UKC

Shirts in Gyms

New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Thread auto-archived as it is too large

My gym’s just put in place a “shirts off ban”. As a simple minded and easily influenced individual, I would be interested to see what people’s opinions are on such a policy (poll numbers mainly). 
 

Apologies if this has already been done…


Is it a good idea to ban shirts off?

Yes
243 votes | 0%
No
252 votes | 0%
Don’t care
197 votes | 0%
Login to vote
4
 john arran 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

If it's ok on the beach or in the park, there's no reason, other than misplaced prudishness, that it shouldn't be ok in the gym, climbing gyms/walls included.

20
 Petrafied 04 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

> If it's ok on the beach or in the park, there's no reason, other than misplaced prudishness, that it shouldn't be ok in the gym, climbing gyms/walls included.

It isn't purely a matter of prudishness - it's also a matter of malodorousness.  I don't particularly want to smell your pong.  No offence - I'm sure you personally smell delightful; fact is though, personal hygiene is clearly an optional extra for many climbers.  Shirts at least contain it. 

In addition, I don't particularly want to be slipping around your sweaty body fluids on the bouldering mat.  

Introduce sweat-poodles to weed out those who like to go au-naturale, and compulsory mat disinfection and wipe-down after use, then sure why not.

Post edited at 05:38
54
 mike123 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett: I’ve just voted don’t care . As I write this NO + DONT CARE  = 51 % . It obviously occurs to me that we should  put “ DONT CARE “ as an option every time we ask people what they think . 
edit : and another thing ! You refer to it as “ my wall “ , but I’m guessing you mean “ the wall I go to “ ? If I’m wrong and it actually is “ your wall “ then imho : “ your wall , your rules “ , if I don’t like your rules I would have a very simple option , if I could bothered I might tell you why .  
Years ago vests were very popular , I had a bright yellow stone monkey one I was fond of . I think if wore a vest and they then said “ no vests “ I would be buying a beast maker and staying at home .

 

Post edited at 07:31
25
 plyometrics 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Back in the day it was perfectly acceptable. Everyone was flexing their lats and nobody was bothered. But most people at the walls were “climbers”.

Now, I’d argue the popularity of climbing walls for a far broader spectrum of people, rather than just people obsessed with the sport, may make it feel less acceptable. 

 climbingpixie 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Petrafied:

Is a sweaty shirtless body smellier than someone in a sweaty t-shirt? What about in a vest who is also exposing their armpits? What about women climbing in a sports bra or crop top (where even is the dividing line between those two)?

I don't get the beef with people climbing shirtless. It's nice to feel a bit cooler in the summer months and most people aren't rubbing their sweaty bits on the holds or rolling around on the mat. And for those claiming it makes the wall have a less friendly atmosphere, how do you cope with going to the swimming pool and being surrounded by scantily clad men and women? I often climb in just shorts and a sports bra in the hot weather, indoors or out. I do the same running, for that matter. I've not noticed an appreciable difference in how much sweat I'm dripping onto the mats in my bra versus a loose vest, if anything it's less because I'm not quite as hot.

6
In reply to oliver_tippett:

When you say gym,do you mean gym or do you mean wall? If gym then I understand,less sweating up of the equipment. If you mean wall,then its shirts off for sending rad dude

It's indicative of the trend towards prudence in society as a whole. As with almost everything it is driven by our friends in the states and their strange views on things.

I watched a TV programme recently,amongst the long list of warnings at the start was nudity. The only nudity contained in the show was a male actor shirtless. Since when was this nudity?

It all reminds me of the lady from the Simpsons.

Somebody think of the children!

Alternatively,cut your t shirt "to fit" like the weight lifters do, arm holes down to your waist.

Post edited at 09:02
13
In reply to oliver_tippett:

My shirt comes off occasionally when it's very hot (the gym is not very well ventilated), or when I'm on the circuit board which is a separate room and I'm usually the only one in there.

That said, I know some women don't like all the flexing. If there was a rule to keep shirts on, I'd happily keep it on, no big deal.

4
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Was at the climbing wall in Lyon last night outside temp was about 35C at 8pm. The wall has some air con but i would say over 50% males were topless and most women in shorts and bra tops/vests. So lots of exposed armpits from both sexes. So i would guess the vote smongst them woud be a majority for no. 

I think the heat makes you more accepting of less clothing, saw a guy in rhe park running in sports underwear, no shorts, as well yesterday.

 MischaHY 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

For context the wall is Westway. 

These blanket policies tend to miss two crucial points when being implemented. 

1) They misrepresent the legitimate problem of antisocial masculine behaviour towards women as a hygienic/vanity issue rather than a social issue. As many women (and some men) will be aware, both genders (but predominantly men) are perfectly capable of exhibiting disgusting behaviours towards others regardless of what they are wearing.

It is this behaviour which needs to be ostracised. Implementing a dress code simply plasters over the cracks and does nothing to solve the core issue which stems from a combination of mistrust in antisocial male behaviour (which should be heard) and general squeamishness about the human body. If a century of feminism has taught us anything it's that we shouldn't give a toss what other people think about our bodies and therefore I've got much more sympathy for the former than the latter. Walls then often implement reverse social pressure by sarcastically implying that men are 'welcome to wear sports bras' like the women, somehow not perceiving the irony of the fact that they are now imposing significant social discomfort on men despite claiming their policies are about reducing social discomfort in the wall. 

2) Climbing, like all performance sport, has environmental factors which limit performance. One of the major limiting factors is skin elasticity on a given day which is defined predominantly by sweat levels, subcutaneous blood circulation and heart rate. With this in mind, core temperature has a relevant effect on performance and the opportunity to expose more sweaty skin presents the chance to drop core temp significantly (damp skin cools ~20-25x faster than dry/unexposed skin) and this is our primary evolved cooling mechanism 'evaporative cooling'. Clothing hinders this significantly which means possible performance on a given day drops. This usually gets laughed off with 'well then you'll have to get stronger'. Clearly this is ridiculous - you'd never ask a swimmer to wear clothes in a swimming pool and then get stronger to compensate against the drag. 

The only positive of these situations is it offers middle class white guys a chance to appreciate how it feels when a governing body takes away your bodily autonomy. 

15
 Holdtickler 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

I remember an amusing conversation with the reception staff at the Lancaster Uni wall years back. The reception is kind of a glass boxed wedged in between the climbing wall and the swimming pool. They were giving the (flawed IMO) argument that shirtlessness made people uncomfortable. The look on their faces when I questioned their logic and pointed 30+ shirtless men through one window in the pool then compared it to the empty climbing wall through the other window where are new ban was being imposed. When they realised the ludicrous hypocrisy they were lost for words.

What next? Shirts in saunas? Can't be allowing people to share sweat now can we   What kind of ridiculous animal outlaws its own skin?  

14
 steveriley 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

It's just a business decision. We have some ace facilities these days but the flipside is we share them with kids parties and normal people, and it's not what they're used to. Shrugs.

18
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Another one to file under UKClimbing FAQ.

 Holdtickler 04 Aug 2022
In reply to steveriley:

Only they are used to it in pools, parks, beaches...

15
 Holdtickler 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Just out of interest then. What would happen if a woman decided she wanted to climb topless you think? Are there rules preventing it and how likely are they to be enforced?

How did society reach this level of nipple inequality? 

3
 Andy Hardy 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Walls are businesses, as such they will have no doubt considered that if they impose a shirts on rule they make more money. If it bothers you enough, just take your custom elsewhere in the hotter months

E2A as you can guess I voted "don't care"

Post edited at 10:50
3
 Exo 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Comparing indoor climbing facilities to parks, pools, beaches and saunas rather than comparing them to other indoor sports facilities is weird.

The performance argument makes sense if you assume that a large portion of the userbase fits into the category and would benefit from this style of body temperature regulation. I would argue that most of these (<1% of a large London gyms customer base) likely avoid limit climbing when the temperatures are unmanageable.

Climbing centres inherently need to cater for a growing number of user groups, and minor policy changes such as this are going to continue to happen.

Keep your shirt on, use your gri-gri correctly, and PLEASE DON'T wear your climbing shoes to the loo.

Post edited at 11:43
27
 Holdtickler 04 Aug 2022

I believe it is the case that public nudity in itself is not a crime, as long as you have no intention of causing alarm or distress. So this presumably means that in walls that allow men to go topless, that women also have the same freedom, and quite rightly so!  I imagine we'd need some major societal shifts before most would ever consider it though. Ladies, your thoughts? 

Are there any ladies who feel constrained and long to climb topless?

I'll confess, I've been known to enjoy a sesh on my home board in nowt but me boots! very liberating! just being the animal I am in my own skin The curtains are firmly closed however!!

 henwardian 04 Aug 2022
In reply to climbingpixie:

> What about women climbing in a sports bra or crop top (where even is the dividing line between those two)?

This is fine, because they smell of sugar and spice and all things nice

In reply to the OP:
The line on what sorts of body parts can be exposed is a purely cultural thing. The fact that men in the UK don't cover their breasts when swimming but women do make no empirical sense at all. The fact that it's illegal to walk around naked makes no sense either. So any rules about what clothes can be worn, or not, in the gym will be equally arbitrary. I've not spent much time in a gym for ages but even years ago, some women said they found ripped guys walking around topless and powerscreaming on problems to be intimidating and some men said they thought the toplessness was often people just showing off, rather than genuinely being too hot.

I suppose the bottom line is that it's a bit like same-sex marriages or abortion or marmite - many people will be on one side and many people will be on the other and it's (somewhat of) a digital decision, so your local gym just has decide which group of people they want to alienate and then just go for it. [shrug]

3
Message Removed 04 Aug 2022
Reason: Misleading content
 MischaHY 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Exo:

> The performance argument makes sense if you assume that a large portion of the userbase fits into the category and would benefit from this style of body temperature regulation. I would argue that most of these (<1% of a large London gyms customer base) likely avoid limit climbing when the temperatures are unmanageable.

This is a disingeneous point because if it represents such a small portion of the climbing scene then it similarly shouldn't be an issue because it happens rarely enough to avoid the kind of disaffection the walls are implying. If indeed it's a large enough group to cause questions to be asked, then clearly it's a larger demographic who are now being alienated. 

Other indoor sports facilities are not facilitating a sport which is temperature dependent. Whether you're wearing a shirt does not affect your max deadlift ability, but it does significantly affect your ability to hold slopers and small edges. As mentioned above, no swimming pool would ask you to wear clothes to cover up and just accept the performance deficit. 

Ultimately though the effect on performance or the mutings around hygiene (which make no sense because sports bras are still allowed) are absolutely secondary to the main issue which brings these bans into place, which is the ridiculous notion that women need to be protected from seeing men without tops on because it makes them 'uncomfortable'. 

