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Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

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Re: Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

Postby PellucidWombat » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:23 pm

Dow Williams wrote:
Vitaliy M. wrote:Out of all people I have ever met PW had probably the most horror stories I have ever heard


That in and of itself reflects poor judgement and is as big of a red flag to me than any.


Pretty harsh judgement there based on a very general statement. "Horror story" without more details can mean a lot of things to different people. I've been mountaineering for 10 years and lived in several different states (plus in the Bay Area people are constantly coming & going), so I've had plenty of time to climb with a lot of people and have plenty of good experiences, but rack up a good number of horror stories as well.

Probably 90% of my horror stories were people being unreliable and flaking. The climbs never even happened. Sadly that aspect of a person doesn't come through unless you already know them. Also more likely to be repeat offenders if they are safe & qualified enough and I can't find someone more reliable for a weekend since then I just take my chances. Frankly I'd say I'm pretty good at screening & judging abilities but I'm pretty weak on assessing the character & personality side.

Probably half of the remaining 10% were just that they were up to the technical challenge of a route but not the physical challenge - often expected ahead of time, but one can only tell so much. My regular theme that Vitaliy might be considering a horror story is me humping all the group gear to & from a climb and breaking trail to speed things up, and sometimes even then having the partner get tired out. These partners are usually very strong crag trad climbers that are not accustomed to alpine trad. Annoying and frustrating, but not exactly a horror story. And I've only chanced this on climbs were I felt confident that I could lead all pitches, we could retreat, and the objective hazard was very low. I've gotten used to this as the price to pay to get out, with the idea that I am pseudo-guiding, but as long as the partners are safe and enjoyable, that is fine.

The rest? It is still a probability game and since I still end up climbing with lots of new people to keep getting out, there's a good probability that some will not work out. I'd say having a bad run-in 5% of the time is not a bad figure since there can be oversights in questions or blatant misrepresentation. Even then that is one reason that I never jump on a serious climb with a new partner unless they have a long proven track record (e.g. Steph Abegg).

So out of 10 years of climbing with probably 100 different people, I've only come across 2 partners who I'd say were truly dangerously inept/unqualified/misrepresenting and those were big learning experiences.
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Re: Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:22 am

theme that Vitaliy might be considering a horror story is me humping all the group gear to & from a climb and breaking trail to speed things up


more like JEALOUS : ) Still can't believe someone did not make it to Lone Pine peak with you, while you carried all the gear...

jk I do not want to be the weak link...that's why I try to work hard and improve...
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Re: Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

Postby PellucidWombat » Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:37 am

Vitaliy M. wrote:
theme that Vitaliy might be considering a horror story is me humping all the group gear to & from a climb and breaking trail to speed things up


more like JEALOUS : ) Still can't believe someone did not make it to Lone Pine peak with you, while you carried all the gear...

jk I do not want to be the weak link...that's why I try to work hard and improve...


Don't forget, V, I've picked up the slack for you too (though not pack weight & nothing too bad!). I expect to reap dividends at some point - maybe my reconstructed knee will start acting up more on our outings and you can carry more of the weight :twisted:
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Re: Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:57 am

But I can honestly say that I never represented myself as anyone I am not. I simply told you what I did before and what I think I can do. It is always your choice if you want to go on some outing with me or not. As you mentioned above you were mountaineering for 10 years. I been for about one and a half years now. It would be quite weird if on an outing you didn't have to pick up some slack for me due to me not knowing certain things. I have different partners too. Some I pick on purpose, to pick up all that extra slack for my own training. And it is my choice...All of us at our own individual level and there is always someone above and bellow.
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Re: Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

Postby CClaude » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:53 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:Yes, as a new leader I feel like I could lead some 5.9s (have only several) when I could see that I could protect it well, but feel shaky even if it is a 5.7 with runouts, hell even some 5.6(especially when you know that ledge bellow is not made of foam)! BUT when I look at that 5.11 type slab I HAVE NO IDEA how it will be humanly possible for me to climb it some day, if I even keep up my interest towards climbing for the rest of my life. So great job to you for climbing your way up to that level CC!

Great pic Dow!



V: You are already on the way to doing things that you never thought possible. Keeping that excitement about everytime you get out, a little bit of the nervousness when doing a new route which is at your limit, and a mind open to the experiences, but critical about the risks and in a few years you'll do things that today, you never would think you could do.
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Re: Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

Postby granjero » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:53 pm

^^^^ Sound advice right there CC! The power of positive thinking, inspiration, and training will take you higher than you ever could have imagined!
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Re: Climber a not a leader...does it work...?

Postby PellucidWombat » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:42 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:But I can honestly say that I never represented myself as anyone I am not. I simply told you what I did before and what I think I can do. It is always your choice if you want to go on some outing with me or not. As you mentioned above you were mountaineering for 10 years. I been for about one and a half years now. It would be quite weird if on an outing you didn't have to pick up some slack for me due to me not knowing certain things. I have different partners too. Some I pick on purpose, to pick up all that extra slack for my own training. And it is my choice...All of us at our own individual level and there is always someone above and bellow.


Yeah V. That's one reason you're such a great partner. You do represent yourself well or (even better!) err on understating your abilities a little, which we should all do when meeting a new partner. Like I said, most of the 'horror' stories were partners flaking, which you don't do, and then a few cases of good intentions but bad self-assessment. I've only had a couple of instances of blatant misrepresentation. One case sadly was with a group heading up Williamson and when it was apparent that one guy in the group had lied about his experience in areas that I felt were critical for safety and a smoothly functioning group, I sent the guy back to camp to wait for us to finish our climb. Fortunately this was early enough on summit day that it was safe for him to go back on his own.
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