The Only Rule: Don’t Be An @$$hole

For those who arent aware, there’s been an entertaining thread over on, where a video was posted of a guy who was stealing draws off routes at Smith Rock. They caught him in the act and the ensuing confrontation is pretty comedic. Of course, from there the forum degenerates into debates about fixed draws and pinkpoint vs redpoint, blah blah blah. Here is our esteemed contributor Chris Kalous’ take on the whole matter:

First of all, why haven’t all the aid climbers disappeared into the tar pits by now like dinosaurs. This is what happens when you let them just roam free.

Second, this sounds like a bunch of kids trying to hammer out the rules to kick the can or something. Only children want ethics to be black and white, no negotiation, what works here and now will work everywhere and always. The only real rule is don’t be an asshole. As such I offer up the following guidelines:

This guy stealing draws: asshole.

Aiding up any free route that is too hard for you just to take gear: asshole, no, I take that back, just sad and lonely

Taking a skanky draw that is a few bolts up and obviously a bail-off: not an asshole.

Pulling bolts, hangers, or chains off a route: asshole

Pulling bolts and hangers off a piece of shite that the community has decided is a waste of space and an eye-sore: not an asshole

Leaving draws up on yer project (regardless of the grade) at a sport area: not an asshole

Leaving unsightly pre-placed gear or ropes up at a known trad area: asshole

Leaving pre-placed gear up on a your new route that is in the middle of nowhere while you work it: not an asshole

Fixed mini-traxion ropes left on classic or popular routes: asshole

Mini-traxion ropes left out of clear site on the Amazing Obscuro Dome: well, actually, you are still probably an asshole and need to find some friends.

Leaving up fixed ropes for your personal photograper/videographer: professional asshole

Leaving behind fixed ropes in an emergency or accident: not an asshole (but you oughta try and go get them)

Pulling obviously abandoned and rotten and dangerous draws (because you live there and have talked with anyone who would know and have been looking at them for 5 years) off a route: not an asshole

Threading a fixed anchor that has biners so you can take them or pulling all but one piece out of a fixed anchor: asshole (and idiot)

Finding half somebody’s rack strung out on a pitch after a rain storm and NOT making an effort to post a note or talk to the local shop, etc.: asshole

Keeping said rack after a reasonable and satisfying attempt by you to find the defendant: not an asshole

Lying to the face of said party about having gear or refusing to return it: greedy asshole in need of a beating

Pulling an unknown bail anchor: not an asshole

Pulling an unknown piece that somebody stuck: not an asshole

Pulling a piece that a party above you left and NOT offering it back at the next common belay or back in camp: asshole

Pulling a piece that belongs to somebody you know (even barely, even if you don’t like him/her) and not offering it back at your convenience: asshole (this one will get a “yeah, but…”, but, sorry, you are an asshole)

Doing anything that in yer gut makes you feel like a dick: well?

If in your next breathe you have to start some convoluted defense of your actions: hmmm?

But, sometimes doing what you want may require you to be an asshole. New routing tactics, for example, often infringe on others in many ways. Accept it, minimize it, and if somebody confronts you don’t launch into a tirade about how rad you are and what a gumby he is. Instead, apologize, explain why its necessary, and how you will do this or that to make it right. A decent person sprouts from the ashes of an asshole.

Just do the right thing. You don’t need an ethics manual rolled up in your back pocket to check. We have all crossed the asshole line, and gleefully pulled so and so’s stuck gear while mumbling “gumby” under our breathe, but was that junky cam worth our fleeting ego trip? What makes you feel better is “Hey, slim, I managed to get yer cam out of Sicky-GnarGnar up on the Gargantua, want it back?” He or she might say no anyway.

And if fixed draws bum you out, so should bolts, and so don’t go sport climbing (you are also gonna need a time machine). Luckily for you, Eldo awaits… just try to ignore all the tat hanging off the fixed pins and slung horns and trees…

Finally, the golden circle, be cool to those you meet out there, they just might be pulling traction on yer broken femur a few minutes later while you wail like, well, an asshole.

You might remember Chris from such  films as the Aid Climbing Rant, and How to Raise Your Children to Be Free Climbers. He’s got a top secret project in the works that will soon be bringing joy and entertainment to climbers all over the world, stay tuned.

31 Responses to The Only Rule: Don’t Be An @$$hole

  1. What about this scenario; it is the Rifle Clean up and you (from Boulder) are climbing at the Wasteland. Simultaneously in the Wasteland a number of volunteers are grunting, groaning, sweating their you-know-whats off replacing hardware and making routes safer for all, including you (from Boulder).