The root cause of this discomfort has nothing to do with bare chests and everything to do with inappropriate male behaviour towards women and forcing men to wear a t-shirt will not change this. The very fact that sports bras are always allowed with a nod and a wink demonstrates that the objectification they claim to be protecting against is very much still in full force.  

7
In reply to oliver_tippett:

> My gym’s just put in place a “shirts off ban”.

Are you allowed to take it off and swing it around your head whilst running around the room if you get to the top of a boulder problem or route?

In reply to oliver_tippett:

Yes, because walls these days are family environments and not just testosterone dens.  Same with actual gyms other than the old fashioned iron-pumping type.

Exceptions may be sensible if the temperature gets really high like those two days last month, but no need normally.

The point made about swimming pools and beaches is a reasonable one, but the water and fresh air takes away (ugh!) any sweat and stink in those contexts, so it "feels" totally different.  Also at beaches and in pools you see all manner of body shapes, whereas at walls it's only going to be ripped people who climb with their shirts off, so it creates a certain "feel" which is discouraging to those who don't have that sort of body.

Post edited at 12:34
11
 henwardian 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Holdtickler:

> I'll confess, I've been known to enjoy a sesh on my home board in nowt but me boots!

Here, here!

While I don't have a home board yet, I find naked soloing on crags where nobody else is there very enjoyable, you can be even more assured of not giving someone an eyeful when the crag is a new discovery and you're just putting up new lines. 

 daWalt 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

meh, I think the rules of etiquette should cover more important things.

no: running, pushing, acrobatics or gymnastics, shouting, ducking, petting, bombing, smoking, or lounging around on the mats while gabbing to your mates or thumbing your phone.

Message Removed 04 Aug 2022
Reason: Misleading content
 dunc56 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Hang on, did you leave your t-shirt 500 metres away from you and someone took it ? 

 Iamgregp 04 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

I'm not sure prudishness is the reason here, it's more about societal norms.  For example I'm more than happy to spend the day at the beach or pool wearing nothing but my swimming shorts, but in other situations, say sat in the pub on Friday night, in the office, or walking down Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon I would feel rather self conscious.  I'm not a prude by any stretch, just aware of where I am, what I'm doing and what societal norms I'm breaking.

And that's what this is all about really - the societal norm of climbing walls is that it's ok for people to climb shirtless.   Although it's something I've only done a handful of times in my life when it's been really hot, it's far from unusual to see people walking around a climbing wall shirtless in any weather, there's some fellas down my local wall that literally never wear a shirt.

But then I go to my normal gym (as in weights, running machines etc) it's very much not the societal norm to see people walking around shirtless.  I've never ever seen anyone working out without a shirt on there.  

So this is about changing the societal norm for climbing walls, and I'd support that and say it's fine to mandate shirt wearing as although it doesn't bother me, it really bothers some people I know and in the interests of being inclusive and welcoming to all, what the big deal in putting a shirt on?

Mischa HY did make a v good point about performance enhancement but he's a very good climber who operates on finer margins than most, and for most people down the climbing wall (myself included) the reason they can't send that absolutely mediocre punter grade top-rope route isn't because they were wearing a shirt

5
 Hooo 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

>  Also at beaches and in pools you see all manner of body shapes, whereas at walls it's only going to be ripped people who climb with their shirts off, so it creates a certain "feel" which is discouraging to those who don't have that sort of body.

This is a good point. When shirts off is (pretty much) compulsory, like in a pool, there isn't the same pressure on people who don't like showing their body. It's not the lack of shirts that are a problem at the wall, it's the  poseurs. I like to climb with my shirt off. I'm way below the level at which it's going to make any difference to my performance, and I don't have the sort of body that is going to get me any positive reactions, but I just like the feeling. But at the walls I go to it isn't an option, so it's strictly when outdoors.

1
 Holdtickler 04 Aug 2022

My view is that all societal norms should be challenged from time to time. Some of our societal norms represent a sickness in that society. Here's how I look at it, (assuming a passive encounter)

Is the topless person causing me to become distracted? That's my issue, I need to improve my focus... 

Is this person's physical appearance leading me feel to inadequate? That's my issue, not theirs, I can accept my own body as it is or I can work to improve it if I choose. rinse repeat...

Can I smell the person? Regardless of torso-coverage, I'm standing too close If that's forced by a packed, wall, I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I don't feel I've got the right to tell someone to cover up any more than if I'd have if I asked them to change their hairstyle. I can choose to look or to look away but I'm responsible for that choice. Yeah maybe some are trying to impress, and some may be impressed but that's human nature and is unstoppable regardless of shirt rules. I'm sure a lot of couples out there must have met in our walls...

7
 climbingpixie 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Exceptions may be sensible if the temperature gets really high like those two days last month, but no need normally.

That may be true for you but people have different levels of heat sensitivity. I used to work in a chippy and was always amazed at how cool and composed the other girls were at the end of a shift, while I was a pink sweaty mess after half an hour. Same with climbing - I spend the hot days in summer at shady crags and am gobsmacked when I see people climbing in the full sun. If I'm hot and sweaty I shred my skin, meaning I have to use tape, shorten my session and/or take time off while it regrows. Staying as cool as possible is beneficial to performance and I'd expect that any decent wall would understand that.

> whereas at walls it's only going to be ripped people who climb with their shirts off, so it creates a certain "feel" which is discouraging to those who don't have that sort of body.

You've clearly never seen me at the wall! I'm pretty sure my slightly doughy, unshaven armpitted 40 year old body isn't going to make anyone feel discouraged about their shape or size. If anything I expect it's the opposite, I consider that I'm doing my bit to normalise prioritising comfort over aesthetics and not giving a f*** over being Instagram perfect.

Ultimately walls are businesses and they'll make decisions based on what's best for their bottom line. If that means pandering to the prudish or shy over facilitating a good training environment then I understand why they do it. But let's not pretend it's for hygiene grounds and I still think it's worth arguing against and trying to prevent this idea that banning people climbing topless is a good and normal thing to do in any indoor climbing wall that wants to be taken seriously as a training facility. 

Post edited at 13:50
1
 flaneur 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

To add to your good points, there are couple of specific factors relevant to the Westway. 

Shirts off may be a norm at some climbing walls but the Westway is a multi-sports centre with tennis, gyms and football pitches adjacent to the climbing areas. These other sports have shirts-on norms and possibly policies. 

The Westway is in North Kensington. It, and London more generally, is ethnically diverse and potential customers will be a broad spectrum of the socially very liberal to the quite conservative. Some of the former may be a bit bothered by the change of policy, some of the latter may be encouraged by it. The Westway are taking a bet the latter outweigh the former.

I'm surprised shirtless climbers have been tolerated there for so long

7
 gravy 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Petrafied:

Trust me shirted stinkies smell just as bad, if not worse, than bare ones.

 Iamgregp 04 Aug 2022
In reply to flaneur:

Two really quite excellent points.

2
 S Ramsay 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

The difference between climbing (mainly bouldering actually) walls and some of the other places mentioned, beaches/parks/pools etc is that they can be very crowded and as such I feel that this rule is often warranted as I feel that many people will want a bit more personal space around them if the other people in the room are topless. In the less crowded places it is more acceptable

2
 Mike Stretford 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

> I'm not sure prudishness is the reason here, it's more about societal norms.  

Bang on!

> And that's what this is all about really - the societal norm of climbing walls is that it's ok for people to climb shirtless.   Although it's something I've only done a handful of times in my life when it's been really hot, it's far from unusual to see people walking around a climbing wall shirtless in any weather, there's some fellas down my local wall that literally never wear a shirt.

> But then I go to my normal gym (as in weights, running machines etc) it's very much not the societal norm to see people walking around shirtless.  I've never ever seen anyone working out without a shirt on there.  

> So this is about changing the societal norm for climbing walls, and I'd support that and say it's fine to mandate shirt wearing as although it doesn't bother me, it really bothers some people I know and in the interests of being inclusive and welcoming to all, what the big deal in putting a shirt on?

Exactly. I couldn't find my vest I wear for climbing yesterday, so I trained topless in the training room. Seemed natural to put my shirt on when I went for a coffee as that's in a area where there are non climbers who've brought their kids in for a session. It's a shame that walls do have to bring rules in (who wants to go round policing that!) but I suspect it's some climbers not 'reading the room' that leads to it. I'm surprised how exercised some get about the right to climb topless.... a lightweight vest makes negligible difference.

 Holdtickler 04 Aug 2022

Lets just let Magnus decide!

 john arran 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Also at beaches and in pools you see all manner of body shapes, whereas at walls it's only going to be ripped people who climb with their shirts off, so it creates a certain "feel" which is discouraging to those who don't have that sort of body.

Which suggests a solution surely acceptable to all: insist that everybody takes their shirts off to climb, then anyone feeling insecure about their body shape will be in good company.

😀

3
 Lucid_Dreamer 04 Aug 2022

Hesitant to post this but here we go.

'Insecurity' is possibly downplaying the significance of the issues that some people face when it comes to their body image.

I was bullied about my body shape from the age of about 10 until 30. Throughout that time I simply laughed it off, but looking back it heavily influenced both the mental health challenges I have faced and my eating disorder. That isn't something that will ever go away.

The thought of climbing shirtless gives me tremendous anxiety. I did it once for 5 minutes, I won't do it again as I did not have a good reaction to it. Shirtless individuals climbing around me is something I am very aware of and it does make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

I don't think any of that should prevent others from climbing topless if they wish. But I do think that they should be aware of, and consider the impact of, their decisions on those around them.

2
 Cobra_Head 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Petrafied:

> It isn't purely a matter of prudishness - it's also a matter of malodorousness.  I don't particularly want to smell your pong.  No offence - I'm sure you personally smell delightful; fact is though, personal hygiene is clearly an optional extra for many climbers.  Shirts at least contain it. 

Maybe it better evaporating off, than being contained and festering?!

People who stink are going to stink either way, besides is it really that bad? It's quite sexy sometimes, though this might be the issue for some people.

Post edited at 16:14
 Cobra_Head 04 Aug 2022
In reply to steveriley:

> It's just a business decision. We have some ace facilities these days but the flipside is we share them with kids parties and normal people, and it's not what they're used to. Shrugs.

Maybe they need educating, the human body isn't something to be ashamed of?

1
In reply to Iamgregp:

> But then I go to my normal gym (as in weights, running machines etc) it's very much not the societal norm to see people walking around shirtless.  I've never ever seen anyone working out without a shirt on there.  

I do often in David Lloyd in Bristol (not just one guy) plus another guy in one of these almost-not-there vests he might as well have been topless.

 Mike Stretford 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> Maybe they need educating, the human body isn't something to be ashamed of?

