/ Why is it.....
This is happened so many times in the past year I have given up asking people if they wouldn't mind taking me up an easy climb to get back my climbing confidence. Although they say "yes", what they actually mean is "No. But if you're up for a VS then we might be able to talk"...
It's not like I have never climbed before and don't know the grades. I just haven't climbed more than once or twice a year in the last four or five years and I'm just not confident (and I have made this clear in the conversation). I like to crawl, then walk, then run. When I say a dif I mean a dif, not a VS.
Fortunately, I now know a woman who understands that dif means dif - or maybe even a moderate... She is just learning to lead and like me she wants to crawl, then walk, then run. I appreciate this gentle learning curve isn't for everybody and that's fine, but PLEASE don't say "yes" to difs and mean "No, nothing easier than a VS".
Anybody got any insights as to why this might happen so frequently?
maybe when you say 'do a diff' they think you mean you're happy to lead on a diff so you should be OK seconding on VS?
As long as you get to lead some Diffs/V-Diff by the end of the day, then why not try some harder stuff ?
I'll probably get shot down in flames here, but you'll understand when you can lead VS, you'll probably want to push yourself. Just tie on and enjoy it, as other posters said it'll help your climbing, it certainly helped mine when I was in the same position.
Are you on single pitch climbs?
If you are just tell them to ab for the gear and then you can do your lead. There's no law that says you must second every climb.
I climb with people of all grades and we often end up doing this, it's no biggie and much more fun than being dragged up routes you don't want to do.
I'd also recommend telling your climbing partner what technical grade your happy to second rather than the adjectival grade. A vdiff 4b is going to be a similar experience to vs4b as far as seconding goes. :)
> This is happened so many times in the past year I have given up asking people if they wouldn't mind taking me up an easy climb to get back my climbing confidence. Although they say "yes", what they actually mean is "No. But if you're up for a VS then we might be able to talk"...
> It's not like I have never climbed before and don't know the grades. I just haven't climbed more than once or twice a year in the last four or five years and I'm just not confident (and I have made this clear in the conversation). I like to crawl, then walk, then run. When I say a dif I mean a dif, not a VS.
> Fortunately, I now know a woman who understands that dif means dif - or maybe even a moderate... She is just learning to lead and like me she wants to crawl, then walk, then run. I appreciate this gentle learning curve isn't for everybody and that's fine, but PLEASE don't say "yes" to difs and mean "No, nothing easier than a VS".
> Anybody got any insights as to why this might happen so frequently?
Because no experienced climber wants to do a Diff or a V Diff. It is little more than a walk-up to most. Push yourself, tackle the VS. You will have a much greater sense of achievement afterwards and you never know you might enjoy it.
Also people often find it hard to empathise with people whose motivations are different, if you're really into something and motivated to do an activity it's easy to end up dragging someone else along and not realising they wont enjoy it as much as you. Like two people who really want to go camping, but one that wants the car and a few bottles of wine and the other who wants a bivvy bag and a packet of beef jerky.
Either that or you're going climbing with a guy who is trying to impress you with their climbing prowess!
Nath93: "...why not try some harder stuff ?"
Barry Chuckle: "...yourself. Just tie on and enjoy it"
PopShot : "Push yourself, tackle the VS...you might enjoy it"
People just don't believe you!
A bit harsh and not always true.
I think many climbers are a bit grade obsessed. They like to think they are not, so agree to a diff/ vdiff day, but once they're there, they feel it's not their grade so couldn't possibly belittle themselves to do it. Maybe ego comes into it?
Where are you based? If you are in the central Scotland area I am happy to have a diff/v diff day with you if you want. I'm a bit of a crag snob though, I don't climb quarries!
For me, personally, I'm quite happy seconding (H)VS, but it simply doesn't help me leading. It's not my technique that's the issue, it's my head. And the only way for me to get used to the exposure when leading, is through leading lots of Diffs, then lots of Vdiffs, then maybe Severes, and so on.
