Monday, September 3, 2012

Ethics - Climbing Ethics with the Pros

Jamie Emerson, Beth Rodden, Arno Ilgner, Sasha DiGiulian, Cedar Wright, Shauna Coxsey, Cody Roth, Dave Wetmore, Andrew Bisharat, Sierra Blair-Coyle, Jason Kehl, Brian Antheunisse, Paige Claassen, Magnus Midtbø, Jonathan Siegrist
By Aubrey Wingo

In my previous articles on climbing ethics, I have babbled on and on about practices that should be applied inside the gym and outside at the crag. Some of you might agree or disagree with me on certain topics, but these are based on my own personal opinions that I have constructed through my own climbing experiences and education. As Southeastern First Ascensionist Chris Sierzant explains, “Climbing is a growing sport with various degrees of ethics. Everyone has their opinion of right and wrong.”

I know this is a lengthy article, and many of you will say, “I don’t have time for this right now” or “I’ll read it later”.  Take the time, and I hope that you find this article as fulfilling as it was to write it.

For this article, I’ve contacted numerous seasoned climbers throughout the United States and internationally that I feel are the most knowledgeable and experienced in their respected field to get their views and opinions on climbing ethics. I asked them the following open-ended questions from which their responses came:

-If you could give a piece of advice to a new climber regarding ethics in the field, what would you tell them?
-Where in climbing ethics do you feel like most climbers fail or need improvement?
-What is the best way to pass the use of climbing ethics to other climbers?

This is what they had to say.

Climbing Specific

The first ethics that all climbers can look into is the ethics within the climbing itself. World Cup athlete Sasha DiGiulian and no doubtingly one of the strongest female professional climbers in the world puts it perfect. “Climbers need to remember that their actions directly affect others, whether it is maintaining composure while flailing on your project or respecting other people's space while climbing in a group.”  When was the last time that you asked yourself, am I being a good ethical climber?  Am I respecting my fellow climbers when I’m at the gym or at the crag?  Could I have acted differently?  Asking these questions and looking at yourself is first.  At that point, you can take a look at others and possibly step in a change someone’s attitude towards climbing.  Climbing ethics involving courtesies (see section below), as well as how you react to your climbing are going to be discussed in this section.  You will definitely see some overlap in the two categories, but only because your actions while climbing can affect others too.  Do you get too emotional about your project, thus influencing everyone else’s experiences?

Another aspect of climbing ethics to take a look at is more technical, regarding knowledge of gear and sound knowledge on using that gear, bolting practices, chipping holds, and gluing holds for their own benefits.  Chances are a great percentage of us reading this article (including myself) are not going to be bolting any sport lines soon, but being educated on these practices can possibly prevent someone from making a mistake that can lead to access issues in the future.  Many people are going to have many different opinions on climbing ethics, but no matter what, it is the landowner’s and climbing area’s rules.  You might not always know better than them, even if you don’t agree.  Take a look at our professionals’ opinions and maybe you can ask yourself, what can I change about myself to be a more ethical and respectful climber?

“Climbing is one of the most complex activities one can participate in. To succeed, it is imperative that one approaches the sport with an open mind. Too often I see climbers make excuses. They give up on projects, beta, ideas about how and where climbing can be done, places to go, training methods, movement... the list goes on. I have found success time and again when I let go of my own stubbornness and approach each and every challenge climbing brings with an open and creative mind, willing and anxious to learn. Thinking creatively is at the heart of my own climbing and in this way it often feels artistic. I would encourage young climbers to find this creativity in their own climbing, as it leads to longevity and a true love of the sport... Too often climbers base their ethics on their emotions. They might do something ethically questionable, like dab, or chip or glue, or start in the wrong place, and then work backwards, justifying their actions based on their emotions. This is the antitheses of ethics and all of those issues should be thought about before they arise. Make the decision before hand and stick to it every time. For example: dabbing is wrong, I don't do it, and if I do dab, I step off immediately.”  - Jamie Emerson, Guidebook Author and Professional Climber

“Always refrain from giving beta in case the climber is trying to onsight, unless they ask for it. Another thing that happens semi frequently to me that gets on my nerves is when people step on my rope. That's a big time no no!  Bouldering is a totally different story. It's more about adding to others’ experience instead of trying not to tread on others' feet. Laying out your crash pad under a boulder problem someone is working on, giving anyone a spot, and lots of encouragement is welcomed. Exchanges of beta is also very much more welcome, as far fewer people are concerned with giving a boulder problem an onsight go than while sport climbing... Also the biggest thing...avoid talking about grades! It's too easy for people to get caught up in the numbers when climbing in the gym. Ask about the name of the route first, and then the grade. Try not to let the ratings consume your motivations for climbing on them.” -  Brian Antheunisse, La Sportiva Ambassador and Professional Climber