Can we do the need to act on climate change first? Then about 1000 other things before we get to the very first world problem that is free the nips down the climbing wall!

17
In reply to climbingpixie:

> Ultimately walls are businesses and they'll make decisions based on what's best for their bottom line. If that means pandering to the prudish or shy over facilitating a good training environment then I understand why they do it.

In the end the business model for most walls is being a family environment - they make far more money from selling instructed sessions and the likes (and the cafe while the parents spectate) than they do from regular climbers on a membership, though that does provide a useful income "base".  Shirts off isn't really conducive to that, and I've said above why that's not quite the same as the family environments of swimming pools and beaches.

I'd not say it has anything to do with hygiene, as you sweat all over so if it was shorts would be banned too and gloves required.  Though there is a certain niff of sweaty blokes which most people won't be wanting to experience.

You might well get some smaller walls that genuinely are about experienced climbers training and don't offer instructed sessions or allow kids in, and they may well allow it, of course.  A bit like the way that if you pop your shirt off in a Pure Gym or a Bannatyne's it's not going to be more than seconds before you're asked to put it back on or leave, but if you're in one of those backstreet "iron pumping" gyms full of blokes on steroids it's probably perfectly well accepted.

Post edited at 17:31
6
 climbingpixie 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Lucid_Dreamer:

I genuinely sympathise with your body issues. It must be incredibly hard to live with that level of anxiety about your body. But surely the answer is to try to work through those problems with a therapist and address the root cause to try to find a way you can be happy in your skin? Expecting other people to modify their behaviour to account for your trauma, that they would never know about or expect, seems destined to lead to disappointment and anxiety.

8
 Cobra_Head 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> Can we do the need to act on climate change first? Then about 1000 other things before we get to the very first world problem that is free the nips down the climbing wall!

I think we were OK with nakedness a while ago, it's something we've learned to be ashamed of. The Olympics was all naked once upon a time, bloke only as well though, so not realy my cup of tea.

Climate change would be good too, of course.

3
 climbingpixie 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Doing one doesn't preclude the other though. By that logic there's a million things we shouldn't bother trying to improve as they're all dwarfed by the impending climate crisis. And anyway, I'd argue climbing topless is better for the climate as it reduces the need for aircon at the wall!

2
 Ramblin dave 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> Maybe they need educating, the human body isn't something to be ashamed of?

I agree in principle, but it's a lot easier to say that when it's not my business that the "kids parties and normal people" are keeping the lights on for.

2
 climbingpixie 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

>  In the end the business model for most walls is being a family environment - they make far more money from selling instructed sessions and the likes (and the cafe while the parents spectate) than they do from regular climbers on a membership

I'm well aware of that. I just think it's a shame that what used to be the core focus for indoor walls - providing training facilities for the climbing community - has been subsumed by the increasing commercialisation of the sector. 

> You might well get some smaller walls that genuinely are about experienced climbers training and don't offer instructed sessions or allow kids in, and they may well allow it, of course. 

I was under the impression that banning topless climbing was still more of the exception than the rule? Maybe I'm just lucky to go to a wall that somehow manages to run kids clubs and instruction yet doesn't impose arbitrary rules about what customers can wear, based on some indefinable 'ick' factor that some people have.

3
 Mike Stretford 04 Aug 2022
In reply to climbingpixie: There's many worthy issues that are indeed dwarfed by climate change but sure they are still worthy. But climbing topless? I'm baffled that it even a flickers on some peoples problemometer.

And anyway...... your climbing wall has aircon!?!?!?!

1
In reply to climbingpixie:

> I'm well aware of that. I just think it's a shame that what used to be the core focus for indoor walls - providing training facilities for the climbing community - has been subsumed by the increasing commercialisation of the sector. 

The upside of that commercialisation is more and better walls, to be fair.

> I was under the impression that banning topless climbing was still more of the exception than the rule? Maybe I'm just lucky to go to a wall that somehow manages to run kids clubs and instruction yet doesn't impose arbitrary rules about what customers can wear, based on some indefinable 'ick' factor that some people have.

I suspect most walls don't have a formal ban because hardly anyone does it unless it's baking hot.  It's certainly very rare at Big Rock's two walls.  They did formally ban it at one point, but it doesn't seem to be written anywhere at the moment.  I suspect if you went there on a weekday lunchtime nobody would care, but if you did it on a Saturday morning with the kids clubs in full swing you'd be asked to put it back on.

Post edited at 18:01
1
 Mike Stretford 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The upside of that commercialisation is more and better walls, to be fair.

Yeah I'm fine with it. Better facilities for us and more kids doing physical activity, win win. And more walls means less travel to get to one..... big advantage for me who hates driving either side of work.

1
 deepsoup 04 Aug 2022
In reply to climbingpixie:

> I'm well aware of that. I just think it's a shame that what used to be the core focus for indoor walls - providing training facilities for the climbing community - has been subsumed by the increasing commercialisation of the sector. 

Indoor climbing walls were quite few and far between, and generally not very good back in the day* when their core focus was proper training for existing climbers though. 
(*ie: Before even the Foundry, back in the very early '90s.)

Good quality modern indoor climbing walls essentially are 'the increasing commercialisation of the sector'.  They're still generally run by climbers who care about climbing and want their facilities to be good for climbers - but commercially I don't think it's ever been possible for a modern wall to survive without offering a leisure activity to the wider public first and foremost.  (And growing their market by running courses, encouraging beginners, hosting school groups and parties etc.)

 steveriley 04 Aug 2022
In reply to climbingpixie:

> I just think it's a shame that what used to be the core focus for indoor walls - providing training facilities for the climbing community - has been subsumed by the increasing commercialisation of the sector. 

Heck climbing walls aren't even for 'climbers' - 70%* of the people in there will never climb outside.

*Institute of facts, number may vary.

5
 climbingpixie 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The upside of that commercialisation is more and better walls, to be fair.

More - yes. Better is debatable. We seem to have loads more walls but they're 90% focused on comp style problems and parkour bollox. FWIW I find a gang of lads monopolising a whole section of the wall doing some ridiculous jumpy problem much more unfriendly than some topless wad cranking on the moonboard.

> I suspect most walls don't have a formal ban because hardly anyone does it unless it's baking hot.

It seems fairly common at the Pudsey Depot. But then I deliberately don't go on Saturday mornings because the last thing I want at the wall is to be around a load of kids! Saturday night is where it's at, no-one there apart from a select group of antisocial bastards.

Post edited at 18:50
1
In reply to oliver_tippett:

If anyone wants a shirtless ban at their local gym/climbing wall I'm available to hire. I have the physique of some English Rab C Nesbit and 5 minutes of me rippling my midriff will be enough that they never want to risk seeing that sort of thing again in their gym.

I'm available to hire... reasonable day rate..

 Holdtickler 04 Aug 2022
In reply to mods: Thanks for seeing my point!

2
 rockcatch 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

I used to climb at the Beacon every week (up to about 5 years ago) and would climb topless when it was hot. Others would also do the same. The wall never had any problem with it, although my friends seemed to prefer it if I kept my top on. I definitely don’t count as ripped. I also happily walk around the streets at home topless when it’s hot and carry something to put on when I reach the pub. I’ve not notice anyone having a problem with it. 
 

P.S. Oliver I just happened to look at your profile picture, and it could be that you are only wearing climbing shoes with the angle the photo is taken at. I image the staff may have something to say about that 😜

1
In reply to oliver_tippett:

I have spent a little time thinking about this and noticed the social media posts from the wall. I suspect a publicity stunt.

5
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Naaah it's not a climbing wall that's so last season, all the cool kids call it a "climbing gym". Not sure if that's Americanism coming over  just changing word use, but it's pretty established now.

Personally, I insist on calling it a climbing wall at all times to be curmudgeonly 

1
In reply to CantClimbTom:

I suspect climbing gyms have become last season too on they are now family fun palaces.

Remember folks,paedos climb shirtless.

Next month's ban will be on grunts swears and power screams.

Lockdown drove us all into our garages, spare rooms and cellars. Moves such as this will do the same.

19
 Forest Dump 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Put it away innit, it's not the beach or pool.

For everyone talking about it's just our natural body, yes yes. One we've evolved to cover over n+1 years

You're that bothered by performance? Wear a fearherlight vest and running shorts

You want to make a statement about modern mores and body positivity? Join British Naturism

18
 Ramblin dave 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

> You might well get some smaller walls that genuinely are about experienced climbers training and don't offer instructed sessions or allow kids in, and they may well allow it, of course.  A bit like the way that if you pop your shirt off in a Pure Gym or a Bannatyne's it's not going to be more than seconds before you're asked to put it back on or leave, but if you're in one of those backstreet "iron pumping" gyms full of blokes on steroids it's probably perfectly well accepted.

I kind-of like the idea of someone running a nice, big, airy modern climbing wall with thick mats and dedicated kids climbing areas and single-origin soy lattes in the cafe and the whole shebang, but with an unmarked door at the side of one of the bouldering areas that lets you down a flight of bare concrete stairs to The Power Dungeon, where the air's barely breathable from chalk dust, the walls are just acres of finger-shredding crimps, the metalcore soundtrack just about drowns out the power-screams and taking your top of isn't just permitted, it's mandatory.

In reply to Forest Dump:

> For everyone talking about it's just our natural body, yes yes. One we've evolved to cover over n+1 years

I think you'll find it is cultural rather than genetic.

In reply to oliver_tippett:

If I were younger and in better shape, I’d very much prefer the choice to climb topless.  I overheat easily and the vests I do wear, only help a little.

I’m more concerned about people walking underneath me while I climb, hogging the wall, leaving bottles and brush sticks on the matting and so on.  

1
 abarro81 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

It's climbing, not golf, screw those rules. Vote with your feet and go somewhere else (the hanger in Sheffield has a similar rule apparently, so I'll never be going there on principle)... or, if they let women just wear sports bras, try some fetching nipple tassels

6
 LastBoyScout 04 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Personally, I wouldn't dream of going shirt-less at a climbing wall.

Mainly out of respect for everyone else, who may not want to see me shirt-less, but other reasons include not sweating on the holds or other equipment and not scraping myself on the holds if I slip*.

* yes, I occasionally scrape knuckles, knees and ankles, but that's climbing for you.

14
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> I kind-of like the idea of someone running a nice, big, airy modern climbing wall with thick mats and dedicated kids climbing areas and single-origin soy lattes in the cafe and the whole shebang, but with an unmarked door at the side of one of the bouldering areas that lets you down a flight of bare concrete stairs to The Power Dungeon, where the air's barely breathable from chalk dust, the walls are just acres of finger-shredding crimps, the metalcore soundtrack just about drowns out the power-screams and taking your top of isn't just permitted, it's mandatory.

