping????? Do tell! I top rope Half Dome all the time!!! I also use my homemade hemp rope and water bottle jacket I made!


  3. I honestly can’t tell if this is intended to be satire or not. I hope so, but in that case, it’s not clear enough that it’s a joke, and some people will take it seriously. If this isn’t a joke, then I sure hope you don’t climb near me.. Just to be clear:

    – You don’t ‘reserve’ routes. Setting up a top rope and walking away is extremely rude in popular climbing areas. Other people are waiting to climb that route! You’re free to climb it as long as you want, but when you’re done, take down the rope promptly. Don’t go climb something else and then leave your rope blocking other people. And if people are waiting, the nice thing to do is finish once each person in your group has climbed it once.

    – Leave your damn speakers at home. This should not require explanation, but I will anyway. Some people actually want some semblance of nature, or at least don’t want to be subjected to your shitty music. And no matter how awesome your music is, there is someone who will find it shitty and annoying as hell. It could also interfere with important communication between partners.

    – Speaking of communication, keep it to a minimum when you’re shouting commands. Most of the ones described above are unnecessary, and are not standard. The only commands you really need while climbing are ‘take’, ‘slack’, and ‘rock’- in case you or anyone else drops or dislodges any potentially harmful object (whether it’s in fact a rock, or something else like a carabiner). There are a few other commands like ‘secure / take me off’, ‘on belay’, ‘that’s me’, and ‘off rappel’. Most other commands are unnecessary, but work that out with your partner- just try to keep the yelling to a minimum. And remember to use names for each command, and sometimes last names are necessary if you have a common first name.


      • Ok I read a bunch of your other posts and I get that it is indeed satire, very cleverly disguised. And quite hilarious at that- kudos to you sir.

        The problem is that many people clearly think you are serious. And while most of those people hopefully know better, some new people probably will take your blog as a legitimate source to learn from. Don’t underestimate how stupid and gullible people can be.

        There are already enough climbers being rude and inconsiderate and doing really stupid things out there, we don’t need more of them. Please make it more obvious that this is satire, at least on posts relating to safety and etiquette..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s