To keep in touch or not to keep in touch

Sometimes you run into people with whom you become friends and it works out great for life. Others, though, don’t end up working out so well for one reason or another. This is true in all walks of life, including climbing. They might want to keep in touch. So, the question is…to keep in touch or not to keep in touch? I’ve met some amazing people that I definitely keep in touch with. I’ve also met some people who make me want to change my phone number and e-mail, delete my social media accounts, and even duck off the radar completely. There are some reasons why these are not people that I want to keep in touch with. I want to elaborate on these points. First, if you’re dangerous or careless in climbing or belaying, but especially belaying, you’re not going to find me returning or answering your requests to keep in touch. Every time you belay me, you hold my life in your hands, and vice-versa. Take it seriously. Period. A second reason I wouldn’t return your calls is if you steal or abuse my gear. I take excellent care of my gear. For one thing, it’s expensive, and for another, it’s just as important to have good, working gear as it is a good belayer. It’s a safety issue, and should be taken seriously. Now accidents happen, and gear gets worn out when used properly. I get that. No problem. Be respectful of my gear, though. Don’t be careless with it on purpose or mistreat it. And if I catch you stealing my gear, I will prosecute. Gear gets mixed up, and I understand. Just give it back. If my whole kit goes missing, though, along with my crag pack, you’re in so much trouble — the cops are the least of your worries! Now, this brings me to tech, as in cameras and such. Don’t dismantle my camera, then give it back to me missing critical pieces that make it impossible to use! You’re going to buy it from me if you do that! So, unless you have between $300 and $1000, don’t ruin my tech! One more major reason I would intentionally fail to keep in touch is if you don’t respect the environment and the crag. Leave No Trace is an important principle to me, as are ethics, especially in climbing. We have enough trouble securing access to great places to climb. Don’t ever lower the level of nature to your own skill level by chipping, modifying, or manufacturing holds. If you can’t climb the problem or route, then train hard and get better at climbing so that you can climb it. Don’t mess that rock up for the rest of us! If you can’t help us gain and preserve access through better stewardship of the land, then stay home and don’t expect me to answer your calls or texts. I mean it. Everyone has to have high ethical standards or none of us can climb.

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