That is quite a cool idea, and sort of reminds me of Redpoint Birmingham's "bouldering dungeon"

 pec 04 Aug 2022
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Are you allowed to take it off and swing it around your head whilst running around the room if you get to the top of a boulder problem or route?


No, its a yellow card offence for an "excessive celebration".

https://inews.co.uk/sport/football/yellow-card-taking-shirt-off-footballers-rules-explained-chloe-kelly-celebration-1772383

> In reply to anyone

All this talk of societal norms makes me wonder, why is that you can't wear shorts in a French swimming pool? They seem to have a Speedos only rule.

I was particularly miffed to discover this after I'd actually gone and bought a pair of shorts in Chamonix to go to the pool only to be told I couln't wear them. I had to hire, yes hire, a pair of budgie smugglers!

I was also told off by the female attendant in the male changing room for washing my nads in the shower. What is it with these people?

Post edited at 22:42
In reply to abarro81:

> .. or, if they let women just wear sports bras, try some fetching nipple tassels

This is the way forward,how long before ark-hag-gonia jump on the band wagon and start selling techno fabric genre specific nipple tassels.

The boulder tass, the repoint tass,the trad tass and the ever popular fu westway tass. Only 49.99 per pair, get them while they're hot.

4
In reply to pec:

I don't want to wear the budgie smugglers someone else has hired.  That's like sharing underwear.  Ugh.

That rule is allegedly for hygiene reasons, though I have never fully understood it.  Perhaps to stop you swimming in a pair of shorts you've worn elsewhere first and got mucky?

A related quirk is caps being mandatory by law in Italian public pools.  They used to be required in a now-closed old school pool we used when I was a teenager, allegedly because the filtering system was rubbish and tended to fail if hair got in it, but it is odd to have it as a general rule.

Post edited at 22:59
In reply to Holdtickler:

> Are there any ladies who feel constrained and long to climb topless?

Many years ago now, climbing in Pembroke, a friend burnt her nipple on a hot abseil device, abing into Stackpole Head. There are disadvantages to climbing (or abseiling) topless.

 Iamgregp 04 Aug 2022
In reply to pec:

> All this talk of societal norms makes me wonder, why is that you can't wear shorts in a French swimming pool? They seem to have a Speedos only rule.

> I was particularly miffed to discover this after I'd actually gone and bought a pair of shorts in Chamonix to go to the pool only to be told I couln't wear them. I had to hire, yes hire, a pair of budgie smugglers!

Yeah that’s a weird rule isn’t it? Never understood what the reason for it is?!

 C Witter 04 Aug 2022
In reply to MischaHY:

Nailed it.

2
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> And anyway...... your climbing wall has aircon!?!?!?!

Lucky, because none of mine do! Things are slightly better since the Nottingham Depot finally fitter fans in the massive intake vents their building has, but aircon it ain't.

In reply to LastBoyScout:

> Mainly out of respect for everyone else, who may not want to see me shirt-less, but other reasons include not sweating on the holds or other equipment and not scraping myself on the holds if I slip*.

I’ve not got particularly strong opinions either way on this topic, but this rationale I find a bit bizarre.

Not sweating on holds: I can’t imagine what someone’s climbing technique must look like for them to be worried about greasing up holds with their nipples. Besides, the holds are already sweaty from hundreds of hands. If anything, your chest is probably more hygienic since you don’t go round touching everything with it - might help dilute the faeces left behind by all those people who don’t wash their hands after the loo!

Scraping yourself: I can understand the thinking behind this a little bit better . But a t-shirt offers minimal  protection really so you’ll know if you are regularly hitting your chest on holds when you fall because you’ll be covered in scratches and bruises regardless and your shirts will be full of holes.

But if you are scratching your chest up regularly when you fall then perhaps it’s worth practicing how you fall off in a safer and more controlled way. If you’re regularly sliding down holds with your chest that sounds quite dangerous. In that sort of fall I’d be worried about the risk of hitting your face on holds as well as more serious injuries. Maybe I’ve misunderstood your concern, but (sorry if this is super patronising) keep in mind where you would want to land when bouldering and then, as you start to fall, look at the spot you want to hit and push off slightly in that direction. With a bit of practice you can control your falls pretty well in most cases.

Edit: obviously given the context of this thread I’m assuming you’re talking about indoor climbing specifically. Many a gritstone chimney and offwidth warrants a shirt if you hope to finish with your nipples in the same place you left them.

Post edited at 09:30
In reply to oliver_tippett:

What is the usual approach in other gyms in the UK, similar rules there?

And what is the approach internationally? Imagine gyms in the US enforce this rule?

 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

I think it's good that a significant proportion of walls have this policy. It's simply more inclusive and protecting what too often amounts to liberal rights to pose in a public wall whilst putting off people struggling with body image issues, kids groups, ethnic minorities and the religious, seems a bit odd to me (and yes too many of those people are put off swimming as well). I do understand that a minority of climbers do really struggle in hot humid conditions but a shirt really doesn't make that much difference for most of us and it's hardly like there is a shortage of alternative venues that allow shirts off.

Anyway, for some light relief I've borrowed this fun regular post from the US climbing forums, lampooning sexist peacocks:

'How to “Look Strong” while Climbing Indoors: A Four Step Guide To Success

Is your level of climbing not quite up to expectations? Feeling down and insignificant due to your inability to crush? If you have been desperately searching for a few quick, easy ways to step up your climbing game, then look no further! This simple guide will make you look and feel like the strong climber you have always dreamed to be. The ladies will be swooning over your every step, eagerly waiting for the chance to say hello as you confidently stroll on by to the next boulder problem…

Step 1: Essential Outfitting
1. Go to the nearest REI or EMS to purchase a brand new pair of Prana pants. This will give you a dashing Chris Sharma look. Fold the bottom pant legs over ever-so-slightly because that is what Chris does.
2. Buy a colorful chalk bag, but be sure to have at least one Metolius brush in the side pocket. Sophistication is essential.
3. Don’t bother purchasing a T-Shirt, they only inhibit your ability to show off the guns. Showing off the guns while climbing is a must.
4. Do not take your shirt off until you have developed a slight sweat. A moist, wet body will make you look more defined.
5. If you're feeling overly rambunctious, buy a Beanie. Any good climber knows that Beanie’s make you climb harder than a gosh darn steel monkey.

Now your ready to hit the gym harder than ever before! Make sure your hair is slightly disheveled upon entering. This will give you the rugged, hardened look of a true outdoor climber as opposed to the quintessential gym rat. Abstaining from shaving also helps achieve such an appearance.

Step 2: Pre-Session Rituals
1. After quickly flashing your membership card at check in, throw your North Face backpack down on the gym floor with some authority to show everyone that you mean business. Remember, climbing is not about having fun, it’s about climbing hard.
2. Proceed with an utterly ridiculous stretching routine. I’m talking about stretches that would scare the pants off a yoga instructor. This will intimidate other fellow climbers and entice the ladies to join in. Perfect.
3. Find the rings and do some pull-ups with a very serious face. Lets face it, serious is just plain sexy. Take Zoolander's Magnum pose for instance. Untouchable.
4. Tape up all your fingers with as much tape as possible. This just says, “Bad-ass”.
5. Lots of pre-climbing push ups will not only warm you up, but will also pump up your chest so that when it comes time to take the shirt off, you will be primed and ready to go. Once again... you must remember that its all for the female foxes of the climbing world.
6. When warming up on the actual wall, remember to keep your sneakers on. Hard climbers do not wear rock climbing shoes on easy problems. Please.

Now don't get too antsy just yet! You are almost there young Jedi, but first you must learn the ways of the climber discourse.

Step 3: Hip Lingo
1. When others are climbing shout things like, “Stay tight!” and “Breath dude!” or my personal favorite, “Solid man! So solid!”. Try to be as genuine as possible in these remarks even if you couldn't possibly care less.
2. Make sure to spray as much “beta” as possible. This means telling as many people as possible how you climbed a certain problem. You can say things like, “Oh, I used a toe hook there, but that’s just they way I did it. I haven’t seen anyone else do it that way.”
3. It is crucial not to tell the boulderer exactly how you completed the problem, but be confident in your explanation so that it sounds like you truly wish to help. Being ambiguous will make it harder for a repeat.
4. While resting in between problems, tell others about past road trips and particularly difficult sends. The stories and sends can be entirely fabricated. The only limit is your imagination!

You have now reached bonnified stud-muffin status. Time to crush…

Step 4: Fundamental Rules of Crushing
1. Be sure to intermittently grunt and growl while climbing to make the problem look harder than it really is.
2. Whenever possible, preview certain problems the night before a training session. When you come in with your partners, pretend as though you have never seen the problems before, asking questions like "Damn, who put this monster up?" and "I guess I'll give it a try." Meanwhile, you should have each sequence dialed and ready to fire. Fake onsighting is a clear indication of a seasoned climber.
3. After grabbing the finishing jug, do a pull-up accompanied by a small grunt before dropping to the ground. This will surely get the babes to turn their heads your way. Remember, it's all about the babes.
4. Use as many figure 4's as possible. The more unnecessary the figure 4, the better. In fact, make sure your technique is as obnoxious and absurd as possible. Useless heal hooks work perfect in this respect. Basically, just climb like a Frenchman.
5. Once you are back on the ground nonchalantly tell everyone who was watching that “It was super easy. Definitely soft for the grade.” This will make you look cooler than the far side of the moon.
6. If you fall, you can blame it on a number of different things: shoes, chalk in the eye, the spotter, greasy holds, Dave Wetmore, or even a bee sting.
7. Do a double-dyno. This will make your babe's heart stop for a moment.
8. But do not fall. Strong climbers don’t do such things.
9. If you do happen to commit this sin, remember to say, "I'll get it next time." You are allowed to use this phrase indefinately. You can also say, "I did this problem last night when you weren't here. Seriously."

Now you have what it takes to truly be a strong indoor climber! And if you are daring enough, you may even be able to apply these principles to the foreign world of outdoor climbing, a mysterious and ominous place that could be potentially fun and challenging.

Who climbs outside anyway?

Keep on crushing!"

Post edited at 10:30
16
 kevin stephens 05 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

If it’s so warm and/or humid that I’m tempted to take my shirt off then it’s too warm/humid to train effectively so I stay away.

Those arguing that the answer to allowing topless indoor climbers is to change to whole of public perception may be suffering from an excess of self entitlement?

10
 abarro81 05 Aug 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> If it’s so warm and/or humid that I’m tempted to take my shirt off then it’s too warm/humid to train effectively so I stay away.

There are three options here: you're trolling; you're very averse to taking your top off; or you're an idiot who knows next to nothing about training. I assume it's the middle one, but am open to being wrong on that. 

