At first it seems so perfect, right? You meet, probably in your local climbing gym. You go on your first date, probably in your local climbing gym. You spend your spare time thinking to yourself, "I am so damn lucky to find someone who loves climbing as much as I do." And that's when it all goes awry. Little by little, you start getting frustrated with your loving, and usually patient, significant other during your climbing outings; and vice versa. Before you know it, a seemingly innocent workout at the gym has turned into a full-fledged, Hurricane Katrina-esque, Battle of the 'Biners.
There are ways to avoid this... or at the very least, minimize the frequency of these fights.
- DO compliment your partner on great technique. If you have a hard time remembering to do this, it pretty much follows the same rule as when asked "Do I look fat in these jeans?" - in which case the answer is always "No baby, you look SO fine." Even if your partner fell all over the route (especially when your partner fell all over the route), always greet them at the bottom with "Don't worry, baby, your technique looked SO solid." Another good one is "DAMN baby, your core tension was so tight through the crux." Feel free to think outside the box on this one.
- DO motivate your partner to be the best climber they can be! But know where the line is. Push them to climb a little harder than they think they can. If they are two moves away from the top, don't lower them right away. Push them to get off TR and stick to leading as much as possible. But use this power wisely. If your partner yells "TAKE", you have two options. You could say, "Stop being a little BITCH" - or you could say "Go for it, baby, I'll catch you!" See how a subtle change in your reaction might elicit a more positive climbing environment?
- DON'T ever ask your partner, mid-climb, "Ummmm THAT'S the beta you're gonna use? I mean, good luck." Boom, you're in the doghouse. We all know that great beta for one person might be dogsh*t for the next. Especially when it comes to men's beta vs. women's beta. I speak from experience that it only translates about 65% of the time. Another good rule of thumb, only supply beta if it's been requested.
- DON'T brag about your on-sights, redpoints, pinkpoints, and whatever else, to your partner who just got off the same climb. A) If they finished it, then it's their time to shine; and B) if they didn't finish it.... well, modesty goes a long way. Home-cooked meals and flowers also go a long way, just FYI.
- REMEMBER that climbing is an emotional sport. Most likely, your partner's love for climbing is just as intense as your love for climbing. However, everyone loves climbing for different, and usually very personal, reasons. What I'm trying to say, if you can weed through all this ranting, is that climbing is supposed to be FUN - don't ever forget that!
If you follow these few basic points, I promise your climbing relationship will be so much stronger! Together, you and your partner can smirk as you watch other couples quibble about beta and whether the arete is on or off. You two are SO above all of that. Congratulations, victory is yours.