Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Unsent /un-sent/ 1. To have failed so badly on a route you had previously climbed that you negate your redpoint. 2. A humor column.
Steve is a great belayer. After I whipped five times, hung for 10 minutes, pulled off a block and nearly hit him, pitched a wobbler, aided through the move, whipped again, cried for six minutes, swore off climbing for good, threw my right shoe, whipped three more times, hung for 20 more minutes during which I fell asleep, then climbed the remainder of the route clean, he gave me a cookie and said that it happens to everyone. I think he wants to sleep with me. (Not happening.)
—Candace L., Denver, CO
That’s what you can expect with Janice.
To start, I had a reservation for Janice to pick me up at 7:00 a.m. to leave for Clear Creek Canyon, yet she did not arrive until 7:06. While this may seem like a minor inconvenience, it meant that every good warm-up was taken by the time we reached the Canal Zone. And the waiting did not stop there. When Janice offered to hang a toprope on Turkey Jerky (5.10b/c), I expected that she would redpoint the route and be back on the ground within 5 minutes—her Mountain Project profile says she leads 5.12a. Instead, Janice required three hangs and 12 minutes, wasting valuable time that I could have spent climbing the many nearby 5.8s. Then, before she would belay me, Janice made me wait six more minutes while she drank water and ate an apple. In total, we were at the cliff for 24 minutes before I received my first belay.
While Janice was pleasant enough, I’ll seek a more efficient ropegun in the future.
—Sarah M., Golden, CO
Ambience: 5/5—Amanda chose a road-side crag stacked with moderates. Kudos. I hate hiking—it’s hard because it’s so boring. Plus, college students in hammocks suggested a fun party atmosphere.
Soundtrack: 4/5—Brought Bluetooth speakers and played “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers on repeat. While this was hella tight, I would have enjoyed more RHCP variety such as “Under the Bridge” every third rotation. Bonus: Treble-heavy small speaker drowned out annoying nature sounds like faint breeze through trees and birds.
Belaying: 3/5—Gave an attentive enough belay, but provided no encouragement such as “You got this, Carl,” “¡Venga!” or “Don’t forget to breathe.” Furthermore, when I got scared and yelled, “Watch me,” Amanda yelled back, “Do you think I don’t pay attention when you don’t tell me to?” It was a valid point, but I did not appreciate her sarcasm.
Other notes: Cons—Does not own car and must be picked up. Dreadlocks got tangled in belay device on multiple occasions. May have been high. Pros—Has Indian Creek rack. Helped untangle my beard from the belay device. Offered me weed.
—Carl D., Boulder, CO
Showed up in a swami belt, refused to use a belay device, and made fun of my figure-eight knot. Said climbers today are cowards then showed me scar from the time Layton Kor dropped him 60 feet and he needed an emergency nephrectomy. Never climbed; just smoked.
—Kelly S., Longmont, CO
If I had to rate the snacks in Ryan’s backpack, it would be 7 stars out of 5—but I need to subtract 3 stars for his rude demeanor. To start, I ate half an onion bagel with chicken salad, cheddar cheese, and green apple slices that I found in the brain of his pack while he tied in. Unfortunately, the delicate interplay between the sharp cheese and tart apple was overshadowed when Ryan yelled, “Hey, did you go through my pack?” Of course I did: I was eating his sandwich. Is he not familiar with the brotherhood of the rope? Climbing partners share with one another.
Next, while Ryan led out and slack ran through my ATC (don’t worry—I tied a catastrophe knot), I explored the back pocket of his pack and found an Almond Joy. Great! I was delighted by the exotic combination of coconut and nut. Yet after he clipped in direct to the third bolt, he looked down and screamed, “Dude, seriously! What the fuck? Stay out of my pack!” I found his language offensive.
The last straw came after I found a Tupperware of chicken tikka masala at the bottom of his bag. What a delight! I could tell from the fresh aroma that it had been purchased within the past three days. Then Ryan whipped, causing the catastrophe knot to jam in my ATC after he took a 35-foot fall that pulled me into the wall and spilled the masala. Instead of apologizing, Ryan directed a string of expletives at me that I will not repeat here. There was no salvaging the situation. Sure, I could have rinsed off the chicken with my water bottle, but that would have washed off the sauce.
A few other minor complaints: No vegan or gluten-free options. Only one summit beer available: Pabst Blue Ribbon; would have preferred a local craft IPA or a saison. Despite negatives, I would happily climb with Ryan again, but he has instructed me that there is “no fucking way,” and that if he did, it would only be so he could “tie the rope off to a tree and leave you to hang there and think about what an awful person you are.” Rude!
—Mike C., Golden, CO
Let go of belay device while I was on lead to eat all the food in my pack. Insisted it was some kind of bonding ritual. Later saw him sleeping under an overpass. I don’t think he even climbs.
—Ryan F., Thornton, CO