• Can Sleeping on Your Rope Cause Damage?
  • Will Dog Urine Harm My Rope?
  • What's the Point of Spotting Highball Boulder Problems?
  • Closet Car: Is it Safe to Store Climbing Gear in Your Vehicle?
  • Do Twists in a Figure-8 Knot Reduce Its Safety?
  • Can a Belay Device Jam Open?
  • Marking the Middle of a Rope
  • Fitting Rock Shoes to Problematic Feet
  • Defining the Cheater Stick and Stick Clip
  • When Your Partner Steals Your Gear...
  • Can You Climb on a Wet Rope?
  • Can You Decrease Fall Factor?
  • Should You Be Allowed to Practice Lead Falls in the Gym?
  • Rope Certifications: Twins, Doubles, or Both?
  • Are Cam Placements Compromised in Wet Rock?
  • What's the Correct Way to Girth Hitch to Your Harness?
  • Choosing Ice Screw Length
  • The Holding Power of Nuts
  • Should You Clip the Belay As Your First Lead Pro?
  • Should I Worry About Spinning Bolt Hangers?
  • Belay-Loop Myth
  • Rock Cleaning Made Easy
  • More, on the EDK
  • Why Not Clip Directly to Cam-Stem Loops?
  • Can You Recommend A Self-Release Knot?
  • What's The Protocol For Naming a Route After Yourself?
  • Is Dropped Gear Still Safe?
  • Can Ropes and Slings Be Contaminated By Essential Oils?
  • Is It Okay to Wear Socks with Rock Climbing Shoes?
  • How Should You Test Gear Placements?
  • Can You Use Adhesive Tape on Ropes, Cords, Webbing?
  • A Better EDK?
  • What's the Difference Between a Double and a Single Rope?
  • Does It Count As a Free Ascent If You Grab the Anchor?
  • Can You Use Cams As Passive Pro?
  • I Found a Rope - Is it Safe to Use?
  • Am I Using a Daisy Chain Wrong?
  • Should I Buy a Plastic or Foam Helmet?
  • Why Doesn't Anyone Climb in Knickers Anymore?
  • Is Weight or Range More Important in Cams?
  • The Mysterious Phenomenon of Rope Shrinkage
  • Worst-Case Scenario - A Factor 2 Fall
  • The Trouble With Glue-In Bolts
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Nuts and Bolts
  • Why Are Climbing Shoes So Expensive?
  • Flaws in the Yosemite Decimal System
  • How Durable is Trad Gear?
  • Using Super Glue on Your Fingers
  • The Worst Gear Ever Invented
  • Rap Ring Strength
  • Spinners and Losers
  • Why Do People Use Oval Biners?
  • Is it Ethical to Clean a New Route?
  • Aid Climbing = Moped Riding
  • Cam Care and Maintenance Guide
  • Will Sweat Harm My Harness?
  • Should You Use Rope or Webbing to Connect to an Anchor?
  • Choosing Between C4s and Friends
  • Can You Lead On a Static Rope?
  • Can I Use Climbing Bolts For Anchors in a Gym?
  • Are My Modified Crampons Safe?
  • Are Falls Held or Breaking Strength More Important In a Rope?
  • Does Poop Harm a Climbing Rope?
  • Are Homemade Draws Reliable?
  • Shopping for Economy Carabiners
  • When You Fly, Can You Carry On Climbing Gear?
  • Can I Trust Fixed Draws?
  • Which Helmet WIll Fit My Big Head?
  • Are Adjustable Leg Loops Useful?
  • Should I clip Ice Screws with Screamers?
  • How do I Make a Bomber Anchor?
  • Can I Modify my Crampon Without Compromising the Integrity?
  • How to Place Ice Tools and Crampons - Will Gadd's Tips
  • How to Place Ice Screws - Will Gadd's Tips
  • Hot Versus Cold Forging
  • Caring For Your Fingertips
  • Are Sewn Slings Stronger Than Knotted Ones?
  • When to Replace Climbing Webbing
  • Using Grip Dip To Color Code Gear
  • The Benefits of Cotton
  • How to Pull a Rappel Rope
  • How to Properly Orient a Carabiner Gate
  • Are My Fuzzy Quickdraws Safe?
  • How to Stretch Climbing Shoes
  • Are 1/2-inch bolts really better than 3/8-inch?
  • Should I Resole My Rock Shoes?
  • How to Hand Drill
  • Lonely Climber Looking for Woman
  • Is My Invented Knot Safe?
  • Difference Between Double and Twin Ropes
  • Dealing With an Argumentative Partner
  • Will Antifreeze Ruin Rope?
  • Why Is a Rack Called a Rack?
  • Rock Shoes For a Big Guy
  • Do They Kill Geese To Get Down?
  • How to Wash a Rope
  • Do Cam Teeth Do Anything?
  • Can I Fix Delaminated Rock Shoes?
  • Can I Mix a Static With a Dynamic Rope for Rappelling?
  • Should You Lower Or Rap Through Anchors?
  • How Should The Middle Man Tie In?
  • How Do I Get a Good Climbing Man?
  • Do Falls Weaken Bolts?
  • Should I Rope Solo?
  • Should I Angle Ice Screws Down?
  • How Should Old Climbers Train?
  • Can I Make a Belay Loop?
  • Reusing Ice Screw Holes
  • Overcoming the Fear of Falling
  • Choosing a Stove Fuel
  • Will My Hiking Boots Work With Crampons?
  • Do Heavy People Shock Load the Rope?
  • Can Offset Cams Subsitute for Regular Cams?
  • Can I Resling My Cams Myself?
  • Are Older Alien Cams Safe?
  • Will sports drinks freeze more slowly than water?
  • The Truth About Climbing Supplements
  • Can I Make My Leashed Tools, Leashless?
  • Rope Stretch Facts
  • How To Cut a Rope Without a Knife
  • Secrets of the Toprope
  • How to Sharpen Crampons
  • Should I Become a Climbing Guide?
  • Preventing Climbing Rope Wear
  • How to Remove an Old Bolt
  • How to Customize Ice Tool Picks
  • Double Rope Facts
  • Do It Yourself Fruit Boots
  • Climbing Rope Sheath Slippage
  • Rockfall Safety
  • Do Screamers Work?
  • Climbing Skin Care
  • Selecting a Gym Rope
  • Quick Links for Climbing
  • Are Russian Cams Good?
  • When To Retire Climbing Gear and Ropes
  • Should I Get a Link Cam?
  • How to Get a Climbing Mate
  • Using Steel Carabiners for Fixed Quickdraws
  • Petzl Tibloc and Climbing Rope Sheath Damage
  • Overcoming Anger
  • Fixing a Spinning Bolt
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    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    Should I Become a Climbing Guide?