Bit of a sweeping generalisation there. Maybe you wouldn't call me experienced but I like climbing Diffs and V Diffs, particularly big multi pitches, or to encourage someone less confident whether that's seconding or leading themselves. She might gain a greater sense of achievement doing something harder and she might enjoy it but it's a bit unfair being forced to do something you don't want to or not climbing. For some people getting up a V Diff whether on lead or seconding is their achievement.
This is possibly because people are selfish and want to climb what they want to climb.
That was the first thing that came to mind.
I'm not dissimilar, beginner climber. If I can find a classic D or VD then hell yeah. Long easy mega classics are what I look for in the guide book.
If someone else is leading then anything is fine, at whatever grade, long as there aren't any hard traverses. I'll take some prussiks and a pocket aider.
How fun a climb is doesn't relate to how hard a climb is :)
Quite possibly the most self-aggrandising, arrogant and incorrect statement I've read in a long time.
Firstly, some of the best routes in the country are in the lower grades - take a look at Flying Buttress at Stanage for example.
Secondly, reminds me of the kind of comment made by many idiot youths I heard in the early days of The Foundry -"You're not a real climber if you aren't climbing E5". Usually made by someone who then gibbered their way up, or fell of, a VS at the weekend.
And, yes, I have soloed routes ranging from Diff to E5 on sight before you ask.
> Quite possibly the most self-aggrandising, arrogant and incorrect statement I've read in a long time.
> Because no experienced climber wants to do a Diff or a V Diff. It is little more than a walk-up to most. Push yourself, tackle the VS. You will have a much greater sense of achievement afterwards and you never know you might enjoy it.
Balls. I want to climb diff or vdiff. Experience doesn't preclude climbing at lower grades. If the ability to climb VS or E1 completely ruins the experience of climbing a Vdiff for you then you are missing something in the experience at any grade.
> ...some people don't really understand what the joy of climbing is all about. I.e. it's certainly not just about grades.
That's a bit harsh about people's motivation. For me, the grade people choose is not mostly about ego. It it is always more satisfying to succeed on a route you have to try really hard on than on a route of equal quality that you can stroll up: the routes people remember most fondly are the ones they had epics on but still succeeded. Surely it is natural to want to climb at the grade that is most likely to provide this zone of difficulty for you at the time?
The routes I remember most fondly are those where I've had a great day out in a great setting, ideally on an uncrowded multipitch mountain or sea cliff, with a good partner. For me, those range from Mode to E1s. Actually no, scratch that. They range from grade 1-2 scrambles to E1s.
I think the thread just got trolled by Popsicle! In answer to OP like many responders on this thread I think some people probably think "Well you are not leading so what difference does it make to you? We'll climb what I want to" without realising that it does make a difference to you.
Probably a combination of testoserone, competitiveness, and a desire to show off. All too common among climbing bores - but just ignore it.
On the other hand, don't be a passive victim: a deal's a deal and, if the day's agreed plan is to stick to certain grades or routes, then insist on it. It might help if you take the initiative, and suggest particular routes and/or crags.
This is the key. Find someone who climbs at your level. I am afraid I am in the camp of people who will take beginners as long as they are up for seconding something a bit harder. I too only have a few days a year to climb and don't want to spend all of that time pottering on diffs.
I hope climbing with this person works out for you! :-)
The key is you are asking someone else to give up their climbing route aspiration to satisfy your need to "be taken up a climb" - which is why you get the apparent conflict more often than not. Sounds like what you really want is a guide, not a partner ?
This has probably been the most helpful reply in terms of insight - thank you!
I think I failed to make clear in my initial post that I'm not quite at the stage of leading again - which is why I have wanted to go out and do more climbing to get to that point. I have only led a handful of times in my entire climbing life (which although spans 12 years has only been two Summers of consistent climbing) and I am just wanting to regain confidence in climbing per se. I have been dragged up VS's as a second in the past and know categorically that it is not a good thing for me - it makes me MORE nervous and LESS confident. I agree, that it may work for others, but it really doesn't work for me. I explain all this and then they still say breezily "oh - but you'll get up a VS as a second" - rather missing the point.
