The golden rules of climbing and alpinism

  • Inspired by our friends who ride bikes, this is a living document : the Rules of Climbing and Alpinism.

    1. Obey the rules.
    2. Lead by example.
    3. When a new member of the tribe doesn’t know the Rules, help him out. And don’t be a jerk about it.
    4. It’s all about climbing- It is, absolutely, without question, about climbing. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously not a climber.
    5. Harden the f--k up.
    6. Free your mind and your body will follow. This is not a hippy-dippy garbage. Your mind is your worst enemy. Fear should be your guide, but never a master. 
    7. Tape gloves are for climbing cracks only. Leather gloves are for belaying only.
    8. Chalk bags are to be kept on thin cord or webbing. At no time can they be attached to a carabiner of any kind.
    9. If you are climbing in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.  Fair-weather climbing is a luxury and should be taken advantage of at a moment’s notice. Those who climb in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of climbers. This is a climber who loves the work.
    10. It never gets easier; the rating changes.
    11. Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.
    12. The correct number of cams to own is N+1.
    13. Helmet : No gaper gaps. It has to be level and sit no higher than 1” above the brow.
    14. Make an effort to fit gear inside the pack. There are three exceptions: helmets, Ice tools & Ropes. Helmets can be stored externally in a dedicated helmet carrying device. Ropes can be slung over the top of the pack, under the hood, but rope ends must never hang below the bottom of the pack. Ice tools have their dedicated place.
    15. Learn to hand jam.
    16. Climbing shoes are to be removed when not climbing. They are not worn in/on approach trails, parking lots, bathrooms, or standing around a campfire. 
    17. Learn to attach an alpine runner to your harness, with one hand, while gripped. Don’t let that shit hang down.
    18. Always protect for the second on a traverse.
    19. Don’t short your leader. They are doing the hard work, they don’t want to think about you.
    20. A Grigri is not dummy proof. Use your g-dd-mn break hand.
    21. Münter hitches are for Germans only.
    22. At the crag: Dogs and Children must know the Rules, be well behaved and crag friendly. Nobody likes excessive barking, crying, screaming, running while they are trying to send. Those not suited for the crag will be left at home. There is no such thing as a crag cat, parrot, ferret, hedgehog or iguana.
    23. Talk about doing shit < Doing shit (source: Semi-rad)
    24. Climbing is an equal opportunity ass kicking. Do not under estimate women, the elderly, children, or the disabled. Anyone might kick your ass on the route, so show some respect. 
    25. Keep your shirt on. We know why you are taking your shirt off, and it is similar buying a sports car or truck with very large tires.  It is never the correct temperature to wear a beanie AND go shirtless. That temperature does not exist.
    26. Yes, falling is scary. See Rule #5.
    27. Pack out your garbage. Egg shells, cigarette butts, toilet paper. All of it. No exceptions. Ziploc bags are made for this.
    28. Don’t scream, even on your project. If you want to shout, go take drama lesson or go to a choir. Two exceptions : you’re Chris Sharma or Adam Ondra.
    29. Choose your gear and clothing for its utility, not to match with your wardrobe. Climbing is not fashion show.
    30. Excuses are to be prepared ahead of time, and they are understood to be bogus. "The temps aren't good", "I trained too hard yesterday", "I didn't have my lombucha this morning".
    31. Bivouaquing in the cold and storm during days, being hit by ice flutes, missing oxygen in high altitude, freezing, is cool. You’re here to suffer. Summits are to be earned.
    32. The only style is alpine. Everything else is hiking.
    33. Sneakers are for sidewalks, not summits nor glaciers.
    34. Search & Rescue is expensive and a pain-in-the-neck for everyone. If you call for it, you better need it.
    35. Know your gear and use it properly.
    36. Climb the old and forgotten routes, just for the fun of having your butt kicked.
    37. No crampons holes in pants.
    38. Gaiters are like knickers : to be displayed on old huts walls, next to wooden skis. Nowhere else, especially not on you.
    39. Chamonix is pronounced with a silent « x ». Not like Arc’Teryx.
    40. Avalanches are not fun. Don’t look for them. Under any circumstances. The mountain will still be there next time you’ll come to climb or ski it.
    41. In alpine environment, sunblock and sun glasses are not an option.
    42. No bolt next to cracks. Never.
    43. The ground is never flat enough to bivouac. Figure it out. You’re not sleeping anyway.
    44. Chalk is for the fingers. Not for notes on the rock. No tick marks on the crag.
    45. Make sure you come home alive. There are old climbers and bold climbers. There are no old, bold climbers.


    Any rules to add ? Bring'em on.

    Related posts

    The perfect alpine pack?