/ leaders who dont protect traverses and belayers reading books

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BolderLicious - on 12 Jan 2013
My friend Pete once complained that he took a large fall at Tremadog because his belayer was reading a book! Have you had a belayer like this?
And what about bad leaders-people for example who dont place gear on long traverses so you can swing a long way, perhaps into a wall?
BolderLicious - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:
Perhaps you know someone who leads while eating sandwiches or listening to music through headphones!
Tim Chappell - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:


Trying to write an article for a climbing mag, are we?
BolderLicious - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
I don't read climbing mags!
Steve Perry - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: No names but I know of a guy who would roll spliffs whilst belaying.
Fredt on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

My partner and I often dozed off whilst belaying each other on various big wall routes in Yosemite.
birdie num num - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:
Belaying is so boring. I normally like to clock fanny on adjacent routes.
BolderLicious - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to Steve Perry:
Didn't stub cigarettes out on a rope too did he?
BolderLicious - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to Fredt:
So you often woke up and thought you were dreaming you
were on a climb?
Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

I see failure to protect a traverse as an act of generosity. It gives the second an extra 'lead'.
duchessofmalfi - on 12 Jan 2013
Reading a book? how quaint - answering their mobile phone is more like it these days.

BTW I agree with Jon Stewart about the traverses, plus it is character building, plus if they want to see protection along the traverse they should place the gear themselves on lead.
birdie num num - on 12 Jan 2013
Fredt on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:
> (In reply to Fredt)
> So you often woke up and thought you were dreaming you
> were on a climb?

I usually woke up dreaming I was at home in bed.

BolderLicious - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to birdie num num:
Poor sod! He hasn't got a cup of tea or anything to read.
jimjimjim on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to Steve Perry: yeah...the lads I climb with smoke quite a bit when were are out...makes you think don't it! Hope the read this.....
ice.solo - on 12 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

both suck, but backseat climbers are worse.
JoshOvki on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

I have taken a phone call, eaten a sandwich, had a drink, looked at the guide book when belaying (not all at the same time, I can't multi-task that much!). I am sure this makes me a bad person, but they where my second, and I was using a reverso, and was hungry/thirsty etc.
Bruce Hooker - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

Think yourself lucky, not that many years ago they'd be smoking a joint. It doesn't matter if you don't fall.
SAF - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: One of my climbing partners has arranged work over the phone whilst belaying me numerous times, smoked a cigerrette which he thought he could get away with because I couldn't see him, but being a non-smoker I could smell it a mile off!! And also not only not placed gear on the traverse, but placed a nice high piece at the start for me to climb up to and fetch, and then downclimb with no gear in place ready to start the traverse properly, just to get me working, great route though...still one of the safest people I've ever climbed with and I totally trust him :-)
Fredt on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

I once booked a package holiday in Greece whilst halfway up Bent Crack at Stanage.

The travel agent had found a holiday for me, and phoned me when I was on the ledge halfway up. All I had to do was give them my credit card number to confirm the booking.
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henwardian - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: Seen some who belayed while reading a book at a university club meet. I didn't know how to climb then but I wouldn't put up with that from a belayer now (unless it was aid ofc, but I'd need to find out how it is done first).

Led and followed plenty of traverses where there wasn't any opportunity to place gear. If you can't place gear for a good reason (very pumped/none available/etc) then I wouldn't complain too loudly (well, maybe I would if the traverse was bloody hard and I was looking at a nasty swing) but if the leader is just being lazy/being a d*ck then I would probably point it politely and maybe get a little less polite if he/she didn't make an effort to mend his/her ways.

Done plenty of consulting the guide while someone is on lead but that's generally because they are stationary and asking wtf to do next. Done lots of things in addition to belaying when someone is seconding on hands free setup....