I think a lot of the anger about policies like this is from those who - like me - view the wall as an extension to the crag (albeit with the odd modification like having toilets and a sound system). Those who view walls as a thing in their own right, or as an extension to a leisure centre, obviously come at things from a quite different starting point. 

Post edited at 10:53
10
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to MischaHY:

>Climbing, like all performance sport, has environmental factors which limit performance. One of the major limiting factors is skin elasticity on a given day which is defined predominantly by sweat levels, subcutaneous blood circulation and heart rate.

I agree and some people cope much better than others, but occasionally performing in hot humid conditions is a reality of the top international comps where people wear a top.

>With this in mind, core temperature has a relevant effect on performance and the opportunity to expose more sweaty skin presents the chance to drop core temp significantly (damp skin cools ~20-25x faster than dry/unexposed skin) and this is our primary evolved cooling mechanism 'evaporative cooling'. Clothing hinders this significantly which means possible performance on a given day drops. This usually gets laughed off with 'well then you'll have to get stronger'.

I think you are misrepresenting science here. A thin wicking top will cause greater evaporation albeit at the expense of running a bit hotter. If you are so hot you are dripping sweat everywhere you lose the cooling effect of that sweat. I'd lay strong odds that shirtless is only marginally better than the best designed passive athletic clothing for hot conditions and some more expensive active clothing can actually cool you down....I might have expected some more climbers who really struggle with heat to have invested in the lighter versions of these (and they will only get better and cheaper over time).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooling_vest

>Clearly this is ridiculous - you'd never ask a swimmer to wear clothes in a swimming pool and then get stronger to compensate against the drag. 

This is plain wrong: the best scientific designed body suits are banned as they make you go faster in the pool.

Post edited at 10:54
12
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

How about some links on that Alex?... might not some training when you need your top off for heat control reasons have more risk of skin damage?  I know from your passion on the subject you are not trolling or being an idiot and you certainly  know a lot about training but that doesn't mean its fair to attack Kevin in that way and its helpful to everyone to give information on what training is OK and what isn't in hot conditions indoors. I certainly wouldn't be advising dynamic slaps to very rough holds when hot.

9
 climbingpixie 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Mike Stretford:

The same could be said about those arguing to ban topless climbing. Maybe they should focus on influencing global climate policy instead of worrying about children being traumatised by the sight of a man's nipple!! 😀

And no, sadly my wall doesn't have aircon. I might keep my top on if it did! The new Depot in Armley does, I think, but that's full of modern compy style problems (and the sort of people who like them) so I'm avoiding it.

 kevin stephens 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

> There are three options here: you're trolling; you're very averse to taking your top off; or you're an idiot who knows next to nothing about training. I assume it's the middle one, but am open to being wrong on that. 

What an strange response?

My (clearly ignorance based) indoor training is mainly on circuit boards ( eg Sheffield Depot) to support the sort of climbing I enjoy most. In hot and humid conditions reduced friction and increased skin damage is an impediment to me.

However I would welcome being corrected by a leading training guru such as yourself.

I’m very relaxed about taking my shirt (indeed everything) off when appropriate. This was the norm at the much missed Broughton Wall where the surface and holds had better friction and there was no prospect of any of the users being intimidated or offended.

2
 abarro81 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

What do you want links to? You can just look up a few videos or photos on most strong climbers insta in the summer and you'll see plenty of tops-off training, and guess what, it's effective and making these people stronger and/or fitter. If you're going to never train when it's hot/humid then either you live a very strange part of the world or you're throwing a lot of improvement out the window by being lazy. Sure, we'd all love it to be 15 degrees and low humidity every day (though I'd still take my top off for power endurance probably), but it's not. Yes, you might need to choose different holds, or modify the grade, get up early, or take a thermos full of ice to the wall... or take your top off... but you can train effectively in heat/humidity far above the point most people will want to take their top off. I trained on my fingerboard at 7am the first of the two v hot days recently, and had a useful session, but I sure didn't want a t-shirt on! 

Kevin - it's not really strange, those were the only three explanations I could think of for what you wrote. Yes, of course training when it's hot/humid is less fun, more painful, and likely to be slightly less productive, but "if it’s so warm and/or humid that I’m tempted to take my shirt off then it’s too warm/humid to train effectively" is total bollocks. My recommendation - take your top off, take some ice to the wall, tailor what you do on the hottest days, but mostly just suck it up and quit kidding yourself that it's too hot (unless it's 35C or something, in which case it's really freakin' hot unless you're a Spaniard). 

Post edited at 11:33
3
 Mike Stretford 05 Aug 2022
In reply to climbingpixie:

> The same could be said about those arguing to ban topless climbing. Maybe they should focus on influencing global climate policy instead of worrying about children being traumatised by the sight of a man's nipple!! 😀

If anyone is campaigning for an outright ban on topless climbing that would be equally strange. As it is it's up to the venue, and I'm firmly of the opinion this is a pays your money and take your choice thing rather than a humans right issue.

> And no, sadly my wall doesn't have aircon. I might keep my top on if it did! The new Depot in Armley does, I think, but that's full of modern compy style problems (and the sort of people who like them) so I'm avoiding it.

It's probs just good ventilation in light of the pandemic. I would avoid a wall with active cooling on the basis that it's an appalling waste of energy. I'd imagine the walls would want to now on the basis of bills.

Honestly, I have more sympathy with women on this, as some kind of tightish top is required. I'd assume that's hotter than my lightweight vest, which I hardly notice. It's these assertions that there's a real difference to be gained in terms of training I find far fetched... I'm sure we'd hear more from other sports if this was the case. I mean, wouldn't there be a market for gyms that allowed it if so? Maybe there is?

There's seems to be some crossover with general opinions on walls/nostalgia  in this discussion. As you've probs gathered I really don't care if there's kids and people who don't climb outside at the wall. I've massively benefited from a new wall with good facilities. I'm with you on the parkour, but that's just one section of mine. I love the wooden circuit boards with LEDs on!

Post edited at 12:00
 kevin stephens 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

Or more simply schedule my training for when conditions are more favourable and productive for me. In my mid 60s my recovery times are longer and working times flexible which facilitates this.

In reply to oliver_tippett:

Is this development driven by the instructor community after being harangued by over protective parents?

Could it be coming to a crag near you soon?

Climbers on Brown Slabs are advised to wear shirts to avoid upsetting Oliver and Hermione's mum. Please observe this rule or Rufty McTufty will suffer a load of earache again.

3
In reply to oliver_tippett:

A few posters have commented that there might be a religious element to this.
I find that a bit strange, as I assume that those religions would also be against women wearing such things as sports bras, etc.

2
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

Ah I see ... the peer pressure argument

If no one looks at this properly how do we know the aversion of some the highest performing climbers to a state of the art technical top is not significantly down to psychology? I worked alongside sports scientists so I know it's possible to measure physiological differences as temperature  and humidity change for different clothing.

7
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to FactorXXX:

Only wearing a sports bra as a top is banned in many walls internationally.

9
 Enty 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Holdtickler:

> Just out of interest then. What would happen if a woman decided she wanted to climb topless you think? Are there rules preventing it and how likely are they to be enforced?

> How did society reach this level of nipple inequality? 

When I climbed at Owen's River Gorge many years ago there was a woman climbing topless every day. She'd also squat for a pee right in front of us too

E

1
 abarro81 05 Aug 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

Yeah, that sounds great. Though if you can go the whole summer finding conditions every few days where you're not even tempted to take your shirt off while exercising, then I can only assume that you're very averse to taking your top off. Or perhaps nocturnal and owning a portable air con unit. Even with full flexibility, you're likely to end up training on days in the mid-20s, which in most walls, even at 8am, means most people are likely to at least be temped to take their top off, especially for endurance/pe training.. unless they're particularly averse to it. And none of it means that "if it’s so warm and/or humid that I’m tempted to take my shirt off then it’s too warm/humid to train effectively" isn't bollocks.

2
In reply to Offwidth:

> Only wearing a sports bra as a top is banned in many walls internationally.

How about the UK in general and more specifically the wall in question?
Also, what is the reason behind those international bans?
Religion?
Or something else?

Post edited at 11:54
 Ramblin dave 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

> I think a lot of the anger about policies like this is from those who - like me - view the wall as an extension to the crag (albeit with the odd modification like having toilets and a sound system). 

Surely the biggest modification is that an indoor wall has bills and rent and staff to pay and holds and mats to replace and all that sort of stuff? Personally I don't mind what people do with their shirts (and tbh I find all the arguments about hygiene / odour a bit weird), but if the people whose business it is and whose livelihoods are on the line decide that they need to go with a shirts-on policy and a "family friendly" atmosphere in order to be viable then it seems a bit entitled for me to have a huff because that doesn't fit with how I "view the wall"?

1
 abarro81 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

I didn't say you have to take your top off to climb hard, I said that to claim you can't train effectively at temp/humidity where you'd be tempted to take your top off is bollocks... unless you're unusually averse to taking your top off. I.e. at 25C most people would be tempted to take their top off, especially to do pumpy stuff, and it's perfectly possible to train effectively at 25C.

I also don't really care if any "performance" aspect is psychological - so is a 10m runout at the top of a big route... and like I said, it's climbing, not golf or tennis.

 abarro81 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Yeah, they can do what they want, it's their wall. But in response I'll do what I want, i.e. not go there and go somewhere with an atmosphere that better fits my preferences. That's no more "having a huff" than anyone currently not going because tops off creates an atmosphere they don't like. 

1
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

There are very practical reasons why a top is often a good idea outside:  from skin cancer risks (suncream seems to get everywhere and you don't want it getting on your hands when climbing) to reducing risk of insect bites or spiky or stinging vegetation. However, your point is really just distracting whataboutery.

12
 abarro81 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

Going climbing with you sounds like going climbing with a boring aunt! 

7
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

I think we need a range of wall types for different groups of people. If topless bans for all walls were being proposed I would be completely against that.

On the hygene and smell point: at closing times at the end of a long session, when everyone takes shoes off together, I ponder how nice it would be to see some walls experiment with active encouraging thin sock use in climbing shoes.

12
 kevin stephens 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

You seem to be in a bad mood this morning? I’m guessing the crux of this argument is constitutes “excessive” temperature and humidity? Most of the summer i’m happy with conditions, when most climbers closer to your grade than mine also seemed to be training effectively with shirts or vests on. I was only referring to the recent exceptional weather .

Also it was clear in my post that I was referring to MY experience and preferences.

Its good that knowledgeable folk like yourself contribute to these sorts of debates but referring to posters as idiots doesn’t help to make them constructive

Post edited at 12:11
2
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

>Going climbing with you sounds like going climbing with a boring aunt! 

It's sad to see such childish ad hom, from you again....especially as I have nothing against walls who allow topless climbing. I just see some positive benefits for a wider user group from the walls that do.

