/ Other person's knot observation etiquette

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Annoying Twit - on 01 Feb 2013
What, if anything, should someone do if they look at the people climbing next to them on a wall, and see the climber attached with the most unsafe looking knot. I don't claim great knowledge or experience, so may be wrong about this. But I saw some people climbing with a rather loosely tied knot. And it certainly wasn't the figure of eight knot that my local wall requires.

Should I have said something? If so, what? And to whom? The climbers, or the staff at the wall. Or is it the done thing to keep my nose out of other people's beeswax?
deacondeacon - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit: Are you sure it wasn't a bowline? they can often look a little baggier than a figure of eight.
Annoying Twit - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to deacondeacon:
> (In reply to Annoying Twit) Are you sure it wasn't a bowline? they can often look a little baggier than a figure of eight.

Maybe, I don't know. But what I saw on Sunday looked remarkably less secure than this: http://content5.videojug.com/1f/1fb83f19-24dd-9a17-f69a-ff0008cf3c4e/how-to-tie-a-bowline-knot.WideP...
deacondeacon - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit:
It's usually best to mention it to them rather than the staff but you want to make sure you mention it as diplomatically as possible.
Something along the lines of:
"oh I'm fairly new to climbing and haven't seen that knot before, what is it?"

If it's someone who doesn't know what they're talking about it'll become obvious, and if it's someone who knows what they're doing they can explain it to you.
The figure of eight is a knot that gets taught at climbing walls but a bowline is a very popular knot also with alternative methods of tying it so they can often look different.
michaelc - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to deacondeacon:
Good recommendation.

My, less ideal, way of dealing with the situation is just not to look at the knots of my neighbours! I do, however look very carefully at my knot, and my partner's knot (and ask them to reciprocate).
wheelo - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit: i would mention it to the staff they can do a floor walk ...they should be doing it anyway
Rich Ellis - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit:
I agree with Deacon , in that its best to try to diplomatically to ask are you sure that knot is tied correctly/ would you like to re-thread your buckle on your harness before you climb?
It`s much better to do that than have someone have an accident next to you if you suspect something may be wrong .Genuine people will often explain an unusual Edwards Bowline or obscure knot they have tied in with.

Generally most people will be o.k., though a few take umbridge.
If you think they aren`t safe in a climbing wall enviroment then talk to your friendly climbing wall staff, as accidents and claims affect us all.
Cheers Rich
jkarran - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit:

You say you don't know what it was they'd tied. You can always just ask politely. Either ask the climbers or the wall staff, either way something happens.

It may be some complicated bowline variant they've been using for years and you get to learn something. Or it may be that they're just about muddling along not quite sure what they're doing, maybe having forgotten bits of a not so recent introduction lesson but too embarrassed to ask for help. It may just be a really slack ugly fig8.

jk
Dax H - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit: My way would be to say the following.
Eyup pal, is your knot okay there?, it might be the angle I am looking from but it looks a bit iffy to me.

Nice and non judgemental but at the end of the day I would rather say something risk either looking a fool or having an argument than see someone drop.
I would not wait for a floor walker as it might be too late by then.
GrahamD - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit:

Your response should be based on common sense. Its nothing to do with etiquette.
Neil Williams - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to wheelo:

Personally I'd rather someone pointed out a knot error directly to me rather than shopping me into staff. Though I know some people do seem to take exception.

That said, if someone spotted me using a bowline at any wall where it is permitted, or on a crag, and said "your knot's wrong", I think they'd just get "no it isn't" (though I think it would prompt me to check it again myself just in case) - there are ways to politely address these things :)

Neil
Neil Williams - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

"What sort of knot are you using?" might be a good way - then you're open to education about it if it's just one you haven't seen before.