    You climb until the sun hits the wall and you start to sweat, at which time you pick up your tank top, stick clip and hummus and move to Ruckman.

    None of your group (from Boulder) says one thing to the volunteers who are still hard at work; no thank you, nothing. So what group does this person(s) fit into A-hole or not? Enlighten me Chris.

    Most likely I am just becoming a bitter old man:)

    Looking forward to the Clean Up next summer!

    Lynn January 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm
  2. This could be fun…Ask Dr. A. Hole! well, a couple years back, I was at the clean-up but had arrived unaware that it was happening. i grabbed a bag and picked up a cig butt or two, but i pretty much climbed just like any other day. by the end of the day you know what? i felt like kinda an asshole. so there you go. however, be careful because aging can make becoming an asshole yerself more likely, kinda like alzheimers. also, your clear prejudice against boulder climbers might qualify as assholery, too. My perscription is to hug a boulder climber next time you have a chance- then duck when her boyfriend takes a swing!

    Chris Kalous January 7, 2011 at 2:01 am
  3. This is solid advice, thank you. However, maybe to avoid the roundhouse right I can just offer each of them a bottle of patchouli oil and a gift certificate for carbon offsets.

    Yes the Ask the Good Doctor should be a regular segment here at Splitterchoss. I am sure there are others out there who really are conflicted and could use your insights, what do you say BJ?

    Lynn January 7, 2011 at 5:59 am
    • Well, Rock and Ice has ask Dr J, we could have ask Dr A!

      BJ Sbarra January 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm
  4. Does he really want to be known as Dr A-hole?

    Lynn January 8, 2011 at 1:42 am
  5. Putting bolts next to perfect stopper placements in bullet hard NRG sandstone in a area of mixed use (sport and trad)… asshole.

    Pulling those bolts? Jackass.

    Putting those bolts back? Bigger asshole.

    Scott January 8, 2011 at 3:37 am
  6. Whoa Scott, who is the doctor here? While I am sure Dr. A will agree with you, self diagnosis can be a dangerous thing.

    I am reminded of a sketch from SNL that backs up my point regarding self diagnosis, hope the link works. The best part starts at 2:30 with Belushi and Murray.

    Remember, “who’s the barber”?

    Lynn January 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm
  7. Thanks, Chris! Well said! I agree 100%. And your last sentence is really so true, no just a climber’s version of the Golden Rule. Every time I read about a climbing accident it is a fellow climber who is first on the scene to provide assistance and sometimes trained medical triage.

    EJ January 10, 2011 at 3:55 am
  8. Dear Dr. A:
    I am looking for a little of your boundless wisdom. My question might be the foundation of a longer post but I will pose it here. Where do dogs, crags, and their owners fit into this whole thing?
    For example, you’re at Rifle surrounded by climbers and dogs from a certain town on the other side of the State.
    What should you do if a dog eats your lunch, pees on your rope, or bites the wanker spraying on the route next door? I would love to get your expert advice on guidelines for appropriate crag behavior by owners, dogs, and dogless (godless?)climbers. Any insight into canine ethics here?

    dave meyer January 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm
  9. So I’m not sure that I can make this a regular thing. Besides, I’m starting a podcast soon that will deal with all these sorts of inquiries.

    The bolting by stopper placements: once again I can’t say there is a hard and fast rule here. Seems easy at first: if you can place good gear, eschew the bolts. However, I’ve climbed routes that require ten or so draws and one or two specific stoppers that go in specific spots, and frankly I thought that was stupid- you rap bolted the god damned thing – just finish the job. Also, there are plenty of sport routes that have pockets and seams where a decent gear-meister could wiggle in some sort of jumbly and feel totally safe (or is it jumble in a wiggly?). Yet, that somehow seems silly. I mean, it makes sense in England where your best cliff is a 25 foot glorified bouldering area where you need to make the most of the precious little rock that’s there. But if I gotta shove one camalot in a horizontal on an otherwise bolted route, I’m gonna have to make an angry comment on MT Project- and nobody wants that!

    So really it depends on the situation (again). Not sure what you mean by a mixed use area but it sounds like you both crossed the line into assholedom. Maybe have beer and work it out before any more bolts get placed and pulled because damage is done to the rock as you know. And the general climbing public usually just rolls their collective eyes at these sorts of mini-dust-ups. Besides, if duder gets really pissed, he’s gonna place titanium glues-ins and then they are there for eternity.

