/ ARTICLE: British Climber Problems: 70 Quirks of the UK Climber

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UKC Articles - on 03 Sep 2018
Malham, 4 kbWe all know that Brits are typically perceived as grumpy, tea-drinking so and sos with stiff upper lips, right? But what defines the quintessential 'British climber?' When we're not sitting it out in the café waiting for the rain to subside, we're predominantly trad climbing on short rocks while complaining about conditions, weather and Brexit. It's not nice to stereotype, of course, but for the sake of humour (and we do need some of that right now) we gathered some common habits, experiences and foibles of the typical - or perhaps it should be atypical - British climber...

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14
planetmarshall on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I climbed Sunai (E1 5b) on Sunday, a somewhat bold E1 sandwiched between another E1 and a VS formed from a huge crack. My Dutch climbing partner found it hilarious that I stubbornly refused to put protection in the VS despite risking a leg-breaking ground fall.

I was unable to offer any sensible explanation.

Mick Ward - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

'When your down jacket is 20% down and 80% duct tape.'  Eek, guilty as charged!  Once wore it to a rather posh dinner party. Had been bolting earlier, so there was still a fairly liberal coating of dust. Suffice to say, my partner wasn't remotely amused.

Loved the article - and the illustrations!

Mick

steveriley - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

"When you run out of excuses."

Pfft, as if

 

Olaf Prot - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Surely a true British climber would be smug in the knowledge that the true grade of Three Pebble Slab is E0?!

4
Pursued by a bear - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Ron Hills

Believing that a fleece jacket is suitable for any occasion, no matter how formal

Climbing something, anything in the rain because you've driven hundreds of miles to the crag

Having umpteen rucksacks but only ever using one

Hating gritstone but not saying anything because everyone else says it's the business

...and much else.  Good article!

T.

Lusk - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to steveriley:

> "When you run out of excuses."
> Pfft, as if

'Climb Britain', Oh thanks for reminding me! Highlight of last year

GarethSL on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Being unable to pronounce local area names/ climb names when abroad.... "Ruh-Joo-Can"..."Roo-Kan"

Dave Garnett - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to GarethSL:

> Being unable to pronounce local area names/ climb names when abroad.... "Ruh-Joo-Can"..."Roo-Kan"

 

Buoux.  Even French friends I've asked can't agree on this.

craig h - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Inability of setting off up a 25ft climb without 100 bits of protection hanging from the harness.

Flinticus - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Climbing indoors with slings and nuts hanging off your harness.

2
Tom Ripley - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thinking BMC discount is a devine right. 

 

yodadave on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Tom Ripley:

numbers 16 and 67 

to me these perfectly sum up Brits, what a great fun article for a monday!

ianstevens - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Olaf Prot:

> Surely a true British climber would be smug in the knowledge that the true grade of Three Pebble Slab is E0?!

please no

John2 - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I thought the French pronounced it Byoox.

bensilvestre - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to John2:

It varies depending on where in France they come from, like Chamonix - some pronounce the X, some don't.

 

How about this one for the list... feeling moral superiority over people who place bolts, whilst fearing for your life after clipping a horrendous rusty peg.

Post edited at 14:51
Vybz - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Believing you would climb harder grades if you lived anywhere else in the world. 

nniff - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Walking to the crag and having a cup of tea before anything else.

Refusing to clip a peg that's in reach because it's not on your route

Making the rock fit the guidebook description and not the other way round, and then wondering how your life led to the predicament in which you subsequently find yourself.

Placing a self-evidently worthless runner and convincing yourself that it's better than nothing, which it clearly isn't.

Climbing with a pair of secateurs on your rack (Wintour's Leap)

 

EarlyBird - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

"connies"?

1
Pursued by a bear - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

And returning from a holiday abroad and realising how little rock we have in this country, and how we need to take care of it.

T.

1
Luke90 on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to EarlyBird:

Conditions, I presume. Though I've never heard it shortened that way.

1
girlymonkey - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

"When your belayer doesn't give enough slack, but instead of complaining you apologise for pulling the rope up too quickly."

So very British. 

I was queue jumped today by some Spaniards while trying to get my group back from Kerrera. Instead of telling them to get to the back of the queue, I split my group and waited for the rest on the next ferry. 

We don't like to make a scene!

sheelba - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Taking the gear for a walk

galpinos on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Luke90:

I assume you don't boulder in the Peak then....

GrahamD - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to sheelba:

> Taking the gear for a walk

In the rain, just in case

tom_in_edinburgh - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Flinticus:

> Climbing indoors with slings and nuts hanging off your harness.

Climbing the *speed wall* indoors with slings and nuts hanging off your harness.

1
Luke90 on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to galpinos:

Only under duress!

Andy Hardy on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Spending £2k on kit and a further £800 getting to the Alps for a fortnight, then bivvying outside the hut to save money, having walked up carrying the sort of load that would cripple a Sherpa.

Sean Kelly - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Sitting in the rain waiting for it to stop, but it doesn't.

Nothing quirky about Ben & Jerry's. Very tasty indeed!