And it has not been one guy/gal, but three or four. I just think they are so into their climbing they are actually not listening. Like the person in your camping scenario who wants the bivvy bag in the wilds - if the other person has says they want a car, a campsite with showers and a few bottles of wine, then they need to listen and then make the choice whether to agree to go or not.
On every occasion I have always spelt out that I only want to second easy climbs, and if they are willing to do that then great - lets go. It's then they agree that that is fine, ensure we have each other's phone numbers, talk about possible dates and then add, almost over their shoulder " but we'll do a VS..." . Definitely hearing but not listening!
But why do they say "yes"?
And I am a competent second when I am in my comfort zone of diff and v diff - I don't need "taking up" - I misused the phrase in my post I think.
And I invariably don't ask - they offer. Which is when I say that I'm only up for the easy stuff and they probably won't want to be bothered. They assure me they can be, sort out contact details and possible dates and then do the "but we'll do a VS" bit....
> Because no experienced climber wants to do a Diff or a V Diff.
You don't half talk a load of shite.
Hahaha! That made me chuckle :-)
And no - I am in the Lakes. Good old Borrowdale Volcanic for the most part...
Just a thought that occurs - maybe you could specify a handful of routes you want to climb, instead of mentioning grades:
"I'm looking to do Agag's Groove, or maybe Crowberry Ridge" as opposed to "I want to climb and lead about VDiff"
Good luck getting sorted anyhow
I have absolutely no problem with that. I reckon I would be the same in fact, IF I climbed at harder level. However, my puzzlement is due the fact that, despite me pointing out that they would hardly want to take me climbing because of my need for easy routes, they assure me that yes, they are up for going climbing with me. It is only later on they decide that actually they are only up for VS or harder. If they were upfront like you on the first place I wouldn't find it so confusing or frustrating!
Climb with other girls and you will find the problem will vanish and you'll probably have a much nicer time.
I think this is very possibly true of most climbers, but I think Gordon and I are the among the few exceptions. The climbs I remember fondly are not the ones which have scared the b'jesus out of me, but ones that I have been able to climb in a continuous, smooth flow with just a little bit of thinking on where I am going to make my next move (Oxford and Cambridge on Grey Crag in Buttermere springs to mind), rather than the ones where I am perched on numb toe, my legs jiggling like a young Elvis, my arms pumped and my fingers slipping, looking for what seems to be like EVER, for where I can find the next hold. And yes, as a second I can come off/sit on the rope, but that also tends not to make me remember the climb fondly. And even if I have succeeded, I think - never again!
So if I am like that as a second, consider how easy and comfortable I need it to be as a lead! Basically, I need to be comfortable enough to solo it in order to lead.
And yes, I can see I am in a huge minority. But we do exist :-)
Climbing for me is a way of getting to the top of a fell and being close to the rock. It's about a grand day out. It is not an adrenalin sport for me. (I have been proven to be adrenalin-phobic - the opposite to an adrenalin junkie. I CAN do risky things, but only if they don't cause a surge of adrenalin, ie I don't get scared).
Excellent point - and one which I have taken on board :-)
> The routes I remember most fondly are those where I've had a great day out in a great setting, ideally on an uncrowded multipitch mountain or sea cliff, with a good partner.
I agree. (Though not about E1s - never climbed harder than HVS and that wasn't a fond memory!)
It's a great idea and I did try it once...
I suggested Corvus (never done it before, it is near to where I live and it is, I believe, a classic). Lot's of nods and smiles - and then.... "but maybe we'll do the severe on Gillercombe Buttress...."
> But why do they say "yes"?