“For new climbers, the most important thing to learn is how to be safe. First and foremost, learn how to belay, both lead and top rope. Read how-to books and seek instruction. Learn how to give a soft catch. Learn to belay with an ATC as well as a Grigri. Don't take belaying lightly. It's the single most important skill you'll learn as a climber.  Ethically speaking, I'd say it would be really poor ethics to be nonchalant or ignorant about taking on the duty of having someone else's life literally in your hands... Climbing is a lifelong pursuit, and you'll have plenty of time to tick hard routes.  But learn the safe techniques, and take it slow. You don't have to push yourself right away. IF you don't know how to clean an anchor, or you aren't sure, then the anchor at the top of a route isn't the place to learn! Learn on the ground in a mock situation. Make sure you know what you're doing, and take your time really learning it so that it's innate knowledge.... Finally, know the difference between the gym and outdoor crags. They're not the same! Crags outside can have dangerous hardware. Unlike a gym, outdoor hardware isn't maintained by a third party. It's up to you to recognize bad/dangerous hardware (whether it be bolts, anchors, or fixed sharp carabiners) and be knowledgeable enough to either replace it or choose a different route.” - Andrew Bisharat, Senior Editor at Rock and Ice and Climber

“It’s important to make sure your shoes are clean before getting on a line. Tracking mud or dirt onto a pad or climb can be frustrating for fellow climbers. Try to remember to keep your gear and other belongings in one area. It makes it easier to keep up with your own stuff and makes for less trash.” - Nate Draughn, Professional Climber

“Don’t modify a route by adding bolts just because it's too hard mentally or physically for you." - Arno Ilgner, Pioneer Climber and Author of The Rock Warrior’s Way

“I also get frustrated by bad first ascent practices, such bolting next to cracks, squeezing a contrived line in between two classic routes, or just placing bad bolts. New routes are one of the biggest impacts that we create on the rock and we need to establish them respectfully and with as little impact and as much logic as possible.”  - Cedar Wright, Filmmaker and Professional Climber

If you’ve made it this far, reread this section.  Listen to what these climbers have to say.  Emerson’s discipline to creativity, love and personal climbing ethics...Bisharat’s emphasis on education and the recognition and respect with the transition from gym to mudding up people’s projects, bolting unethically, talking about grades!  How different and profound ethics are from person to person!  Did you ask yourself anything yet?

Common Courtesies

Jimmy Webb climbing at Horse Pens

No one likes a jerk at the crag or the gym.  For new climbers, the line between ignorance and obnoxious can be slim without them even realizing.  What makes this a bit different from the Climbing Specific ethics from the section above is these are not aspect of ethics that really come from your climbing or your emotional and personal response to climbing, but how your are directly affecting the people around you with your interactions. Beta spraying, greasing up freshly chalked holds, being loud and playing loud music, campusing in your approach shoes on someone’s project...even experienced climbers can ignore the courtesies that they were scolded about as gumbies.  Nonetheless, the only way of trying to dissuading climbers from bringing down the atmosphere is opening our mouths.  Teaching new climbers and scolding the older ones might be able to curb this issue.  The climber correspondence gave me many different aspects of what bothers them about courtesies and what people should avoid so we can all share the area.  As pioneer climber and author Arno Ilgner says, "Be respectful of others. None of us own the rock.”

“It's also important to respect your fellow climbers, i.e. music, shouting, being loud, etc. A lot of people go out and play music at the crag or boulders. I think it's best to respect your fellow climbers and try and leave the environment the same as much as possible (i.e. try not to be too loud, play music, shout, dominate the area, etc).”  - Beth Rodden, La Sportiva Ambassador and Professional Climber

“Treat everyone with respect, a 5.6 climber should have just as much privilege as 5.14 climber. Entitlement and class systems should have no place in climbing!...  Be tolerant of others, avoid complaining, or flipping out, which is easier said than done...” - Cody Roth, Sterling Rope Athlete and Professional Climber

“To answer your question I'd say to try and remain humble and respectful of those who came before. But don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, one can make changes without being disrespectful.” - Sonnie Trotter, Canadian Professional Climber