...or is this thread just a competition about who can do the dodgiest thing while belaying?
taffyboy - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to henwardian: when i started to learn to lead, i was on an easy climb down the gower called plumb line, and my belayer deciced to sit dow with his back to the rock and started to doze off. tw*t
Kemics - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to Steve Perry:
> (In reply to BolderLicious) No names but I know of a guy who would roll spliffs whilst belaying.

Climbing with some spanish/french guys I'd be more pressed to find someone who wasn't stoned at the crag. "ce n'est pas une problem...c'est un gri gri" oh goodie. Still...seemed to be safe for a relative given value of safe.
loose overhang - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: Back one winter during the iron age we were in Water-cum-Jolly doing a pegging route. My mate was reading a book while I was leading a traverse. The piece of iron I was on decided to come out which deposited me to within a foot or two of the river Wye. He was holding me with a waist belay which started to slip around him as I rapidly attached prussik loops to the rope. For a short while, as I ascended, though he struggled hard he could not help but slowly let out about as much rope as I'd climbed. After a time I did make it back to clip into the peg holding me, to the rapturous applause of a nice family across the river, out for a Sunday walk. I did dip my foot into the water as I pushed up on the sling, but it was a close run thing, to quote Wellington, to not end up getting a good soaking.

I've been in North America now for over three decades and still have to remind my friends when leading to protect the second on traverses. So is there a prize for getting both reading a book and traversing into the tale?
johncook - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: Yes to both of these. I have had belayers making a call on their mobile, reading the guidebook, falling asleep (even though I climb upwards like a rat up a drainpipe)eating sandwiches, having a pee, taking pictures of a well known climber on a nearby route, etc. As you can imagine they get one more chance then I move on and they are left with some of their own kind!
I have experienced a leader who protected the crux move and then traversed a further 10m without gear on easier ground, one who protected a descending traverse and placed a bomb proof piece at the bottom of the long diagonal (on which he took tension) so that I was downclimbing the crux section with gear 10ft below and 10ft to one side, right on the lip of a roof, where the rope length would have resulted in a prussiced self rescue. We were on double ropes but he clipped both into the gear. I did not climb with him again.
BolderLicious - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to loose overhang:
Prize should be a book about traversing!
BolderLicious - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to johncook:
I find most belayers are pretty selfish.
I reckon you need to find someone who actually likes belaying.
I like climbing - on 24 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:
> (In reply to johncook)
> I find most belayers are pretty selfish.
> I reckon you need to find someone who actually likes belaying.

I like belaying and I concentrate 100% on what my climbing partner is doing. I know what he's thinking, what he's trying to work out and when he's in trouble. I aim to provide a really safe situation for him.
We've probably all climbed with some less than great belayers and I remember a girl belaying her partner on a fairly hard route. I heard him saying "watch me here" to which she replied "hang on I'm reading " !
Goucho on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: Out in Tuolumne several years ago, my climbing partner and I had a huge row - I forget what about, but it was pretty big one - and we ended up not talking for the rest of the day.

The following day, still not really talking, we went up to do Gram Traverse on Drug Dome, which is a 5.10d 2 pitch variation finish to Oz, under a spectacular and huge roof about 500' up the cliff.

He lead the first traverse pitch, and didn't place or clip any of the gear, so in retaliation, when I lead the second traverse pitch, I didn't place or clip any gear either - it was a petulant game of bluff and Russian roulette.

By the time we reached the top, we had both frightened ourselves shitless!



Al Evans on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to Goucho: I was once doing Raven Tor Girdle, before it became Cream Team Special, but we were doing odd free moves to speed things up. Rod Haslam (for it was he) moved free but realised I would have no chance of getting the previous peg out,mso he leaned back and put one in for me. Not knowing this peg had never been tested I happily sat in it and leaned back to clear the last peg.
The next thing I was sailing through the air in a great arc, all the gear was stacking up on the rope in front of me and I was crashing towards the bank.
Finally a stopper peg halted the process and I was unharmed, I prusiked up the rope back to the traverse line, clearing all the stripped gear on the way. Ironically we only had a few feet to do and ended up pissing ourselves laughing.
rockstoned on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: on a climb in the Alps I fell 10 metres onto a ledge on my back when my foot slipped out of an icy crack. This was at 3300m. I should've been held by a cam which I took considerable effort to place in another crack off to the side of the route, and should've fallen no more than 2 metres. Of course my belayer was busy taking photos. Later I looked at the photos he took and could see loads of slack at the moment when I fell.