Excellent illustrations. Not an artist I have come across before.

Mick Ward - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Is it just me or is one of Gilly McArthur's delightful illustrations based on a certain UKC editor, in previous years?

Mick

olddirtydoggy - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Scottish hot aches.

flaneur - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

31a. Being overtaken by a foreign party on an alpine route and being convinced said party must be unsafe.

EarlyBird - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Luke90:

I wondered that. I hope it doesn't catch on.

Smith42 on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Reading pointless articles on ukc.

 

Post edited at 21:35
1
HansStuttgart - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to craig h:

> Inability of setting off up a 25ft climb without 100 bits of protection hanging from the harness.


Reminds me of a term we used in the NL university mountain club:

British toptoping.

Requires a short route, lots of gear, double ropes and a competent belayer. The procedure is as follows: climb a bit, place a piece, clip rope 1. Climb till the piece is at hip-height, place a piece above the head, clip it with rope 2 while the belayer keeps rope 1 tight. Climb up to the second piece. Et cetera.

planetmarshall on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to Mick Ward:

> Is it just me or is one of Gilly McArthur's delightful illustrations based on a certain UKC editor, in previous years?

The cake holder could definitely be Rob Greenwood, going by the hair.

I love Gilly's work, and would be honoured to be so immortalised!

StockportAl on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Gritstone, perfectly normal when it's your local rock type. And I really do recognise the sitting out the rain in the cafe, I'd add constantly refreshing the rainfall radar images looking for that break.

pasbury on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

71. removing ticks from your bollocks.

72. getting horrendously spanked and the driest mouth ever on a Yosemite 5.7 offwidth.

simes303 - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

When half of your sentences start with the word when.

French Erick - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Ah, the fun I have been having climbing with you lot. The guffawing I get when I tell my climbing pals back at home... it almost makes the moaning, rain, hot aches and midges worth it ;)

French climbers have their quirks too:

1) being horrendously strong and not wanting to make an easy move above bomber hand placed gear just in case.

2) In " voie terrain d'aventure" putting a bolt at each belay. Otherwise, how do people know they should belay there?! Even though, your entire rack could placed within a foot of said bolt.

3)etc...

whispering nic - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to bensilvestre:

I get that locals, and therefore everyone else pronounces Buoux with an "x" but do locals and therefore anyone else pronounces the "x" in Chamonix? Genuinely interested as have never heard that...

Post edited at 22:34
John2 - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to whispering nic:

I think it's the Parisians rather than the locals who pronounce the "x" in Chamonix.

niche on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think you mean English climber. As a Scot I dont drink tea and dont have a stiff upper lip. So please dont lump me into the "Brit" category or I will get very annoyed.

8
GrahamD - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to niche:

> I think you mean English climber. As a Scot I dont drink tea and dont have a stiff upper lip. So please dont lump me into the "Brit" category or I will get very annoyed.

Just 'cos your Scottish doesn't preclude you from drinking tea. Plenty of Scots do.

1
Harrison_Connie - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to niche:

> I think you mean English climber. As a Scot I dont drink tea and dont have a stiff upper lip. So please dont lump me into the "Brit" category or I will get very annoyed.

Freeeeeedom! 

Calm down, its just a bit of fun! :P 

planetmarshall on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> Just 'cos your Scottish doesn't preclude you from drinking tea. Plenty of Scots do.

It's well known that without tea, Dave Mac would struggle to get up a Vdiff.

jungle - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

When you finish a route and say 'it wasn't too bad', despite thinking to yourself how hard and scary it is throughout the climb

Dave Stelmach on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

We used to have camo knicks in the services, also may be manufactured by follow through!

Chris Shepherd - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Not trying to troll, but this article is well below par for UKC. It's just a rushed list of basic clichés that are so tired they're borderline patronising.

Not all articles need to be serious / seminal, but this just seems lazy. I'm on UKC, not Buzzfeed, and as such I have a strong preference for full sentences.

Just my two cents' worth. UKC has been generally great recently, and I hope that this isn't a general trend.

Chris.

13
chrishamper - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

When your mate says "I'm really climbing sh*t today" and you say ........... nothing.

planetmarshall on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to Chris Shepherd:

> ...I have a strong preference for full sentences.

> Just my two cents' worth.

So not that strong, then.

1
pavelk - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice to read that British climbers have so much in common with their Czech colleagues!

From here i can add - chalk on sandstone

Robert Durran - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to Chris Shepherd:

> Not trying to troll, but this article is well below par for UKC. It's just a rushed list of basic clichés that are so tired they're borderline patronising.

I hate to say it, but I agree.

 

9
GrahamD - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

British climbers take offence if they suspect that they are being borderline patronised.

Pursued by a bear - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

I don't.  I insist that it crosses the border, then I go and put my Ron Hills on and carry a needlessly heavy rucksack for several ardous miles to a tiny crag I knew would be too wet to climb on before I set out.  