Human nature. When people get to the rock, their own desires for climbs take over. Even with the best will in the world its hard sometimes to take someone who isn't a beginner on a Diff or VDiff.
Agree with most of that. The joy of climbing for me was always about how well I climbed, not whether I got up something per se. For example, I got up Bachelor's Left Hand after a rest on a runner, and got v little satisfaction out of it. Likewise, I don't have 'fond memories' of the Fiva route :) Very intense and vivid ones, yes.
You are just experiencing one aspect of the problem "trying to find a compatible climbing partner", there are plenty of other aspects apart from grades that make this a difficult problem to solve.
Just get out with as many people as you can and eventually you'll find people that climb the grade you want to and you enjoy climbing with.
> It's a great idea and I did try it once...
> I suggested Corvus [...] Lot's of nods and smiles - and then.... "but maybe we'll do the severe on Gillercombe Buttress...."
Why suggest? Just *tell* them you want to do Corvus.
(not that easy I know)
> This is the key. Find someone who climbs at your level.
Agree with this, really. Climbing well within your grade can be enjoyable, but it is ultimately a restriction, so the easiest way to find someone who's always going to be happy to lead diffs and vdiffs is to find a vdiff leader.
In general, I think it's a common mental trap to believe that anything you can do, other people could do if they just had a proper go at it. I've got a friend who can't bring herself to believe that anyone genuinely can't touch their toes, for instance. It's not really arrogance - in fact, it's probably the opposite. But it does mean that people will intuitively believe that if you just had a go at seconding VS you'd get onto it and enjoy it and learn something, and will tend to hang onto that belief in spite of your protestations to the contrary...
" It's not my technique that's the issue, it's my head. And the only way for me to get used to the exposure when leading, is through leading lots of Diffs, then lots of Vdiffs, then maybe Severes, and so on."
You SO get it! As you say, it is not my technique that lets me down, it is my head. I didn't learn to climb until my 30s. By then I had learnt to respect fear. But my first climbing partner, although he was young and gung-ho himself, fortunately got the fact I needed to go slowly but surely. So I managed to get to seconding an HVS in the first summer I climbed (not that I enjoyed that one mind...!), and leading a couple of mods and diffs. The following season I led, and enjoyed, leading a couple of pitches on Troutdale Pinnnacle - which I think is a Severe - again with someone who understood how I learnt and gained confidence. Sadly, after that I didn't manage to get in any prolonged episodes of climbing, so it has been very spasmodic, only doing one or two climbs a year. Last year I made a concerted effort to try and find climbing partners (even posting on here) but.... well, you know the story!
> Human nature. When people get to the rock, their own desires for climbs take over. Even with the best will in the world its hard sometimes to take someone who isn't a beginner on a Diff or VDiff.
It's partly that but I think it's also people's desire to see others climb better!
Climbing is such a head game that if you challenge someone with a harder climb than expected then they may well climb it despite themselves (hence the well trodden tradition of on occasion not being entirely clear about the grade of a route until after it's been climbed).
I'm not suggesting this approach will help Fiona, only that it may be that this is what the climbing partners have in mind.
> maybe when you say 'do a diff' they think you mean you're happy to lead on a diff so you should be OK seconding on VS?
The agreements made have always been for me to be SECONDING a V diff. Until later on - when they announce that actually they only want to do a VS....
I need more practice on seconding easier climbs before I start leading them....
With respect to Fiona, she isn't asking for a partner, she is asking for a guide or a leader.
"so the easiest way to find someone who's always going to be happy to lead diffs and vdiffs is to find a vdiff leader."
And FINALLY - after 12 years - I have found one! That has been my real issues. But I have always made it clear what I want. I don't expect people to restrict themselves or do what they are not happy with - I always say upfront that I want to do diff/vdiffs and that it is not a problem if they would rather find someone else to climb with. The mystery is the saying "yes, it's ok" and then later saying that actually, no it isn't...