17
 wbo2 05 Aug 2022
In reply to climbingpixie:

> I'm well aware of that. I just think it's a shame that what used to be the core focus for indoor walls - providing training facilities for the climbing community - has been subsumed by the increasing commercialisation of the sector. 

Has it really - I don't think there's been a better time for climbing walls.  Despite the rose tinted spectacles, if I look back most walls were a bit rubbish really.  And as far as training, doesn't your's have a campus board, Kilter or Moon board etc.  Facilities nowadays are pretty darn good thanks to the extra popularity.

Personally, I rarely if ever go tops off as I don't have any power anyway. Plus I need somewhere to wipe the sweat.  I'm not too fussy what other people do, except camouflage combat trousers.

In reply to Offwidth:

> I ponder how nice it would be to see some walls experiment with active encouraging thin sock use in climbing shoes.

I think topless bans are a bit silly but I can live with them. Trying to enforce sock use though really would impact people like trying to enforce chalk ball use and, as such, would be unenforceable.

In reply to Offwidth:

Or a logical progression of the restrictions.

Another progression would be 2 classes of wall,a gym/clip and climb/toy wall for the kids and sensitive and another for the Climbers.

Maybe my suggestion about the nipple tassels isn't too far off the mark. Cut down wall vests or man bras could sell well. That's my IP, if you want in,you have to buy in.

4
In reply to climbingpixie:

> ......that's full of modern compy style problems (and the sort of people who like them) so I'm avoiding it.

Yes, that trend is a far bigger threat to effective indoor training than any of the petty rules at walls which need working round.

 abarro81 05 Aug 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> You seem to be in a bad mood this morning?

I am. 

> Most of the summer i’m happy with conditions, when most climbers closer to your grade than mine also seemed to be training effectively with shirts or vests on.

Clearly we train at very different walls. Not my experience at the school or foundry, where there's a lot of tops off through the summer (and rest of the year). Also I never said you couldn't train effectively with a shirt on even if it's hot. It's just less fun. Same as how you can train effectively when it's hot, it's just less fun.

> Also it was clear in my post that I was referring to MY experience and preferences.

It wasn't clear. Seems like what you think you wrote and what I think you wrote are different. Unless you only get tempted to take your top off above about 30C - which would mean being pretty damn averse to taking a top off - then I'm happy to stand by my view that what you wrote ("If it’s so warm and/or humid that I’m tempted to take my shirt off then it’s too warm/humid to train effectively") was a dumb thing to write. Sounds like you meant something a bit different, e.g. "If it’s so warm and/or humid that I’m tempted to take my shirt off then I prefer not to train" which is fair enough and wouldn't have prompted a response from me.

Offwidth - my comment was in response to your "There are very practical reasons why a top is often a good idea outside" comment, which made you sound like a fuddy-duddy aunt telling off a child (in a way wholly unlikely to convince them of anything). It wasn't in response to anything you'd said about tops off indoors. 

Post edited at 12:27
2
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

Encouragement isnt a ban and in any case it was just whimsical distracting imagination in the face of some horrendous pong.

I couldn’t see any difference when I started wearing thin socks but was never performing well enough for it to matter (up to UK 6b slab stuff before my bunions impacted that skill) the main reason I did it was the smell was awful and the slime inside the shoe was disgusting and washing the things regularly in the washing machine reduced the life of the shoe and I could wear the same shoes indoors and out (always wore socks outside to keep my feet and ankles warmer in winter and midges off in summer).

4
 john arran 05 Aug 2022
In reply to oliver_tippett:

There's a lot of reasoned justification going on in this thread, on both sides. But I'm not convinced much of it is anything other than trying to support our root emotional preference or response, either way.

When it gets hot, it feels better - physically - not to have a shirt on. I think that's undeniable, whether we're exercising or not, but clearly exercise exacerbates the heat issue.

The only reason therefore to keep a shirt on in such circumstances is an emotional aversion to shirtlessness, or respect for a perceived or supposed emotional aversion to shirtlessness on the part of others. This makes sense in our society because we have and respect dress codes in many other work and social environments.

But climbing traditionally has never had such a dress code. It was always normal for climbers to get changed at the base of the crag, and this carried over to the foot of indoor walls when such things became popular. Tops off was always entirely normal in both environments whenever it became warm enough for it to feel more comfortable without one.

What's happened in recent decades is that climbing has progressively become more mainstream, people now often spend more time at walls than at crags, and the previously entirely normal behaviour and expectations they would have picked up from other climbers have increasingly started to become imported from other indoor activities.

Most other indoor activities have dress codes, partly to make sure teams are in different colours, partly to help identify/number competitors, but also because the wider society has, for some reason, ended up with an opinion that shirtlessness is inappropriate in any indoor environment (swimming pools excepted).

There is no great justification for this, it's just something western society has evolved to be a norm. But because it's a widespread norm elsewhere, many people expect it also to be the norm at climbing walls and some will feel uncomfortable at walls as a result.

There then follows a whole heap of rationalising - on both sides - about sweat transfer, performance impediment, hygiene, etc. to try to post-hoc justify either feeling better climbing without a top on, or feeling awkward around those without tops on. Some of these justifications will have merit, but I believe all of them are of little significance compared to our emotional desire to do what feels right in a given situation and circumstance.

The question really is: Are climbing walls still an extension of the crag environment, and therefore to broadly follow the behavioural norms to be found there; or are they now indistinguishable from other indoor sports environments, and therefore to be expected to follow those behavioural norms?

Ultimately, I can see the crag-extension argument progressively losing more and more ground but, having been brought up with that norm (and having felt the absurdity of massively overheating on treadmills in hotels with shirts-on policies and no air conditioning), I think the world of climbing should not be in a hurry to hasten the change.

 dunc56 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Offwidth:TLDR

In reply to john arran:

I think it is also partly a matter of what you are used to. I don't climb topless and so it just feels odd and offputting somehow if I do. I wear a vest if it is hot and feel fine. No doubt for some people who routinely take their tops off it is just part of their "trying hard" ritual and I think that should be fine. I absolutely hate climbing in trousers - it just feels wrong. I always wear either shorts or leggings.

 plyometrics 05 Aug 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> I’m very relaxed about taking my shirt (indeed everything) off when appropriate. This was the norm at the much missed Broughton Wall...

Absolutely, only thing I ever wore on my top half was my weight belt. Happy days!

Post edited at 13:02
In reply to oliver_tippett:

99% of my gym usage is shirts on, but my gym has no aircon or anything and I like to go to the gym all year around since there's no real climbing within 150 miles of me. 

I really appreciate that 1% of the time I can take my shirt off though. It's absolutely miserable with a shirt on, in a metal warehouse, in the height of summer. 

If gyms want a 'no topless climbing' rule, they can invest in aircon. 

2
 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

A good balanced post John. I would say your shirtless outdoor climbing norm is just as much an athletic subset as it is indoors.  I've never seen a topless bumbly climbing outdoors for instance (I'm sure a few must exist on easy continental sport routes) and it's rare to see a topless obese climbers indoors.

7
In reply to oliver_tippett:

(i) if other gym users (parents/kids/religious groups) have genuinely complained about people climbing topless; and (ii) if those groups would genuinely feel more comfortable in the gym and use the facility more if users kept their tops on, would people feel more comfortable supporting the new policy?

Westway claim they have feedback of this nature, I'm personally inclined to believe them, and so if keeping my top on is the price for getting more people from different backgrounds into the sport I'm personally happy to go along with it.

I'd openly admit that I'm a top on kind of person through personal choice, but that I don't think taking tops off is a big deal. I have sympathy for the view that there are injustices that burn more brightly than topless people in gyms and that there comes a point where if you live in a shared city you need to get on with life a bit and not be bothered by others.

Worth adding: Westway doesn't have a "bro" problem afaik, it seems reasonably family friendly to me. Less climber-y than the Castle as well so perhaps slightly less intimidating if you are not part of "the tribe".

1
 john arran 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

You may be right, although I'd be amazed if there weren't plenty of people with tops off at Stanage Popular on busy summer days, albeit more when belaying that when climbing. But your repeated focus on (and perceived dismissiveness of) athleticism in climbing continues to seem very odd.

 Offwidth 05 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

One of the reasons I really appreciate climbing is we can have some people engaging in sublime athletic performance and other people just enjoying movement. I've been with some of the best in Britain making great ascents and I got a forum member here to cleanly second an outdoor route. Both were incredibly satisfying to witness and I'd rather we celebrate both.

Another difference between outdoors and indoors is you get more varied venue choice outdoors... groups with different skills and game preferences tend to prefer different venues when it's hot, with different average dress codes.

I loved the sun when young but being older and having more peers with skin cancer does make me think more on the risks of sunbathing. My US aunt gave me this link to help ( ):

https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/#:~:text=More%20than%20419%2C000%20cases%20of,cell%20carcinomas%20and%206%2C200%20melanomas.

Post edited at 13:35
3
 climbingpixie 05 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

Perfectly summed up!

In reply to Robert Durran:

> Trying to enforce sock use though really would impact people like trying to enforce chalk ball use and, as such, would be unenforceable.

A certain particularly humid wall in a certain very well off university town in the south of England where it is the only facility available has banned having a chalkbag on while leading and will actively shout people down while they are busy clipping the rather high first bolt. I had no words.

 Brown 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Eduardo2010:

Its interesting that we are invited to welcome restrictions on one groups freedom to avoid offending others.

Should the Westway ban headscarf's to avoid offending the white nationalist contingent. I've always found racist gammons to be a significantly under represented group in climbing who would presumably find the Westaway more welcoming if this was undertaken thus increasing diversity.

7
 nufkin 05 Aug 2022

As someone who seems to be particularly prone to sweating, I find climbing topless (and exercising generally) much more preferable. A shirt just feels hotter, and more to the point is binding and constrictive when wet. 

I got told off by one of the staff at the Westway some years ago for going topless in the gym (the actual gym), which seemed silly when folk were - at the time - free to be topless mere metres away in the climbing wall, and over in the swimming pool. I think he was objecting on inclusivity grounds, and I reluctantly wore a vest thereafter, but privately stewed and wondered if there was some sort of medical exemption I could claim.

I understand people may feel intimidated, but I think that’s generally inferred rather than intended - certainly I have no desire to make others feel uncomfortable. It does seem tricky to weigh my personal comfort against the discomfort that might cause in others

In reply to Brown:

There are loads of old white people at westway! Go during the day, I was amazed (and impressed) by the age of some of the climbers.