“Don't show up with a boom box and an obnoxious group of ding-dongs, spraying about this and that... If there is a group of climbers on your "proj" before you show up, ask them politely if you can join. 99% of the time it's fine to hop on, but it's just a common courtesy to ease in and be polite... Most climbers I've met out in the mountains know the deal. But there are always a few that will start spraying you down with beta that you didn't ask for or will start screaming at you as you climb to encourage you, but really only end up distracting you. These are minor things of course, but I'm a grump sometimes and they get to me! Oh, climbers need to spot fellow climbers. Instead of sitting off to the side to eat your cookies, spot your pal. Broken ankles in the mountains are not fun.” Dave Wetmore, Louder Than 11

“I would tell any new climber that the ethics in climbing are similar to ethics in life. If you are kind, respectful, and courteous to others, you will usually receive the same treatment in return.” - Sierra Blair-Coyle, American World Cup Athlete

“I think it’s the simple things that climbers forget, or they just assume everyone believes what they do, for instance smoking or playing music.  Before you act, just make sure the people that are around you are okay with it. I don’t mind music sometimes, but its the worst when people roll up and don’t even bother asking if its cool.”  - Jason Kehl, Climbing Hold Artist and
Professional Climber

“I think we often forget that much of the land we climb on is shared by other people, whether 
they live there, work there, or use the land for other recreational activities. When you come wailing off your project, everyone can hear you...  Also, be aware of how your dog affects climbers around you. If it's barking and chasing other dogs, this isn't helping to keep the area serene.” Paige Claassen, La Sportiva Ambassador and Professional Climber

“Noise is a big thing too. I see some newer climbers that bring boom-boxes or whatever and blast that shizz. Not everyone listens to Mumford and Sons, dawg. Yes, and I know yelling helps get frustration out, we've all done it, but just be aware of your surroundings. There’s no need to make a big scene when your ‘epicing’ on your project... Another thing that climbers can improve is courtesy.  That means no ‘mud footing’ someone’s project.  And yes, your warm-ups can be someone else's project, so just keep it in mind before you chuff up the boulder with your mud feet. Just be friendly.” - Rami Annab, Professional Climber and Photographer

“As far as ethics that most climbers can improve on, just try to be courteous to others. Sometimes beginners become so overtaken by climbing, that they don't realize that they may be annoying others around them. Things like cheering someone on too enthusiastically to the point of being distractive, or unintentionally cutting someone in line on a route, or even talking too much about yourself and your own experiences with a climb can be too much for some trying to just escape their day job and have a peaceful day at the wall.... Keep your dog on a leash, don't scream profanities when you fall, try to wander as far as you can from the wall and trails when going to the bathroom, and be friendly and cheer people on.” - Brian Antheunisse

“Don't lie about what you've done, treat other people with respect, don't be a jerk.”  - Andrew Bisharat

“Do not make fun of anyone. Try to be optimistic and give positive reinforcement. We all started somewhere, clueless on what to do. Respect the older generations. They can give you knowledge it took them decades to figure out! Above all, go out and have fun!... Positive reinforcement can go along way. The old cliche.... treat others the way you want to be treated. It is sometimes easy to forget that in climbing.” - Nate Draughn

And finally, one of my favorite quotes from Arno Ilgner (just because I write blogs, haha!)

"Some climbers spend too much time posting opinions on climbing blogs, things they would never say to someone directly because they would get punched in the face."

Don’t worry, Mr. Ilgner.  If it’s for the good of climbing and ethics, I can take a punch!

From loud music to spotting, hogging the wall to dogs, our most experienced climbers share the same pet peeves as myself and many others in the sport.  However, as much as it is all climbers’ responsibility to teach and inform, it is a personal responsibility to maintain good common sense, courteous practices, and show respect for your gym, your crag, your landowners, and your fellow climber.  So if you see someone doing something that is not ethical or intelligent, say something.  I guarantee that moment will stick with them for the rest of their life, and they might be apt to pass that knowledge on to other.  This blog is my way of spreading the knowledge in my gym, Aiguille Rock Climbing Center, but I certainly hope this reaches many others.  So readers, how are you reaching out?