    Dave, your dog questions are a conundrum because I personally do not have the “I love dogs” gene. I like some dogs well enough, but I generally find their neediness to be tedious.

    Kinda like ugly babies, nobody seems to know when they have an asshole dog. Oh yes, dogs are like people in that some are assholes and some are not. How many times have you heard this “He’s not normally like that/does that” as a dog nips, pees, bites, chases, barks, eats, or whatever. You see, the owner can’t tell that awesome Mr Puffypuss is really a piece of shit that should be put down and sold to the Vietnamese take-out place on Pearl Street.

    Unfortunately, we non dog people need to be the bigger mammal in most situations and and just deal because often asshole dogs are owned by assholes who can’t even imagine you don’t love his or her little cuddlygoo with all your heart. Short of crushing its little skull with a boulder, there is not much you can do but move away from the party and eat your pimento loaf in peace.

    So, if the dog is truly a menace at the crags, then the owner who brings it is an asshole. Yet, if you freak out because Rover brushes up against your new 8.8 redpoint special, or takes a sniff at a sandwich left in clear view, or tries to give you oh so sweet smootches- who’s the cutest ever? who’s the sweetest boy?- then you are the asshole.

    chris kalous January 12, 2011 at 1:24 am
  10. Chris, aka Dr.A

    This is hilarious. You’re basically the Nietzsche of climbing mores.

    I have some questions for you about climbing ethics:

    What about bringing your newborn/1-yr-old/7-yr-old to the crag?

    Have you considered the proven science that women absolutely love assholes? This is problematic. What is someone to do who wants to be both respected in the climbing community but also garner the love and adoration of the ladies? How do you resolve this paradox?

    oh, please, tell me Dr. A!

    Andrew Bisharat January 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm
  11. Andrew: I find your science to be laughable, because, seemingly unbeknownst to you, your question indicates that you are in fact an asshole and I, a woman, do not love you at all. As a matter of fact I, a woman, greatly dislike any and all assholes regardless of their looks, financial and marital status, familial relation to me, or anything else that you likely think is a mitigating factor to assholishness.

    Traditionally people who ask the question you ponder above are operating under the simple premise: “That woman I want is not dating me, she is dating that other guy. Therefore he must be an asshole and therefore women must love assholes. Women do not love me, therefore I must be a Nice Guy. I remain single because women do not love Nice Guys. My failure to obtain the woman I desire is due to the simple fact that I am a Nice Guy and wonderful ladies do not love Nice Guys.”

    I would like to open your mind to a new idea: if women don’t like you, perhaps you are an asshole.

    Step one in garnering the love and adoration of the ladies (and to stop being an asshole) is to stop thinking like an adolescent, stop putting women on some bizarre pedestal, stop feeling sorry for your damn pathetic self, and perhaps learn some social skills, especially the one that involves treating women like human beings instead of mythical unobtainable prizes held just out of your reach (where, by the way, they will remain until you learn these skills).

    For additional information, I refer you to:

    Consider that.

    JIll January 17, 2011 at 12:07 am
    • Hold on, back up a second. You mean to tell me there is actually a woman besides Tracy that reads this site? Alright! Bring on the women’s clothing advertisers! I’m gonna be rich!

      BJ Sbarra January 18, 2011 at 5:35 am
  12. I believe what Mr Bisharat is speaking of is what I call the “Good Friends” syndrome. All kind and courteous guys have been through this- and women, but my girlfriends agree that it is something more commonly applied to dudes (although “fag hags”* have experienced with this, too). The syndrome is born of this:

    1. A gentlemen likes a girl that he knows, and decides that to win her love he will just plain be really nice to her, make her laugh, hang out and do the things she wants to do…and not push her to take her panties off (so they may engage in mutual agreed upon and supportive coitus) until she feels really comfortable with him.

    2. Somewhere in that process – no doubt, during a platonic cuddle after watching Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion – she looks him in the eye and says “Gosh, yer such a good friend, I don’t know what I’d do without you!” Our gentlemen’s blood turns to ice. Kiss of death. Maybe she thinks he’s gay? But it’s too late to now do the strong arm, because the shock would certainly make him seem like an asshole. He’s stuck. Plan foiled.

    3. Meanwhile, some douchebag is scamming her the other way, and successfully. How does the gentlemen knows this other guy is an asshole? Because the lady does not waste a chance to cry on the gentlemen’s shoulder about what kind of dick the other guy really is. He cheats, he lies, he treats her like crap, yet she can’t get enough. Our gentlemen tries to be supportive, gently suggesting perhaps she should find another guy, someone she can trust, someone who makes her laugh- SOMEONE RIGHT HERE, YOU DUMB COOZ**!