Were it not for my back pack absorbing the fall energy it could've ended much worse than just a foot fracture. Cue painful abseils and several agonising hours walking back to the car after missing the last bin.
johncook - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: There are several people who I climb with who are spot on belayers, who can read the leader and their actions. I climb my best with these people. I occasionally climb with some who I do not trust so much, and tend to lead routes I could almost solo! If I don't feel that I have any trust in a belayer I don't climb with them at all. I also focus on my leader when belaying, if I am being talked to I don't look at the speaker, and if my leader starts to look shaky I will stop mid sentence. I find the best form of communication is the rope, with practice you can feel what the leader is doing, as well as seeing and hearing what the leader is up to!
The traversing thing just stopped me dead and I haven't been near that climber since!
Thoms6974 - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

just as I was getting into climbing, I seconded a route on a sea cliff that ended on a horseshoe of a ledge 7m up. The leader had decided to continue on something else from the other end of the ledge. I got bawled at for all the rope drag he'd given himself and when it came to topping out the first section the next piece of gear was somewhere behind me over my right shoulder leaving me with the prospect of a long swing into another face 5m away and probably into the water.

He was nice enough to apologise at the top of that one!
CurlyStevo - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:
I remember alternate leading valkyrie at the Roaches well. I lead pitch 1, my first grit VS lead. Pitch two the leader slung the top of the flake and then put gear on BOTH ropes in the bottom of the flake. I took the sling off the top of the flake and down climbed to the gear, that was very interesting at the time!
rurp - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: My best belayer story. We had abseiled into the devils slide with him and three kids 6-10 years old. Had just bombed up the first 50m pitch which is not quite mod and had one bit of gear at about 30m, fingers reaching for the belay....

He saw that I was running out of rope, so to alert me to this fact (which i already knew) he gave a good strong tug on the rope. Just held on by the skin of my teeth. would have tumbled 40+ metres and been in no shape to get him and the kiddies of the slide!
BolderLicious - on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to rurp:
This is what gives me nightmares-belayers pulling you off the crag.
Orgsm on 25 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:

Leaders who protect traverses with books are the worst....
jimtitt - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:
> (In reply to rurp)
> This is what gives me nightmares-belayers pulling you off the crag.

Why should rurpīs belayer pulling him off the crag give you nightmares?
Beardyman - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to Steve Perry:
> (In reply to BolderLicious) No names but I know of a guy who would roll spliffs whilst belaying.

I know someone who has a metal plate in his head after taking a short leader fall off a VS, except he decked, his belayer had untied from the system and was sitting on a boulder a few feet away rolling a spliff!
gd303uk - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious: I have a good friend who will be watching all the crag fanny before watching the leader, he has also been known to try and pull me off on slabby routes, with a little tug.

Another belayer who takes hands of rope, stand miles back from the trad routes, and harp on about placing more gear,

My belaying is not perfect , I was once distracted by a group of woman at pothole stripping off and running around, I was so distracted I didn't notice my leader and was standing a bit further back than I should, near the top he took a fall, the first I knew about it was I was being dragged to the cliff at speed , stopping with the leader at head height, the last bit of gear popped.
I blag it was dynamic belaying but we both know I was a shit belayer that day, sorry mate, t
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daveyb on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to gd303uk: young women in bikini tops can be a distraction
birdie num num - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to gd303uk:
I remember tugging you off at Castle Naze and you thoroughly enjoyed it.
BolderLicious - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to BolderLicious:
Some of these belayers should be facing a judge for reckless
climbing!

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