Leave No Trace Practices

Many climbers forget that the idea of leaving no trace is so closely tied to climbing ethics due to our exposure to the environment on both public and private land.  And the best part about minimizing our impact is that it isn’t difficult to do!  Leave No Trace is a set of fundamentals but also the name of the organization that promote these concepts. Their message is framed under seven principles:

-Plan Ahead and Prepare
-Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
-Dispose of Waste Properly
-Leave What You Find
-Minimize Campfire Impacts
-Respect Wildlife
-Be Considerate of Other Visitors

These issues are easily solved when taken into effect on an individual level.  However, Leave No Trace practices are only wholly effective with a combined effort.  Until every climber and outdoor enthusiast uses these mentalities, our effect on the environment is still detrimental.  Many of these ideas include picking up trash, human waste and dog waste management, chalk use, and more have been discussed in previous articles and seem to be also shared with others in the field.  Professional climber and filmmaker Cedar Wright points out the very basic fact and philosophy that can certainly sum up the ideas surrounding our environmental effect: “The less impact you can create in your climbing life, the better.”  Many of my respondents also had insightful views towards climbing ethics regarding Leave No Trace.

“This place is for everyone to use and its also our responsibility to take care of it. In some cases, wrong actions can jeopardize access to an area for everyone. I am a guide at Hueco Tanks, so every time I take out a tour, I give a speech. Which basically says: Leave no trace, stay on the trails, pick up after yourself and others (trash, tape, food wrappers), brush off your tick marks, and be conscious that you’re not the only ones out there.  I feel like everyone should be reminded of these things every time they go outside, not just to climb.” - Jason Kehl

“Try to choose a good climbing mentor to learn from. Not just someone knows how to     tie knots, but someone who cares about preserving the environment and being low impact when in nature.” - Matthew Gant, President, Southeastern Climbers Coalition

“In climbing ethics where most climbers fall short or need improvement would have to     be disposing of waste properly and being considerate of other visitors. A real problem     at the Red, in general, is improper disposal of human solid waste. I carry a trowel, personally.  Digging a "cat hole" isn't very difficult.” - Andrew Jones, Public Relations Coordinator, Friends of Muir Valley

“What really pisses me off are climbers who leave a mess. This could be bits of     climbing tape, trash, excessive tick marks, or even just a disrespectful attitude at the crag. Booo...” - Cedar Wright, Professional Climber and Filmmaker

“No matter what you are doing, sport, bouldering, trad, whatever, you     always want to leave areas better off than when you found them. Pick up not only your trash, but also other's that may have been left behind.” - Brian Antheuniesse 


“I would tell the new climber to respect the natural environment as much as possible. The phrase "take only pictures, leave only footprints" is a good one to live by. This includes tick marks, trash, walking through sensitive areas, etc. We are all stewards of the environment and are very lucky to have access to the finite resource of climbing outside. It's up to all of us to continue to respect it, so that we, and generations following us, can continue to enjoy it.” - Beth Rodden

“I think that Leave No Trace has done an exceptional job of outlining what I     believe to be a universal code of ethics in the outdoors, as far as defining a sustainable approach to living in the wilderness. I would check out their website for sure." - Jonathan Siegrist, La Sportiva Ambassador and Professional Climber

“I think people need to have more respect for the locations that they are climbing at. Tick marks should always be removed and any litter taken home with them.” - Shauna Coxsey, British World Cup Athlete and Professional Climber

“No littering.  Be friendly to the locals. Leave the place like it was when you got     there and if you see any litter left behind, don't be afraid to take it with you.” - Magnus Midtbø, Norwegian World Cup Athlete and Professional Climber

“My advice for a new climber would be to remember that the land we climb on is for all of us to enjoy, so picking up trash is a key factor in keeping the landowners happy so we can all experience the area. Trash and noise are the biggest fails that climbers do.  Finally, when that "number 2" feeling comes creeping up, let loose in a appropriate area off the main trail. Somewhere that no one can smell it or step on it.” - Rami Annab,

“Dogs make huge impacts on areas. If you're dog isn't trained or well behaved, it doesn't belong at the crag. When you do bring your dog, be responsible for picking up it's poop.” - Paige Claassen

“Don't kill things, like bushes and plantsf, or yourself.” - Dave Wetmore

When reading the quotes above, you can certainly begin to see a trend and repetitive terms. But that is because, as veterans of the sport, these climbers have seen just about everything and have witnessed the consequences of poor Leave No Trace practices. Many areas, such as Muir Valley in the Red River Gorge, rely on the good ethics of us climbers to stay open to the public, as well as donation!  These locations are not like your local gym. You can’t drop your tape, or spill your chalk and think that someone is going to clean it up at the end of the night.  Like Rami said, “keeping the landowners” happy is certainly one benefit of good trail and climbing ethics because without it, our favorite areas would be no more.