    4. And so the spell is broken and someone resentful and discouraged like Mr Bisharat emerges. Unhealthy? Certainly. Unheard of? Certainly not.

    Is AB an asshole? Most certainly, but not for this. Is his thinking adolescent? Probably. But you must realize that climbers are the most socially stunted group on the planet. So we are often dealing with a something like the primate exhibit at the zoo- mostly without the flying poo…mostly.

    However, Jill, your humorless tirade that does nothing to acknowledge a very commonly remarked upon dynamic- sometimes called the “project boy” by the older women teachers I worked with- kinda makes you sound like a screetch and an asshole. Common enough to have a whole page on that website you linked “humorlessbitches” or whatever.

    Do assholes get laid? More than nice guys? Of course they do! Are these relationships less likely to result in meaningful lifelong relationships? Sure. But every dude- EVERY ONE- from yer grandpa down to your infant brother- has a place in their brain that just wants to get laid, ASAP, a lot- her feelings be damned. In the case of the little brother, he just wants to hold his poop in, but its the same thing. (They all like porn, too- except little bro- but he will as soon as he can work the mouse- pun intended).

    Jesus, what does this have to do with climbing? Oh, right asshole climbers get the girls. Well, Mr Bisharat, I happen to know that you have a girlfriend that absolutely cranks- harder than you do! So there’s your answer, you asshole.

    *Fag Hag is a commonly used term within the gay community.
    **Cooz is a common colloquial term used by males for a female disliked by said male. Here it is used for comic effect because its the last thing a “nice” guy would be expected to say.

    chris kalous January 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm
  13. Oh, and the kid question? See answer to dog question.

    chris kalous January 18, 2011 at 12:32 am
  14. Wow the gloves are off JIII takes Andrew to the mat! Where is Dr. A to save the day? I am too scared to go to, Chris maybe you could just give us a synopsis.

    Lynn January 18, 2011 at 3:17 am
  15. I am really looking forward to sitting down and sifting through all the Kalousifications (ramifications of Kalous’ keyboard) but Jill, quick question – why is Andrew suddenly an asshole for posting something kind of benign and sort of funny about Chris’ rules of engagement?

    Jamie Lynn Miller January 19, 2011 at 1:04 am
    • Holy crap, that’s two women now…in the same week even!

      BJ Sbarra January 19, 2011 at 3:10 am
  16. Jill

    You may be a woman. I may be an asshole. But you may also have a clitoris the size of a summer squash, making you the Dick in this relationship. However, just because You are a Dick, and I am an Asshole, don’t tell me that you don’t feel this burning passion, this unrequited love!

    Oh, if only we didn’t have the prosaic prose of a forum to mask our TRUE feelings! You obviously have been burned by men in the past, for you carry quite a chip on your shoulder. What an irrational response–even for a woman!

    But true love makes people do and say crazy things. You’re so cute.

    Jill, I beseech you! Please put to rest all your daddy issues! Cast away your failed relationships with those other lame assholes. I guarantee you that you have never met an asshole as wonderful as me! I am the one, Jill, the Don Juan De Culo. Can you not see it? Can you not feel it. Yes, it’s finally becoming clearer to me.


    It’s only a matter of time, JIll, before you, too, realize that this is true. Accepting it will be difficult at first. But soon enough, you will be swooning as I drag you to crags and force you to belay me all day. Your heart will flutter every time you get to flake my rope at the base of my next project. You will sigh and bat your eyelashes as I trundle rocks past your head on my next new route, your eyes filled with dreams of one day finally getting me to give you a toprope catch.

    And just when you think I might finally say the words every woman wants to hear–You are on belay–sadly, the relationship will be over. Because I will have found a new belayer, who is much younger and she also has a Grigri 2.

    But it was good while it lasted, Jill. Damn good.

    Andrew Bisharat January 19, 2011 at 6:47 am
  17. Oh dear. Good times, good times.

    Jamie Lynn Miller January 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm
  18. Summer squash. What an opener. Dr. A bows down.

    chris kalous January 20, 2011 at 3:26 am
  19. Dear AB; Jill sends her greetings. She asked me to deliver a message for you. Here goes:

    “Oh mighty keyboard warrior, while you were fifth-draft editing your brain damaged version of War and Peace here, I was ice climbing at Ouray, where they know what the word “trundle” means. Thanks for certifying your credentials as not ONLY an asshole, but also as the kind of illiterate blowhard who spews on for paragraphs…showering forums with the product for which assholes are frequently known: Verbal Diarrhea. Perhaps there is an appetite for what you spew, but it is not with me. I am going to leave that to your ‘friends’ here, and to your imaginary ‘girlfriend’ (She’s really quite Fly ). May you continue to bring a copraphagic smile to all of their faces. Cheerio.”