Neil
M0nkey - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit: i'd just leave them to it, unless it looked like it wasn't tied at all (like the unfinished fig8 I once started up a sport climb with as a youngster). Even a poorly tied knot will almost certainly be fine, so, for example, if i saw someone with a baggy figure of 8, or no stopper knot on a bowline, or just an overhand loop, i'd probably let them get on with it unless they asked for help. If the knot clearly won't hold them, i'd probably say something.
Neil Williams - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to M0nkey:

A normal bowline without a stopper may well not hold - I would definitely point that out if I saw it.

Neil
Annoying Twit - on 01 Feb 2013
Thanks to everyone that replied.

I think Deacondeacon's suggestion in the fourth post is best. Just ask what type of knot that is and see what happens. In a way that doesn't suggest at all that I think there's anything wrong, just saying that I don't recognise that knot and what type is it.

There were no wall staff around at all. I even had to go elsewhere in the Leisure Centre to pay our usage fees.

They were climbing next to us, and as there were only a few top ropes, not much of an opportunity to move away (*). I was keeping a close eye on the unusual knot guy's climbing concerned both for him and of the possibility that he'd affect us if he fell.

(*) However, my son is asking to go on more courses so that he can learn lead climbing. That'll have more benefits.
NickD - on 01 Feb 2013
I like to wait until the climber is about to commit to the crux before saying, "Dude are you sure that knot's okay? Looks like it's not going to hold your weight."
deacondeacon - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit:
> Thanks to everyone that replied.
>
> I think Deacondeacon's suggestion in the fourth post is best.

Brilliant whats my prize?
>
>
>
> (*) However, my son is asking to go on more courses so that he can learn lead climbing. That'll have more benefits.

Excellent, are you having a go too?

colina - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to NickD:
> I like to wait until the climber is about to commit to the crux before saying, "Dude are you sure that knot's okay? Looks like it's not going to hold your weight."

ha ha!

Sarah G on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit:

Look at it this way....

If you don't intervene and the next thing you hear/see is the person landing next to you with a sickening and rather messy crunch which youcould heve prevented, it will be with you forever.

If you do intervene, and the other person is a bit arsey, (but the odds on are that they will discreetly check their knot!) then job done, and we all get over arsey people. If there is still a sickening crunch, then you have at least done your best to prevent it. Easier to get over.

Ideally, chap says, "oh, cheers, glad you pointed that out" and everyone is happy.

Sxx

Redsetter - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit: if you are unsure and it doesnt look like a correctly tied and stoppered fig 8, then say something...politely... we as climbers all have a duty of care... it would also be courtious to inform the staff so they can check as well. No one wants an accident on there hands....or floor!
Annoying Twit - on 01 Feb 2013
@Deacondeacon I only get to do bouldering mainly. No-one to belay me.

@Sarah, @Redsetter - I was very aware that I would feel very responsible if he had fallen. That's why I resolved to come on here and ask about the situation.
ashley1_scott - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to Annoying Twit:

@NickD. You sick sick man, funny but not sure I would want you doing it to me :D

@Annoying Twit.
I use so many different styles of knots to tie in with (Fo8, bowline with double stopper, double bowline with stopper, double bowline with yosemite finish and my new best friend, the End Bend Single Bowline with yosemite finish), that I get use to spotting a knot that doesn't look right.

I would always say to the climber "is that knot ok, not seen it tied like that". It could be that it is a knot that you have just never seen before like the EBSB w/yosemite finish. But on the other hand it could be a knot that is just tied wrong. Either way its always worth a quick polite word.

I have had people that have climbed next to me using a bowline with a stopper tied 6 inches or more from their knot, when I have pointed this out they just gave me a look to say what are you saying and I dont really care anyway. But after pointing out that I use a bowline and that the stopper had to be flush with the knot, he retied his stopper. What he did after that I have no idea, but atleast I had done my bit.
Annoying Twit - on 03 Feb 2013
Well this week there was only one other group on the main wall. Perfect knots, steely unbroken belay concentration. fancy looking equipment, the lot.

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