The thing about cliches is that sometimes, they're about you. Indeed, sometimes you hold dear to whatever the full-on patronising cliche is about.  Despite my inability to grow a Lemmy-style moustache and sideburns, someone I used to climb with always referred to me as a '1970s climber'.  And I knew what he meant, and was happy to be so distinguished for all that it was a playful jibe.

T.

And I thought it was a good article.

Chris Shepherd - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

Touché  

Milesy - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to Chris Shepherd:

Is this a BuzzFeed article ????

arthurwellsley - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to whispering nic:

Buoux is locally pronounced with the X as the locals down there were Cahoors (sort of protestant sect), and the pope declared a crusade against them (so that big regional lords could take the area over). The region was referred to as OC, as the locals said OC and not OUI. The OC dialect is closely linked to Catalonian.

 

I live part of the year near Cham and no one in my valley uses the X, but all the little valleys speak slightly different accents.

Andy Say - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to arthurwellsley:

> Buoux is locally pronounced with the X as the locals down there were Cahoors (sort of protestant sect), and the pope declared a crusade against them (so that big regional lords could take the area over). The region was referred to as OC, as the locals said OC and not OUI. 

And indeed the area is still the 'Langue d' Oc'.  'Cahoors'?  Heard of the Cathars but 'cahoors' is a new one on me!

 

 

John2 - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to Andy Say:

Languedoc is actually further west than Buoux, which is in the Vaucluse area of Provence.

john arran - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to John2:

> Languedoc is actually further west than Buoux, which is in the Vaucluse area of Provence.

That's the modern remnant that has retained the name, but the language of Occitan (albeit in multiple dialects) was once the mother tongue of people right across Southern France from the Atlantic right across to Italy.

Around here in Ariège a lot of the place names are derived from Occitan and as a result are pronounced differently by locals to the way they are by people from other parts of France. It seems to have more similarity with Catalan than it does with French.

John2 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to john arran:

Interesting, I always thought that Provençal was a completely separate language from Occitan, but apparently it's just a dialect of the language.

Dave Garnett - on 20 Oct 2018
In reply to arthurwellsley:

>  The OC dialect is closely linked to Catalonian.

Yes, we have friends whose parents who live north of Carcassonne can still speak Oc.

 

Trangia on 20 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great! Thanks, had me in stitches.

I particularly liked No 66

1
Rog Wilko on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> Believing that a fleece jacket is suitable for any occasion, no matter how formallse says it's the business

It used to be ostentatiously wearing a duvet jacket at a lecture or film show by a climber, just so the non-climbers in the audience will realise you're a climber too. But now the punters can't distinguish a proper duvet from a cheap puffer jacket.

The same people also make sure their rope is clearly visible under the rucsac lid when setting off from a busy car park.

jon on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> It used to be ostentatiously wearing a duvet jacket at a lecture or film show by a climber, just so the non-climbers in the audience will realise you're a climber too.

I remember going to promotional ski films at Solihull civic hall back in the 70s. There'd always be someone who'd show up in a ski jacket, with a pair of gloves clipped to the zip puller

Pursued by a bear - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I suppose the modern equivalent is turning up at a climbing wall with nuts and other protection clipped to your harness so that everyone else knows that you think this is just practice for the real stuff outdoors (which it is, of course).

T.

stp - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I think the only reason climbers used to wear their duvets everywhere was more down to the fact it was the only coat they actually owned. And far from being ostentatious they were usually filthy dirty because they couldn't afford to pay to get them specially cleaned and then covered in criss crosses of finger tape or duct tape to patch up all the holes.

stp - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

> I suppose the modern equivalent is turning up at a climbing wall with nuts and other protection clipped to your harness so that everyone else knows that you think this is just practice for the real stuff outdoors

Does that really happen? I've never seen it.

 

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to stp:

That used to be the sign of  climber.... a jacket that cost £150 quid and the rest of the clothing combined added up to £15 quid

Pursued by a bear - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to stp:

Oh it does, now and then; though I suspect if you go to a place which the users call a 'gym', where they 'send' things, it may be less common.  

T.

Fredt on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Recall trips in the early seventies.

Look out the window in Sheffield, it’s raining.

Maybe it’s dry at Stanage.

Look out the window at Stanage, it’s raining.

Maybe it’s dry at Lawrencefield.

Look out the window at Surprise, it’s raining.

Maybe it’s dry at Froggatt.

etc, etc. Birchen, Stoney, Bamford.

Maybe it’s dry at Stanage.

Its dry at Stanage, but the popular end lay-by is full with 7 cars.

Maybe there’s parking at Lawrencefield.....

JohnV - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to stp:

I recently saw a guy climbing, stubby ice screw on harness, at my local wall in Lima...

paul__in_sheffield - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to stp:

> Does that really happen? I've never seen it.

Hiya, have you never scoped this at the Foundry? Usually Prussia loops, Fig 8s etc etc

stp - on 21 Oct 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Well certainly people climb with their belay devices, inc. Fig 8s, attached, probably just a bit of laziness in taking them off. And prussik loops weigh nothing so leaving them on doesn't seem like posy thing to do. But I don't think I've seen anyone climbing with protection on their harnesses.


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