    The Messenger January 25, 2011 at 5:52 am
  20. God damn it, where do I start? Jill and her (anonymous) champion are the only ones on here that are actually calling people assholes, for real, without a wink, or a smile. And they have the gall to get on AB’s case because he loaded and fired back. If you don’t like it, don’t call somebody an asshole and expect them to lay down.

    Talk about assholes.

    Besides, its not real, he doesn’t mean it, its an extrapolation of an idea that’s related to Jill’s post, not Jill for real, because we don’t know Jill. Get it? Crap, its like explaining literary theory to 4-year-olds!

    Read AB’s retort carefully, its masterful in so many ways. While no “Modest Proposal” its pretty tight. I happen to know that far from five drafts, this shit pours out him like puss from a herpe. “The Messenger” just can’t imagine anybody writing whole paragraphs in just a few minutes. Whole paragraphs?! Imagine.

    And what’s with duder letting us know how he went ice climbing today. Presumably he stopped being rad just long enough to not only find this forum, read it, and reply to it with the typical “forums are a waist of time” irony, but threw a link in there of a page that he researched just for the occasion.

    But he’s made it clear he’s not coming back. Sure. You are probably reading this right now while icing his bloated forearms after a rad TR sesh at the park.

    Google must have had to throw thousands of servers online just to field the forums about how forums are a waste of time.

    I worked 8 hours today, wrote these great big paragraphs, and now am going climbing! All in one day. I might even check my Facebook page! Wow, how DO I manage?

    chris kalous January 26, 2011 at 1:21 am
  21. Dear Msr Kalous,
    Let’s not “waist” any more of your time. The link was for the benefit of AB. Also? Jill’s response is pretty funny, as is mine. You just don’t see it that way because you’re getting all defensive about AB being an asshole…which is your quote, right? “Is AB an asshole? Most definitely…”. That’s you, right?

    Is it only comedy when it’s not you?

    Only if you’re an asshole.

    Here, without a link, is all I have to say about it.



    Messenger January 26, 2011 at 5:32 am
    • Yeah, I’m gonna have to side with Chris on this one. Jill’s initial response was way out there, and everything else here was in jest and good fun until she came along and started ranting. Maybe since we don’t know her we can’t see the humor in it, or maybe it’s weird since you guys don’t know that we are all friends and can call each other names that we don’t in fact mean. Basically I think this little exchange has run its course, thanks for playing everyone.

      BJ Sbarra January 26, 2011 at 6:40 am
  22. Personally, I like to try to respect the ethics of an area. If I’m new, I ask. Now, having said that, anyone that thinks that girls don’t like assholes is not only an asshole, but a socially inept and unexperienced one. It’s 2011 and this concept is now common knowledge.

    There is another type of assholery at work here though, and I am basking in its glory. The sarcasm here is like a fine wine, only without the price and pompous snobbery. Where might I fine-tune the ability to put on such a display of wit?

    Angry women aside, this is probably the best thread I’ve ever read; thanks to the sarcasm. AB, you’re right, although still somewhat of an asshole for being so. Oh the irony. Chris, boy, you’s a puuuuuuuure genius.

    Jake January 30, 2011 at 1:27 am
    • Jake, stay tuned for more from Chris in the coming months. He does have a way with words, no?

      BJ Sbarra February 2, 2011 at 12:02 am
  23. This was just…wait for it,….wait,…..AWESOME!! and yes, that is a double exclamation point. A most excellent thread for sure.

    Even though she obviously has some deep seated issues we really must thank Jill for steppin it up a notch here. Really, excellent commentary everyone! Continue on please.

    These are all very important discussions I would consider being a part of now, however, I’m not so sure i don’t want to be considered an asshole. Or is that the other way around? Hmmmmmmmm?

    Ryan February 2, 2011 at 7:00 am
  24. “…and she also has a Grigri 2.” Hilarious!

    Anyone getting upset by what people write on forums when they’re obviously messing around with you: asshole!

    Ian M February 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm
  25. Hilarious!!! Anger issues + assholism = witty & sharp. Glad I stopped by.

    Jethros mama July 16, 2011 at 4:42 am
  26. Pingback: “I’m Suuuuuch a Nice Guy!” - Geargals

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