Traveling to Different Areas

One of the first things that anyone should do when embarking on a climbing trip is to check the rules and regulations of different crags and different areas, especially if it is your first time. If you are traveling out of country, there are different customs to take into consideration. Read your guidebooks, ask your friends, get all the information you can. You certainly don’t want to upset the locals and risk looking disrespectful and potentially causing a loss of access. Many of our professional climbers are well traveled and have experienced many of these situations.

“Access is such a huge problem in the climbing world that we as climbers have to be very cognizant of our impact on an area...  I think we often forget that much of the land we climb on is shared by other people, whether they live there, work there, or use the land for other recreational activities... In a selfish way, we often think any area with rocks is our own. In reality, much of the land we climb on is privately owned, part of a national park, or is shared by other recreational users. Remembering that it is a privilege to climb in a given area, and not a right, helps us to respect that area more. Before you visit a crag, look into the access issues, who owns the land, and who else uses it. It may or may not be acceptable to stash your gear, bring your dog, bolt new lines, etc.” - Paige Claassen

“Climbing ethics, specifically, often change from crag to crag and country to country. I think it's best to be cautious and respectful when at a new cliff, and if you have questions about what is generally acceptable there, ask a local.” - Jonathan Siegrist

“Ethics vary from area to area, country to country and the more information one has, the better prepared one is to deal with questions that may arise." - Jamie Emerson

“Many climbing areas are being closed due to climbers not knowing how to behave. Rules and ethics vary from country to country, but the same ground rules apply. Where can you park? Camping allowed? No trespassing... People tend to forget that different rules apply to different areas. At some climbing areas we are welcomed, while at other areas they are gunning for us. That's why we should be extra careful whenever we go to a new area.” - Magnus Midtbø

“Each climber, region, country, etc. has different ethics they follow well and poorly. The one thing I believe that everyone can always improve on is respecting each discipline of climbing. No one area of climbing is better than another and each contain their own difficulties.” -  Sierra Blair-Coyle

“My best advice would be to ask about ethics in each area that you are climbing in... That goes for gyms too... Climbers need to have open communication with land owners and park officials.” - Chris Sierzant

“In each new area that you go climbing, try to get a feel for the local "ethics" as you won't be causing too many ripples... Keep the local authorities happy and climbing can continue in that sector.”  - Sean McColl, Canadian World Cup Athlete and Professional Climber

I’ve talked up Mike Schultz at Horse Pens 40 late into the night (of course, also amongst stories of jumping out of planes, chasing down thieves, and old Native American ghost stories) about climbers and respecting his land and his rules and that only follows with great appreciation.  Once a member of the FSU climbing club, my officers and I would take this received knowledge and pass it along to our club members, many of them freshman, new to climbing and only used to plastic pulling.  It should be like this for anyone.  Pass on the knowledge!  I don’t want to say that we must tiptoe cautiously at a new crag, but at the same time, think of it as just that.  There is nothing wrong about being cautious, asking questions, and being informed.

Spreading the Word

The last question I asked our professionals was “What is the best way to pass the use of climbing ethics to other climbers?”  I don’t need to make much introduction to this topic.  I will let the climbers do the speaking for me.  However, I will leave you with one final note about spreading the word.  Read these insights and I challenge you to follow one of these pieces of advice once a day, whether it be informing a new climber or reading up on the latest Leave no Trace blogs.  As Sasha DiGiulian shared with me, “What is important is that as climbing grows (which is great), there will be more people at the crag and creating more noise and less of a natural surrounding. In order to adapt to this change and to preserve the natural beauty of the sport, we need to maintain awareness of these simple surroundings.”

Your Challenge...

“By practicing these ethics yourself. It is important to be the air you breathe so to speak. Be a kind, caring person aware of other people and nature, and the others (the good ones!) will follow suit...!” - Sasha DiGiulian

“In terms of ethics, climbers need to be open (again) to talking about ethics. They need to be open to learn from more experienced members, open to new ideas from younger climbers, and open to learn as much as they can from as many different sources as possible. Ask questions. Take notes. Follow informative blogs. Get outside and travel as much as possible. These are all ways climbers can learn about how the sport is done.” - Jamie Emerson

“I think mentoring is a great way to pass along ethics. I know I learned from mentors at my gym and older climbers. It's a great way to pass along information from generation to generation.” - Beth Rodden

