Friday, May 4, 2007

My rant on rallying climbing partners

Sometimes it seems like pulling teeth trying to get climbing partners together these days. I started climbing in Austin, TX where the climbing community is exceptional and have yet to find a similar scene. In Austin you can be 90% certain that if you went out to one of the local crags that you would have no trouble finding someone to climb with…even if you didn’t know them.

When I moved from Austin to NYC a couple years ago I realized it was going to be nearly impossible to find people to climb with. We were within an hour and a half from one of the world’s most spectacular crags, The Gunks. I posted notes at climbing gyms, left messages on forums for climbing partners…nothing. It seemed no one wanted to take a chance with someone they didn’t know. I even got so desperate I offered to pay a guide to belay me on some routes…with my high rent at the time I ultimately couldn’t afford it. Luckily, an old climbing friend from Austin, Bill Pierson, ended up moving to the area and I gained a climbing partner and trad climbing mentor for the entire season. But, in NYC it almost made sense that it would be a struggle. There aren’t many climbers living in the “Big City” and if they were, they were likely busy like everyone else trying to afford their rent.

A year later I moved out to LA…surprisingly enough, finding consistent partners has been my crux. I have a couple friends that climb, but our schedules often do not match. I have tried heading out to the crag solo and received mixed results. Most people don’t seem to be open to sharing their rope with strangers, but I did end up lucking out once or twice. It’s still surprising. LA has a huge population and a ton of climbing, but you rarely run into the same climbers…making it hard to meet consistent partners.

This weekend I ended up posting a “climbing partner needed” add on and a local Myspace climbing group. I am excited to say, I will be roping up this weekend. Luckily, a few climbers saw my plea and were in a similar predicament. Maybe I can get the Austin-style unspoken agreement to meet and share ropes every weekend to spread in LA…

1 comment:

Jen said...

Climbing is very different for the both of us. I enjoy going to the beautiful destinations any day of the week, and will climb if I feel up for it. For you it is much different- I know you love it, crave it, and need it! I do, however, see the differences in the climbing communities between here and Austin. It's quite substantial.. I parallel those behaviors with other situations in LA. Take neighborhoods, for example. Never have I seen such unwilling neighbors. It is the way of this city, I suppose. At least for us outsiders. How to put a finger on it?
I wish you luck with your new climbing partner. And who knows, you could begin to change the scene, possibly via online community.