A way to build a respectful community of climbers!
Climbing gyms are one of the best places to meet new people, challenge your body, and have an amazing workout. The rules of conduct and behaviour in climbing gyms are based on mutual respect, kindness, and sharing the space with others. In this blog post, I will guide you through the basic principles of climbing gym etiquette and point out the dos and don'ts of navigating the bouldering gym environment.
1. Beta Spraying: One of the most common violations of climbing gym etiquette is "beta spraying". Beta is information about the climb, it can be a sequence of moves, a foothold, or a handhold. Some climbers may feel inclined to shout instructions or offer unsolicited advice to other climbers who are working on a problem. While this may be well-intentioned, it can also be distracting, annoying, and even disrespectful to the climber who is trying to figure out their own way up the wall. The best approach is to ask if the climber needs help or advice, and wait for their response before offering any suggestions.
2. Brushing Holds: Climbing is a physical and technical sport, and the condition of the holds plays a vital role in the difficulty and safety of the climb. That's why it's important to take care of the holds, by using a brush to clean them from dirt, chalk dust, and sweat. However, it's important to be mindful of other climbers and not hog the brush or spend too much time cleaning one hold. Everyone has a limited time to climb, and we should all respect each other's right to use the gym.
3. Taking Turns: If someone is already on the wall, wait until they have finished their climb before making your attempt. If there are many people waiting in line for a climb, be respectful of their time and don't hog the wall for too long. It's also common to ask others if they want to share a problem, especially if it's a traverse or a long climb that requires more than one person to spot or help.
4. Sharing the Space: Gym etiquette is not just about climbing the walls, but also about using the common areas of the gym. Be aware of others who are warming up, stretching, or resting on the mats or benches. Don't walk or run in front of them, and avoid stepping or jumping on their stuff. Keep your gear and belongings in a designated area, and don't occupy more space than you need. If you see someone struggling with a problem or a hold, offer to spot them or help them move a mat.
5. Respecting Fellow Climbers: Ultimately, the most important rule of climbing gym etiquette is to respect your fellow climbers. We are all here to have fun, learn, and improve our skills. We all have different goals, abilities, and experiences. That's why it's important to be kind, patient, and supportive of each other. Celebrate other climbers' achievements, whether they are a V0 or a V10, and offer encouragement if they fall or struggle. Don't judge or criticise others, and don't create a toxic or exclusive atmosphere in the gym.
Climbing gym etiquette is not just a set of rules, but a way of building a community of climbers who respect and appreciate each other's company. By following the basic principles of climbing gym etiquette - beta spraying, brushing holds, taking turns, sharing the space, and respecting fellow climbers - we can create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels safe, motivated, and inspired. So next time you step into a bouldering gym, remember these tips, be mindful of others, and have fun! Happy climbing!