“In my personal opinion, the best way to pass on climbing ethics to other climbers would be to have a strong role model. Everyone learns from someone, and you want to make sure that person is both safe and ethically sound. I also recommend reading as much as possible, both books and online. I definitely also recommend a membership with the Access Fund. They have a very strong tradition of passing on climbing ethics and ensuring access to some of the best climbing areas in the country.” - Andrew Jones

“We need to live by example, but we also need to take a stand, and speak out when we see climbers behaving out of line. I would recommend that all climbers become members of the Access Fund and the American Alpine Club, two organizations that champion good ethics and good vibes in the crags that we love.” - Cedar Wright

“Take new climbers climbing, tell them stories, show them why it's such an amazing sport with such a rich history. Knowing where climbing came from will be helpful in understanding where it's going.”  - Sonnie Trotter

"Talk with them in a respectful way. If they are doing something unethical, then pull them aside so you don't embarrass them in front of others and talk with them." - Arno Ilgner

“Be nice! Unless someone around you is going to do something dangerous or harmful (which has happened to me and requires perhaps a more swift/aggressive talking to), just be nice and share your thoughts about ethics to them. For the most part (I'd say 95%), climbers are rad people, and they respect and love the outdoors and the crag; they just don't always know the best methods for caring for them. If you feel confident that someone could improve their approach, share it with them and be cool about it.” -  Jonathan Siegrist

“Because everyone learns in different ways, I don't see a single clear way to convey the message. I think climbers should be exposed to climbing ethics in various ways such as a small educational flyer posted in the gym, a small ad here and there on climbing websites and with online media, a pamphlet inserted in a welcome packet for a comp/short message before or after any climbing event, or a mentor sharing examples of heavy climber impact and also "best practices".  If a climber attends a trail day they will understand climber impact by doing trail work that mitigates climber impact.” - Matthew Gant

“Lead by example. I'm certainly no saint, but I try to follow my climbing idols by doing what they do. And most importantly, always have fun because at the end of the day, if you're not having a good time, what's the point?”  - Dave Wetmore

“By leading by example, and if you see a climber doing something that could compromise the climbing community or cause irreparable damage, than say something or do something, don't turn a blind eye!” - Cody Roth

“The best way to pass the use of climbing ethics is to lead by example. New climbers look up to more experienced climbers and learn from their actions.” - Sierra Blair-Coyle

“As far as the best way to pass on ethics to others, I think maybe taking your less experienced friends on trips is the way. There's almost nothing you can do to avoid making mistakes, you just can't go from gym rat to seasoned outdoor veteran by reading something.
Make mistakes and learn from them!” - Brian Antheunisse

“I think the best way to pass along the art of climbing ethics is just to go out climbing with the newer generation of climbers, so they can see first hand the 'Do's' and 'Don'ts' of climbing.” - Rami Annab

“Be social, build bridges, and damn it, get out of the gym and on some rock! Practice climbing is for nothing if it can't be applied. The most important advice I have is... Have fun!” - Chris Sierzant

“Ensure that we all practice good ethics therefore there will be no bad examples.” - Shauna Coxsey

“I think the best way to pass good ethics on to other climbers is by setting an example. We're a small community, so words and actions travel quickly. If one person treats an area with respect, their friends are likely to follow suit. Encourage your friends to leave as little impact as possible, that way we can all keep climbing in the areas we love for years to come!” -Paige Claassen

“Basically, it's not really ethics where most climbers are coming up short, but in knowing how to be safe. There really is no reason for people to be getting hurt or dying in most climbing situations.”  - Andrew Bisharat

“I'd say <the best way is> word of mouth or by example. Be a positive role model.” - Nate Draughn

“Make sure to tell other climbers if they do anything they shouldn't. Spread the word!” - Magnus Midtbø

I was very privileged and honored to receive a response from the one and only John “The Vermin” Sherman who left us all us this simple but profound quote.

“I just tell climbers, new or experienced, that how you choose to climb is a reflection of yourself and your values.”

Thanks for reading as always, and a huge thank you to all who contributed.  You are inspiring to us all!  Visit their website and blogs below!

Jamie Emerson
Andrew Bisharat
Sasha DiGiulian
Jason Kehl
Beth Rodden
Cedar Wright
Brian Antheunisse
Shauna Coxsey
Arno Ilgner
Jonathan Siegrist
Sean McColl
Sierra Blair-Coyle
Sonnie Trotter
Magnus Midtbø
Paige Claassen
Dave Wetmore
Nate Draughn
Rami Annab
Cody Roth
Chris Sierzant
Matthew Gant
Andrew Jones
John Sherman

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