Your argument is of course correct that there are many situations in which people could feel offended and demand corresponding changes. But it is so correct that it could apply to almost any debate that involve personal preferences. The calculation necessarily becomes a weighing of the costs vs benefits. My argument is maybe that the costs are low and the benefits real? Whereas in your example (given to make the point obviously) maybe the cost/benefit analysis is less favourable as it does seem less reasonable? 

1
 Mike Stretford 05 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

> The question really is: Are climbing walls still an extension of the crag environment, and therefore to broadly follow the behavioural norms to be found there; or are they now indistinguishable from other indoor sports environments, and therefore to be expected to follow those behavioural norms?

I don't think they ever have been an extension of the crag, but it is a peculiarity of climbing that some have viewed them that way. They are a facility somebody has invested in and one which requires maintenance, heating ect. Some wall operators do get pee'd off with the 'crag extension' attitude and I don't blame them.

I agree with the general jist of your post, this is really about climbing culture. But then climbing is the activity that brought the world the full length jeans, beanie and topless look.... I wouldn't seriously try to suggest to non-climbers that that look is anything other than what it is!

3
 john arran 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> I don't think they ever have been an extension of the crag, but it is a peculiarity of climbing that some have viewed them that way.

Yes of course they've never been in any way an actual extension of the crag (although Ratho may have given cause to doubt that!) My point is that it was normal, (indeed, according to my memory of the 70s, without exception), to treat going to the wall in the same way as you would treat going to a crag. Of course there were some unavoidable differences, such as paying for entry, not pissing in the bushes nearby and, at the time, not leading. But to a great extent the crag and the wall were alternative venues for the same people with the same behavioural expectations. It isn't simply that "some have viewed them that way" but that, at the time, virtually everybody viewed them that way.

 Brown 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Eduardo2010:

I think you are making value judgements about peoples sensitivities and the genuine nature of complaints.

Everything involving the intersection of morality, religion and psychology is fraught with challenge and you seem to be saying that letting one group/s impose their moral codes or psychological hang-ups upon society is acceptable as you see the benefits outweighing the negatives.

Psychologically vulnerable individuals are no longer intimidated by near naked men and can therefore participate, parents don't complain about little Jimmy being exposed to the sight of bare flesh thus subsidising climbing for the training subsect and the religiously prurient have imposed their will on society allowing them to dominate yet more space giving them a warm feeling.

The costs of this can be multiple, people have their body shame issues reinforced with the message that only perfect bodies should be viewed in public and an average punter at the wall must stay covered up, children only get to see naked people on pornhub further undermining their sense of body positivity and the religious type is emboldened by winning the battle of the chest at the westway and will go on to attempt to ban contraception.

These cost to me sound significant.

Post edited at 15:30
4
In reply to Brown:

Yes, I think you have understood my view precisely! All I’d add is that I think we have to make lots of concessions to others, sometimes on topics/practices where we don’t share morals/values. I think this is why it’s an interesting topic and one you could argue either way.

I didn’t agree with your final points but interesting contributions nonetheless.

 Iamgregp 05 Aug 2022
In reply to the thread:

Nobody seems to have referred to the results of the above poll...

Given there's more support for banning shirts off than for not banning it, and, based on my non scientific observations, more people climb with a shirt on than off, does it not seem a fair and reasonable step to ask people to wear a shirt?  Seems to be a majority view?

Seems odd that we would maintain a situation because of a minority's views...

(and yes, I know that the Don't cares and No votes outnumber the yes, but more people either voted against Brexit  or didn't vote at all that the oft quoted 17 million who did, and unfortunately for us, that's how referendums work!)

8
In reply to Brown:

> people have their body shame issues reinforced with the message that only perfect bodies should be viewed in public and an average punter at the wall must stay covered up

Not sure how this message could be sent by a blanket rule that all bodies at the wall, regardless of perceived perfection, need to stay covered up.

> children only get to see naked people on pornhub further undermining their sense of body positivity

I'm not sure the blokes I typically see baring their chest at indoor walls are the best examples of benign body positivity.

> the religious type is emboldened by winning the battle of the chest at the westway and will go on to attempt to ban contraception

Is this actually significantly driven by the concerns of the religious? The only people I've ever heard speaking disapprovingly of topless climbers are non-religious (and broadly pretty body positive) people who just think it typically comes across as a cocky and intimidating power play. Then again, I hardly know any religious people, so I probably wouldn't have heard if they had concerns. Most major religious communities generally seem more concerned with policing the bodies of women than men.

1
 Brown 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Luke90:

If you consider how society is accepting of calvin klein advertising showing a idealised version of bodies but not of real people in the flesh you can see how people get a misguided idea of what normal is. Once people are exposed to nothing more than air brushed (photoshopped) models on TV and in the media is it not surprising they see their own body as failing to live up to these unachievable standards. 

Rather than helping those lacking in body positivity feel good, this banning of average blokes like me from showing off their decidable average frames, just results in the perfection of visible bodies going up thus creating a vicious circle.

2
 deepsoup 05 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

> There's a lot of reasoned justification going on in this thread, on both sides. But I'm not convinced much of it is anything other than trying to support our root emotional preference or response, either way.

> When it gets hot, it feels better - physically - not to have a shirt on. I think that's undeniable,

Couldn't agree more with your first paragraph, but I think it's entirely deniable and I deny it. 

Obviously I wouldn't dream of trying to deny that it feels better to you but it doesn't to me, so it seems that it's a somewhat personal and subjective thing.

In reply to deepsoup:

Taking a different tack on this,I explored my actions and thinking on shirt off climbing.

Outdoors, I do so because I like the feeling of the sun on my skin. I do it because it is cooling and I tend to run hot. I do it because my body functions better when it is cooler. I have frequently walked in to winter climbs shirtless finding it more comfortable when marching a heavy pack uphill.

Indoors, I climb shirtless because I run hot, I perform better when cooler, I sweat like a choirboy caught alone in the vestry. In general our walls have poor airflow and this leads to a humid atmosphere which I find debilitating. Fresh air is a rarity in a facility designed to maximise climbing space,it is inadvertently a series of baffles impeding airflow.

I tend to climb shirtless and belay shirted, it helps me keep count of the route I have done. Shirt inside out,odd number, right way round, even number.

3
 pec 05 Aug 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> I’m very relaxed about taking my shirt (indeed everything) off when appropriate. This was the norm at the much missed Broughton Wall  . . .

My memory of Broughton was that you could rarely take your duvet off let alone your T shirt, people were cracking open flasks of hot tea between problems! Though I suppose I only went in the winter

Post edited at 18:53
 plyometrics 05 Aug 2022
In reply to pec:

Ha! Yes, it did get cold. Although, tops off at Broughton during the winter was still very much a thing.

Indeed, the numerous references correlating body temperature and topless climbing are clearly genuine, but it’s important to accept that many people do it because it makes them feel good from a vanity point of view, myself very much included. Just not sure many people would be brash enough to admit it.

It was rife in the eighties, nineties and early naughties when many people training at the wall we’re in good shape, particularly as you had to be in order to get much out of places like Bolton, Broughton, Blackburn and Eldon etc.

We didn’t mind showing our shred off. It was vaguely gladiatorial (enter Perfect Mick stage left) and definitely improved the psyche.

Personally, I’m all for it, but understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and how some may find it uncomfortable for various reasons.

Actually think this has been a good thread that’s sparked some interesting discussion.

Post edited at 19:47
In reply to pec:

> My memory of Broughton was that you could rarely take your duvet off let alone your T shirt, people were cracking open flasks of hot tea between problems! Though I suppose I only went in the winter

That sounds like Ratho outside the brief one month or so summer season.

 john arran 05 Aug 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

> Couldn't agree more with your first paragraph, but I think it's entirely deniable and I deny it. 

> Obviously I wouldn't dream of trying to deny that it feels better to you but it doesn't to me, so it seems that it's a somewhat personal and subjective thing.

Note that I inserted the word "physically" in the middle: "it feels better - physically - not to have a shirt on."

I can appreciate that some people may rarely if ever have been in a position to appreciate this, as it's rare that we're in a situation where we genuinely have no regard for how we may look in the eyes of others. But imagine being alone, sweating in the shade on a deserted island; who seriously would not want to ditch the t-shirt when the temps get stifling?

2
 kevin stephens 05 Aug 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

I’d happily trade all the current Sheffield walls for a resurrected Broughton, it did a lot more for my climbing grade than any number of coloured blobs.

1
 UKB Shark 05 Aug 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

Broughton was a good wall for its time but you are just making excuses for not applying yourself. The facilities available to you aren’t just blobs.

Post edited at 22:09
 UKB Shark 05 Aug 2022
In reply to abarro81:

> Yes, you might need to choose different holds, or modify the grade, get up early, or take a thermos full of ice to the wall... 

I may regret asking this but what exactly are you doing with the ice? 

 mondite 05 Aug 2022
In reply to UKB Shark:

> I may regret asking this but what exactly are you doing with the ice? 

Dropping it down the back of t-shirts of course!

Encourages everyone to go topless.

I am curious about what the arch wall policy is in their new Canada water wall since that can have innocent passerbys seeing the sort of physiques normally reserved only for Greek gods (admittedly including Dionysus).

 deepsoup 05 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

Jeez i dunno, that almost seems a little bit patronising.  I am self-conscious a lot of the time to be sure, but not so much so that I'm worried about how I look to others when there's nobody else around.

> But imagine being alone, sweating in the shade on a deserted island; who seriously would not want to ditch the t-shirt when the temps get stifling?

We're taking about climbing aren't we? For that, and most other activities I find it more comfortable - physically - to keep the shirt on. I don't much like the sensation of slippery skin to skin contact between hot sweaty arms and hot sweaty torso, nor of beads of sweat running down my skin (let alone yer actual rivulets), it's distracting.

I'd be more likely to climb with my shirt off outdoors when it's cooler. I like the feel of the sun and the breeze on my skin when I'm not sweaty.

If you don't believe me that's ok. Subjective innit.

For running I also wear my shirt for protection from the sun, and I wear a cap because otherwise the sweat running into my eyes gets very sore. If it's hot I'll scoop cool water out of a stream with my cap when I can and pour it over my shoulders and down my back before putting the wet cap back on and carrying on. It's refreshing and more cooling than running topless. I've been thinking I might try sewing a bit of microfibre cloth or something into the cap so it'll hold a little more water for longer.

I'm not advocating a wet shirt for the climbing wall, but if there's a supply of cool fresh water and a breeze on your deserted island it might well be cooler than sweltering away with the top off. So in answer to your question above - me!
I'll take the shirt off long enough to give it a quick rinse in cool fresh water and then I'll put it back on ta.

2
 deepsoup 05 Aug 2022
In reply to thread:

I saw a young man in an actual crop-top at the wall the other week. Home made (modified) I assume, it was a t-shirt (with sleeves) cut off and nearly hemmed at about sternum height.

