On a recent climbing trip, I was belaying a girl I didn’t really know on top rope
(a girl “friend” of a friend of mine).
She was super nice and friendly on the ground but transformed into a screaming, thrashing animal as she repeatedly struggled, flailed and fell at the crux.
“KEEP ME TIGHT!!! TTIIGGHHTTT!!! ARRGG!! ”
I’m not one to judge though: I have been known to yell while climbing too.
Like, REALLY yell.
And unfortunately, my belayer too has ended up in the direct path of it.
Looking back, I’ll admit that usually * the yelling was undeserved. Although, at the time, I
a) thought it was deserved or
b) didn’t realize I was doing it until it was too late.
So, Id like to use this post as an apology:
To my Belayer Friend, Im sorry I yelled at you that time.
I don’t think you are a F**KING MOTHERF**KER (or whatever else I called you).
I feel bad and kinda embarrassed that I called you that.
(I also don’t want you to GO F**K yourself. Im not even sure how that is possible…)
And, although I’m sure you already know, I wanted to share some of the reasons why I was yelling. Or screaming-Adam-Ondra-styles at the wall. Or why I stormed away and vowed I would never climb again:
1. I was frustrated.
The move was too big. The hold was too small. I was totally gassed. The clip was in a stupid spot. I hit my knee really hard. The sun was too bright. The rock was too sharp. I was wearing the wrong shoes. The ice was too hard. The crack was too big. The crack was too small. I was running out of time. I just couldn’t stick it. I was so close. Rope drag!
2. I was scared.
There was no pro. I was super run out. My last piece was bad. I was going to swing. There was a ledge. There was a tree. I was going to hit the ground. I was pumping out. I was so exposed. (Or at least it felt that way….)
3. I was upset about something else totally unrelated
4. #1, 2 and/or 3 plus one (or more) of the following:
- I was cold
- I was hot/sunburnt
- I was hungry
- I was dehydrated
- I was hung over
- I was tired
So, to that girl “friend” of a friend of mine who yelled at me, I want to let you know that I understand. I get it. I’ve been there–It’s not me, it’s you.
And I’m not mad…It actually inspired me to write a blog post!
(I think that means in the internet world we are friends. Or do you need to upvote me on reddit? I dont really get the internet…)
BUT, just like me, you are going to have to learn how to deal with your climbing rage. Sometimes while climbing you are going to get frustrated. or scared. or upset. or hurt.
or drop a piece of gear. or hit a rock with your ice tool. or pull a hold off the wall. or grab something gross-fuzzy-and/or-slimy inside and/or instead of a climbing hold.
But these are not good reasons to yell at anyone, scream at the rock, or throw your chalk bag on the ground and swear to give up climbing altogether.
Take a breath. Relax.
Love and cherish your belayer
And Love and cherish your time on the rock
*Not always…even if it’s an easy climb you shouldn’t be smoking and texting while belaying me!
Suffering from…..CLIMBING RAGE!