Ask Answer Man: Can I Wear A POV Camera Without Looking Dorky?

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Ask Answer Man

I got a POV camera for my birthday and have two questions: How can I minimize the dork factor in attaching it to my body, and how can I get footage my friends will actually enjoy watching?—Phil T., Los Angeles, CA

1.) You can’t. 2.) You can’t. At least not really. Chances are high that if you own one of those things, you likely consider your life so amazing that it would be careless, nay, inexcusable, not to share such fascinating footage with the rest of us dullards, weirdos, and men with weak handshakes. Chances are also high that your self-delusion makes you someone to avoid after a couple of drinks.

With that in mind, let’s start with the basics of POV etiquette—a simple do and don’t list. Don’t: Wear the damn thing like the antenna on those Google Street View cars. You look ridiculous (and could hurt yourself). Do: Get a small tripod and look for unique vantage points from which to film. Don’t: Show off your single-shot, 30-minute ascent of Think Pink (5.11a). Do: Film everything; just edit the footage into tolerable, short clips. Don’t: Make your camera a statement accessory. Do: Use the camera subtly, with purpose, honing the craft of filmmaking and striving to cram more punch and meaning into less space.

How do I go about correcting the horrible belaying I see at the gym without seeming like a holier-than-thou ass?—Sarah B., Chattanooga, TN

How very strange to hear someone express concern for the well-being of others! I thought all climbers were selfish. Though I bet in extremis you would concede that your interest is actually rooted in self-preservation and a desire to have a memory free of gristle splatter and broken legs from falling bodies. Still, a nice sentiment. As for those bad belayers at the gym, take a swift trip to the front desk, alert one of the staff to the great infraction of safety protocol, and let them take care of it. It is, after all, what they get paid minimum wage to do. But how should you deal with this situation outside the relative safety of your plastic paradise, where there is no authority on which to transfer responsibility? Do as the neo-McCarthy NYCers do: If you see something, say something.

When you spot some below-average belaying at your crag, stop your own mission for a moment, and once the climber is grounded, express your concern to the belayer in a nice but serious tone, appealing to the safety of the climber. You may also find that having an extra person on your side to repeat your advice and drive it home will ensure the lesson takes. Keep the supercilious rhetoric to yourself and avoid scolding. As a firm believer that our community needs more mentors and less pomposity, I believe it is our collective responsibility to guide those less equipped or knowledgeable toward safe, sustainable outdoor behaviors. Got that, buckaroo?

My partner spiked me on a belay, which I’m certain contributed to a core shot in my new rope. Can I demand a replacement?—Andrew K., Austin, TX

Great Odin’s raven! I’ve totally got a clumsy friend, too! When we drink, I have to give him a plastic cup. If I gave that fool my Waterford Double Old Fashioned tumblers, my carpet would be saturated with Laphroaig and foot blood. You have a clumsy, rope-ruining belayer. I have a clumsy, glass-breaking drunkard. The lesson? Find new partners, or use a rope you care less about. But how to handle this in the future isn’t what you asked. A broken glass may no longer be usable, but your rope is. Cut off the busted end, note the new length, and continue on your merry way. Demanding a replacement is a little extreme. But let him read this, and maybe he’ll feel guilty.

And other topics…

How do I know if my rope needs to be retired?Check its IRA.

What’s the best method for attaching a daisy chain to my harn…Stop. No.

When should I resole my shoes?Not until the piggy who stays home tells you.

OK to go shirtless in the gym? Dude. If you have to ask…

Got a burning question about climber etiquette, customs, or values? Email