"In general, I think it's a common mental trap to believe that anything you can do, other people could do if they just had a proper go at it. it does mean that people will intuitively believe that if you just had a go at seconding VS you'd get onto it and enjoy it and learn something, and will tend to hang onto that belief in spite of your protestations to the contrary..."
I think you have something there - very insightful, thank you.
> With respect to Fiona, she isn't asking for a partner, she is asking for a guide or a leader.
She is sort of, but it's quite normal for inexperienced seconds to climb with more experienced leaders to gain experience and for it to become a balanced climbing partnership.
It's much more likely to work if she finds someone else who is relatively inexperienced and wants to lead at VD though, rather than somebody who is essentially dragging her up a route because they want someone to belay them.
Fiona, why don't you try a learn to lead course? I know you've led already but it might give you more confidence in your ability to do so (not to mention a weekend of practice) and also you are likely to meet others who are climbing the same grade as you.
Or ideally find someone local who wants to learn and go on a course with them.
Although now I read the thread it seems she's found someone already so I'm going to give up on random advice and get back to something more productive.
"If I can find a classic D or VD then hell yeah. Long easy mega classics are what I look for in the guide book"
"If someone else is leading then anything is fine, at whatever grade"
Although I am on a rope and one part of me knows I am fine, the other, stronger part of me disregards that entirely and I can be VERY scared indeed. My legs start trembling, I lose concentration, I can't see how to make the next move, I can't get the gear out (whilst stuck in an awkward, wobbly, uncomfortable pose) and the climb loses its appeal completely.
"How fun a climb is doesn't relate to how hard a climb is"
Agree AND disagree!
Agree that an easy grade climb can be immense fun (Oxford and Cambridge in Buttermere for example). And a harder grade climb (Tophet Wall on Great Gable for example) can be fun when you have the confidence for it, which I have in the past. But just not now, as I am so out of practice.
However, I disagree inasmuch that your comment could be read the other way, and could be seen to be saying that I could get just as much fun scaring the b'jesus out of myself seconding an HVS as I could swanning merrily up a nice v diff. No, I couldn't!
I think the difficulty is that I'm not quite a beginner, just an out of practice, not very good climber in the first place. I find people are usually quite kind and patient with beginners - I think they get a lot out of the teaching process. But I just need the practice to re-build my confidence in the same way as when I haven't run for ages I take a while to build back up to being able to run 10 miles again. My legs could probably do it long before I get round to making them, but I need to know that I can do it comfortably and with competence and confidence. People are thus less keen to just be a practice buddy on lower grades than they are to be taking total beginners to who they can literally show the ropes.
It sounds like you are really enjoying your climbing :-)
> With respect to Fiona, she isn't asking for a partner, she is asking for a guide or a leader.
I don't think I am asking for a guide exactly, but, yes I am asking for someone to lead climbs so that I can get used to the exposure etc again.
> Or ideally find someone local who wants to learn and go on a course with them.
Alternatively, have you tried joining a local club as a way of finding people to climb with? There are probably going to be people in most clubs who are after someone to do easy stuff with, and you also get a chance to properly meet people socially before going out with them, so everyone knows what you're after before you go out.
"Fiona, why don't you try a learn to lead course? I know you've led already but it might give you more confidence in your ability to do so (not to mention a weekend of practice) and also you are likely to meet others who are climbing the same grade as you."
I thought I had mentioned this in my OP, but yes, this is what I am going to do. Later this week in fact!
I think what has stalled me is the cost v the fact that every other person around where I live climbs. I assumed I could find someone who would be up for giving me a bit of practice and encouragement. But sadly, as every local has been climbing since they were 6 weeks old they are WAY beyond the VDiff thing!
Happily, one of my friends, who was living in Wales until recently, has moved here and she is just beginning to lead diffs (she did her first ever lead with me on a moderate - we were both as pleased as the guy who has climbed the E20 or whatever the hardest grade is at the moment...!. This is what encouraged me to bite the financial bullet and do a learn to lead course so that we could go and dabble about diffs together, taking it in turns to lead.
