Saturday Morning - Draper Red Rock

Well, speaking of gumbies...

DW and I got up early, Ann is watching the kids starting at 7 AM, and we're going to the Draper Red Rock.

We got there by 7:30 and heard voices. Loud voices. Up on the left side there seemed to be a rope and at least two guys. We went up anyway, figuring we'd stay to the right. There we discovered some really macho almost-climbers (with a crapload of gear, some new, some old, and some just freaking dang eclectic, like it was willed to them by some dead uncle - almost wanted to look in the seams for the bloodstains...).

The two almost-climbers were winching some poor total-gumby up the 5.8 to the left, and he was totally flailing. Like seriously - like his hands and feet were hitting each other on each flap - like a newborn penguin or something. I'm not being rude. Seriously. I have no other way to describe it. Sorry dudes.

So we went around the corner, and I led the 5.6 (well, it has a few 5.6 moves, but it's more like 5.5 or less in most places). Then DW went up it, and cleaned the draws, leaving the anchor loops at the top.

One of the gumby gang had to go (IMHO the one with the best moves), and the remaining experienced one gave the newbie a 30-second how-to "using a grigri" (ominous, since the BRD was like a homemade prototype of a semi-automatic belay device). Then he led the 5.9 between the 5.10's and the 5.11.

I started the next 5.6 in line, and it felt dang tough at the start getting to the 2nd draw (which is so typical), so I bailed and moved over one route. It got to me as well, and amid jokes of "this ain't no 5.6" I managed to find the line and finish it. At the top I traversed over to the 5.6 on the right to clean the top anchors, then put them on this route so DW could toprope it. (Later, on MP, I looked these up and consensus is that they're 5.7 - I'm not so sure - because if you always choose the easiest sequence of moves, no matter how far you go off the bolt line, it seems 5.6ish, but if you get "offroute" at all, it can get up to 5.9 moves real quick)

About this time they (the gumby gang) managed to get the poor newbie on the 5.9 that had just been led, and DW and I were sitting on the benches relaxing when suddenly the newbie fell. I didn't really "see" it, just sortof watched it. His head missed the boulder at the mouth of the cave by about 3" or so when he flipped upside down after about a 8' fall. No helmet either. He obviously had no idea how to get upright, so I asked the belayer (okay, told) to lower the climber into my arms, and I helped him get upright. Then I told them to continue lowering, which they objected to, but did anyway.

At the bottom, I told the poor climber that he had his harness on wrong, and that he had a loop out (between the belayer and the climber very poor communication and safe-climbing ethic, but the "experienced" belayer should have known better) with his leg in it, that sent him backwards when he went, and the 3' loop extended to 8' with stretch - poor poor poor form.

Well, they put a helmet on the climber, but did not fix the harness (I didn't think to check the knot) and he went back up. The climber asked his belayer buddy why he had fallen, and they totally blew us off when we answered. Enough was enough. I have finally experienced the phenomenon that the gymrat employees at Momentum talked about - knowing enough to know better than the others there, and feeling slightly like you have to instruct them, but they blow you off, and you don't want to be there when they die or worse.

The belayer was uncomfortable being around us and they packed and left. Thank you!

About then some more experienced climbers came up, with a couple of trainees in tow (semi-official guides I guess). We talked some about the gumby gang, and I set a rope on the 5.9 for DW to toprope, and rappelled down it, with about 2' to spare at the bottom. That makes the 5.9 about 60' (using a short rope on the short cliff).

She spent some time working it, and then we packed and left when a school group arrived. The teacher in charge was wearing a HERA shirt, but didn't seem too talkative. My instincts detected "I'm over my head and don't feel comfortable talking to experienced-looking climbers" and I was glad to be leaving.

Lest anyone think I'm being a jerk here, let me be the first to point out that I know the limits of my experience, and I've always felt fine about mentorship, taking suggestions and lessons from the more experienced, and I've taken professional classes with professional IMGA/AMGA guides whenever I felt the need to fill a void in my knowledge base. The problem seems to be people that are full of themselves or have an ego (or id?) issue and don't know how to just be honest and admit it when they screw up, and need to present a different face from reality for the sake of public appearance or whatever the case may be.

Please, don't take someone out their first day and make them do a 5.8/5.9 as their first route ever. If they are like super-athletic and coordinated and all maybe, but holy snot, it's pretty obvious when they're flailing and you're winching and they're never going to learn anything that way. Let them work it out on a nice short 5.6 and go from there. If they can't do the 5.6 without hanging on the rope, go back and do it till they can. Step by step. And if you don't know a handful of ways to rescue them, then please do yourself and them a favor and don't be responsible for them.

Just my .02 FWIW.