Nipples covered, abs out and proud. Very bold fashion choice I thought, there's confidence!

 john arran 05 Aug 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

No patronising intended, I assure you. I just am struggling to relate to wanting to keep a shirt on when it's horribly sweaty. Some of your examples give good options in some circumstances that I hadn't thought of, which gives pause for thought, so thank you for that. But I'm still struggling with the generality.

One suggestion you did make though, albeit later dismissed, is that of wearing a wet t-shirt. I can see that as being a very effective way to stay relatively cool, and since it's only water I can't really believe there's any serious downside. Could there really be a significant problem if the matting gets a bit wet after a fall? And for a leading wall I can't see any potential downside at all.

In reply to oliver_tippett:

There is an argument spurious or valid (I'll leave that to the hoardes) that a sweaty sticky back landing on mats leaves more of a mark afterwards than the same person in say a running t shirt. Unlike a weights gym, there aren't (that I've seen anyway) antiseptic wipe dispensers dotted about to wipe down afterwards. Wearing a shirt is suggested to be a hygiene benefit.

I'm sure that'll divide opinions

Post edited at 09:27
4
 abarro81 06 Aug 2022
In reply to UKB Shark:

> I may regret asking this but what exactly are you doing with the ice? 

Haha, don't worry, nothing weird! if it's really hot I just sometimes take an ice cube and hold it on my forehead or rub it on my forearms to help cool down a bit when resting. Helps me cool down a bit. You can buy ice vests too - more effective and covers you in water less - but Ive never tried them

In reply to CantClimbTom:

> There is an argument spurious or valid (I'll leave that to the hoardes) that a sweaty sticky back landing on mats leaves more of a mark afterwards than the same person in say a running t shirt. Unlike a weights gym, there aren't (that I've seen anyway) antiseptic wipe dispensers dotted about to wipe down afterwards. Wearing a shirt is suggested to be a hygiene benefit.

Isn't sweat sterile?
Also, are you supposed to change your top if it gets damp enough to transfer the sweat to the surface it touches?

5
 kevin stephens 06 Aug 2022
In reply to UKB Shark:

> Broughton was a good wall for its time but you are just making excuses for not applying yourself. The facilities available to you aren’t just blobs.

Fair comment. Actually I am applying myself a lot, but primarily to activities other than climbing at the moment; partly deepsoup’s fault  With impending retirement I should soon have more time to get climbing fit again and be able to pose topless with confidence.

Post edited at 09:46
In reply to oliver_tippett:

Haven't read the whole thread but to me it seems a matter of context.

Should we encourage people to climb all year round and wander around the wall topless all the time? I don't care personally but I'd probably judge you. I also appreciate it could be intimidating for some.

Should we ban people taking off their tops in a gym with no AC while training circuits in 35 degree heat with a fan pointing at them? Absolutely not! That's just mad.

The UK seems to me to be more aligned with the relatively prudish US view rather than the body celebratory Euro view despite the gyms being more aligned with Euro than the US (lacking AC).

Post edited at 14:34
1
 deepsoup 06 Aug 2022
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Isn't sweat sterile?

What an odd thing to say, of course it isn't. 

But even if it were, most people don't want to come into contact with other people's bodily fluids, so it's only polite to do what you can to keep it out of their way.

I'm not sure where all the incredibly sweaty climbers who've been mentioned so much in this thread are going though, because I hardly ever seem to see them at the walls I go to.  (With or without their shirts on.)

I do sometimes take a change of t-shirt to the wall incidentally.  Not for climbing, but it's the only place I have access to a barbell so I'll sometimes head down early to do a few deadlifts etc., (which really does get sweaty for me when it's hot).  So when I've started to cool off a bit afterwards I'll change into a dry shirt and have a drink and a little break whilst waiting for climbing buddies to arrive.

In reply to deepsoup:

> What an odd thing to say, of course it isn't. 

Really, thought it was.
From Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eccrine_sweat_gland


In reply to deepsoup:

> I'm not sure where all the incredibly sweaty climbers who've been mentioned so much in this thread are going though, because I hardly ever seem to see them at the walls I go to.  (With or without their shirts on.)

I overheat easily, sweat for England and often end up soaked through when bouldering indoors.  I can think of another friend who suffers similarly.  However most of my mates would be sweat free and happy in a normal t-shirt.  A couple of friends will often be wearing a merino long sleeve base layer, with a t-shirt over the top, in the same session.  My point is that we are all different.

2
 deepsoup 07 Aug 2022
In reply to afx22:

> My point is that we are all different.

I agree, and was saying much the same to John up-thread a little way.  It's a bell curve though innit, and you're up towards the pointy end.

The point I think I'm making is that whether or not you prefer to climb with your shirt off (and whether or not you're offended by the sight of someone else climbing with their shirt off) is cultural.

People mostly just like it the way they like it because they do - most of the stuff above about sweatiness, overheating, hygiene, blah, blah, blah is just post-hoc rationalisation of an already entrenched position.  This is a classic case of one of those things that humans do - arbitrarily choose a position first, write the back-story later.

 john arran 07 Aug 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

Couldn't agree more, except for having chosen a position "arbitrarily". Such opinions are formed from influences, often ones we aren't even aware of, such as cultural norms, peer behaviour, media and advertising. If we feel a need to rationalise these positions or behaviours, we try to do so using post-hoc logic, and we tend to prioritise the arguments that support our pre-held views over those that don't.

I think we can all come up with at least one recent example of a strongly held opinion that many people insist is a logical stance and not the more likely influence of repeated media messaging!

1
 Petrafied 07 Aug 2022
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Really, thought it was.

At the moment it comes out of your body it might be.  As soon as it has emerged it isn't, and rapidly becomes less so as time progresses.  Isn't urine sterile?  You want someone weeing on you?  On second thoughts, don't answer that....

 deepsoup 07 Aug 2022
In reply to john arran:

> Couldn't agree more, except for having chosen a position "arbitrarily".

Fair - that wasn't quite the right word to use.

In reply to Petrafied:

> At the moment it comes out of your body it might be.  As soon as it has emerged it isn't, and rapidly becomes less so as time progresses.  Isn't urine sterile?  You want someone weeing on you?  On second thoughts, don't answer that....

To all those worried about traces of sweat and urine: don't lick the mats or the holds; problem solved.

1
 Cobra_Head 07 Aug 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> To all those worried about traces of sweat and urine: don't lick the mats or the holds; problem solved.

And don't climb outside, there's much worse stuff out there!!

 Iamgregp 07 Aug 2022
In reply to Petrafied:

It’s worth noting that sterile isn’t doesn’t mean “safe”.  Something can be sterile (free of bacteria) but can still be harmful - such as being poisonous, corrosive, have big a very high or low pH etc…

Not that any of this applies to sweat of course!

1
In reply to oliver_tippett:

 A few years back I remember a Yorkshire Wad at Almscliif coming across a bunch of lads all shirts off.

"Eh up lads, shooting a porno?"

All the shirts went back on  

 Mike Stretford 08 Aug 2022
In reply to plyometrics:

> Indeed, the numerous references correlating body temperature and topless climbing are clearly genuine, but it’s important to accept that many people do it because it makes them feel good from a vanity point of view, myself very much included. Just not sure many people would be brash enough to admit it.

> It was rife in the eighties, nineties and early naughties when many people training at the wall we’re in good shape, particularly as you had to be in order to get much out of places like Bolton, Broughton, Blackburn and Eldon etc.

> We didn’t mind showing our shred off. It was vaguely gladiatorial (enter Perfect Mick stage left) and definitely improved the psyche.

> Personally, I’m all for it, but understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and how some may find it uncomfortable for various reasons.

That's refreshingly honest. Most of us are vain to a certain extent (including me).

I would ask people to consider what a modern wall would feel like if all the blokes had their top off. There's going to be differences but I must say my local would seem pretty odd ( to seasoned climbers and non-climbing visitors). At the same time (an even though I clicked 'don't care' above as a sentiment), I really wouldn't like my wall to bring in more rules, I suspect the owners wouldn't want to, and I'd bet the house the staff would hate to go round telling people to put tops on.

So all in all I'd say it's best if people were flexible about this. It's great we can mostly do what gym users can't, but we are still part of this society so maybe bear that in mind and 'read the room'.

Post edited at 11:56
1
 plyometrics 08 Aug 2022
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Couldn’t agree more, which is why I no longer take my top off at the wall; not because I don’t want to, but am mindful of how it may impact on others’ enjoyment of their session.

That said, more than happy anyone else choosing to go shirtless. 

Interesting topic. I just wish someone would confirm what on earth 'no toplessness' means for women.

I regularly climb in a sports bra and would find having to climb in two layers FAR too hot. I'm just sweaty. Like others have said, I do rather like the pleasant side effect of knowing I am doing my bit for normalising the ClimberTum. But whether that counts as topless, I have never known. 

I actually once saw a member of staff doing an induction, telling the group it was tops on - until he opened the door so the whole group were faced with me sat there in sports bra and rather awkwardly backtracked, 'apart from women'.

Fwiw I definitely used to be intimidated by all the muscle bros topless, especially when climbing alone. We do really need to kill the machismo environment. Hopefully that's a bit more nuanced than the question of their shirts, but I'm undecided. Can't we just have on-site water pistols to take out anyone acting like a bro for more than two climbs...? 

Post edited at 07:34
1
 Holdtickler 09 Aug 2022
In reply to Queen of the Traverse:

Could you define what you mean by "acting like a bro" or the "machismo environment" without referring to people's clothing choices? 

4
 deepsoup 09 Aug 2022
In reply to Holdtickler:

I know what she means, and I think you do too.

2
 montyjohn 09 Aug 2022
In reply to Queen of the Traverse:

> Fwiw I definitely used to be intimidated by all the muscle bros topless, especially when climbing alone.

I think a lot of it is down to personal perception. We're all guilty of it. Also, climbers don't do themselves any favours.

I fully accept this is my issue, but as a teenager, I remember when walking down a british high streets in the summer, the second the sun was out, all the chavs (all blokes) would take their t-shirts off. And it was always the chaviest (is that a word?) guys from school that would do it. And it wouldn't be necessarily that it was too hot for a t-shirt. 

So I've got it drilled into me that chavs go topless when it's hot. I'm sure it's not true in the climbing scene, but perceptions take a long time to change.

Post edited at 09:17
 Holdtickler 09 Aug 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

No I genuinely don't, which is why I asked. I think it is important that we unpick the difference between people who are passively offending others Vs those who are actively doing it. What people are (or are not) wearing is a completely separate issue from how they are behaving. Any rules and the justification for them also needs to separate the two.

edit - typo

Post edited at 09:30
1

New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Thread auto-archived as it is too large
Loading Notifications...