I could have/should have done it a while ago, but I as people kept saying they would go climbing with me at my level I assumed I didn't need to - but of course, when it came down to it, they weren't actually happy to climb at my level, which prompted my OP : Why say yes, when you mean no?
Perhaps someone who is making the move from indoors to outdoors so their belaying is up to scratch.
No, no - see my previous reply - you were spot on! I have only JUST found someone - after many years of trying!
Thank you for the advice you gave - I might not have already have come to a similar conclusion and it would have been much-needed and incredibly helpful. So, not "random advice" but brilliant, well-thought out advice.
Keep it coming :-)
And thank you very much
You'd think, wouldn't you?
I work with two indoor climbers. One goes out climbing outdoors with her boyfriend sometimes but isn't interested in climbing with anyone else, the other guy won't climb outside...
I have tried to find beginners for several years. As I have mentioned in recent posts, I have now found one in an existing friend who has just moved to the area, but prior to that - even though I posted on here - nothing...
Still, it's all come good in the end :-)
> Keep it coming :-)
Nothing more, except enjoy your climbing!
"Push yourself, tackle the VS. You will have a much greater sense of achievement afterwards and you never know you might enjoy it."
I know from experience that this isn't so. Most people enjoy the adrenalin. I don't. Which is why I explain carefully that I am only up for easy climbs. They say yes. Then later they say, actually, no, not that easy.
Just say no in the first place. Much easier.
I'd say that most climbers would be able to solo at that level. It is not meant to be an offensive remark. People climb more and are fitter than ever because they climb at the wall?
I haven't got a real sure answer why they accept to take you and they don't keep to their words. I have little available time available for my own climbing, I would decline taking you out for that reason alone.
But then I am French and people tell me I can be brutally honest...
Here is some musing on my part, may be they don't dare say no because they want to be nice but want to slot a day climbing with this?
If it is any consolation, at whatever level (grade) you climb, finding the partner that has a similar mindset is never easy. When you do, you get so much done, it highlights how unproductive your previous climbing was.
Unproductive doesn't mean unpleasant BTW.
> > I haven't got a real sure answer why they accept to take you and they don't keep to their words.
No - I have no idea either! All these have been friendly, face to face conversations in a social setting - we get talking about climbing, I explain I don't get out much because it is hard to find a person who wants to do easy routes; they volunteer that they would be happy to go with me, we exchange contact details, bla bla bla and then they change the grade they are willing to climb with me on! I haven't begged them to take me on a v diff - they have offered. I just don't get why they make the offer in the first place - they could just agree that it IS difficult to find experienced climbers who are happy to do easy routes. That's all I ask - honesty! Suffice to say I never call them and arrange a climb...
You seem a very nice person but I won't pretend to take you climbing for a diff if we ever meet.
I do hope however that you do meet some people, then get enough climbing up to VS and then your climbing opportunities will mutliply. Good luck!
I don't know. I like climbing diffs. Even VDiffs on occasion. I've climbed harder things but don't want to do more than a Diff sometimes and have had some great days out without feeling the need to get a tech grade at all!
To be honest I can't see myself getting beyond leading a v diff and seconding a severe or Hard severe maximum. Unlike most climbers who are always champing at the bit to push their grade, I get no joy out of this at all. I LIKE being in my comfort zone, of being able to potter happily up some rock on a lovely day and top out near the summit of a beautiful fell. If I could only do two climbs, Oxford and Cambridge on Grey Crag, Buttermere and Tophet Wall on Great Gable for the rest of my life I reckon I would be pretty happy. Great rock, great moves and you end up near the summit of two great fells. I ask for no more (apart from a willing partner to share the experience!)
Great to hear you've found a climbing partner. I'd be interested to hear how your learn to lead climb goes. I'm wondering whether it's something that I could potentially benefit from as well, so keen to hear about your experience!
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