Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bouldering Code of Conduct and Etiquette

In case you've been living in a cave for the last decade, you've noticed that bouldering has become more and more popular. Unfortunately, more people means more crowds at bouldering areas. More crowds means getting on other peoples nerves.

So I've decided to write up a few simple rules, ethics and guidelines that we should all follow. Not only will this improve and maintain our sport and culture, I believe that it will keep it from turning into something incredibly lame. Like inline skating.

This list will be updated from time to time and we welcome any suggestions.


Although spotting is a necessity and responsibility in the bouldering world, improper spotting techniques can create annoying, and thus, dangerous situations. Therefore;

a) No spotter shall offer or express Beta for any boulder problem that they themselves have not climbed. At no time shall a spotter offer or express Beta while another is climbing, unless specifically asked for by the climber.
b) No spotter may use the French word “Allez” when speaking to another climber while they are climbing, unless the spotter is a native French speaker addressing another native French speaker.
c) No spotter may use the word, or any variation of the word “brother” when speaking to another climber while they are climbing (examples; broheem, brutha, bro, brah).
d) No spotter or climber may use any combination of these words or phrases (example: “Allez, Brah. Hit that crimp.”) at any time. Failure to due so shall be punishable by castration and/or fratricide, bro.

Tick-marks that indicate the location of holds on a boulder problem can be beneficial to one’s successful ascent, but excessive tick-markery can potentially reduce the overall aesthetic of one’s ascent. Therefore;

a) No foothold with a total area greater than one-half inch square shall be tick-marked. No handhold with a total area greater than one-inch square shall be tick-marked. The exception to this rule is if the handhold/foot hold is obscured from the climber’s perspective of sight (arĂȘtes, bulges, roofs).
b) At no time shall any tick-mark exceed one-half square inch in total size, length and width combined.
c) If said tick-marks are for the benefit of a climber from Colorado, the tick-marks shall be no less than two feet (twenty-four inches) long and two inches wide. Evidently, Colorado people can’t climb unless the ticks are fucking huge.

Although Slacklining is not specifically within the realm of the boulderer’s code of conduct and etiquette, excessive participation in Slacklining may be grounds for your removal from the climbing community. Therefore;

a) A Slackline may only be erected with the written consent of a two-thirds majority of the climbers in the campground, parking lot or other communal area.
b) If your total cumulative time spent Slacklining is greater than your total cumulative time spent climbing, you are not a climber. You are a tool.

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