People-watching at the climbing gym

People are interesting creatures.  They’re even more interesting when they’re climbing.  If you’re top-roping or lead climbing, you need a climbing partner to belay you.  Auto-belays only make good partners early in the morning before all the kids arrive to occupy them, haha!  Climbers who climb together a lot tend to have their own communication systems set up.  They all follow the same basic pattern that we’re taught for safety and clarity, but there are interesting little variations all over the place.  It’s fun to see what they are, whether they end up being annoying or an improvement over your own in the end.  There are the married couples who climb together, some of whom call each other “Babe” at the beginning and end of every utterance.  I find that this gets old in a hurry when you’re surrounded by three couples doing it at the same time…  After all, who knows whose “Babe” is talking to which “Babe” that’s belaying, climbing, or hanging at the end of a rope somewhere???  I don’t get it.  My husband and I are not a “Babe” couple, so that’s probably why I don’t understand that one.  Then there are the pairs of climbing partners who are great friends and encouragers.  I enjoy hearing these people communicate with one another as much as I enjoy watching them celebrate each others’ sends and perk each other up when the send doesn’t happen for some reason.  There is a firm level of respect between these people and they are serious about each others’ happiness while climbing.  This is the type of relationship that I have with my climbing partners, and it’s so refreshing to know that, no matter what happens, they’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs, safety-wise and sanity-wise.  If I get around a show-off, I tend to move away from them.  If they’re showing off, then there’s an element of unpredictable risk and danger that comes with that, neither of which I want anything to do with.  There is calculated risk, and then there is show-off risk.  They’re opposites, trust me…  Well-meaning beginners should always observe and get a hands-on walk-through of technique, skill, and planning from an experienced climber before attempting something new.  I’m thankful for the many people at my climbing gym and my climbing partners for showing me how to progress safely and giving me sage advice – their wisdom has saved me many times!!!  Make sure that, if you have questions about an observation you’ve made while in the climbing gym or at the crag, you ask someone whom you trust about it before you try it, especially if it seems sketchy in any way.  Asking never hurts!!!  And so I continue my study of people through observation and interaction during this journey we call life…  Make it fun!!!

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