    I’m considering becoming a guide. Any suggestions?

     “I get paid to do what I’d do for free!” is the guide’s mantra. But really, guiding does to climbing what being an adult-film star does to fornication: You get paid to scratch that interminable itch, but after a couple of seasons not even a quart jar of Viagra can get you to tie in on your day off.

    Perhaps I paint too ghastly a picture. If you like to read, guiding is your vocation—the seasonal employment also means seasonal unemployment. Tomes such as Atlas Shrugged, A Man in Full and Archaeology, History and Custer’s Last Battle: The Little Bighorn Reexamined (I have a signed edition) make that idle time just flutter by.

    One of my favorite guiding memories is the time I got the call to take a pot-bellied and bald(ing) hard rocker and his band (with bodyguards) out for a day of exercise on the stone. Never mind that it was 105 degrees midsummer and you could have grilled brains on the granite slabs. Also never mind that Lord Rocker had been up most of the night romancing the love of his life, a shapely woman plucked randomly from the previous evening’s concert crowd. It had been, said the rocker as we Hoovered down breakfast waffles, a vigorous night for him. For an hour he regaled us with the honest, salacious details of human anatomy that are normally reserved for your sister’s diary.

    When, near the culmination of his tale, he described how the woman swept her arm to clear off the coffee table (“needed a hard work surface”) and sent his beloved ghetto blaster crashing to the penthouse floor, I thought he actually might cry.

    “So,” I asked, “where is she now?”

    “Who’s that?” he replied.

    Heat radiated off the stone in visible waves, but the band and Lord Rocker relaxed easily in the shade of a dark hemp cloud, humming, strumming the air guitar and giving the humpty-hump pelvic action to anyone who walked past.

    They took turns “gang banging” a 5.10 undercling flake that I’d strung up over a little spring-fed pond that the band kept diving into despite me pointing out an adjacent heap of old transformers, the lids of which had been pried off and the liquid PCB mysteriously missing.

    The undercling flake smacked of Yosemite’s own Wheat Thin, about 60 feet long and sharp as a ginsu blade out where you grabbed it, except that this blade was, unknown to me, held to the wall with fairy dust. When the lead guitarist, a bony-fingered rocker, white as Dracula and with a mane of hair you could sweep the house with, reached the end of the flake, it lurched out from the wall a solid foot, then cut loose trailing a comet’s tail of fine granite dust. The axeman, wide-eyed, bobbed onto the rope, grabbed his crotch with both hands and let out a scream that could have pierced a kevlar vest.

    I froze. Directly below and buck naked except for a fat bandana he kept firmly knotted around his baldness (the rock star’s equivalent of a comb over) basked Lord Rock. The granite blade torpedoed into the water, sending up a 50-foot geyser that hosed down the entire band and snuffed out the Lord’s smouldering doobie.

    Certain that I was about to be fired for nearly rendering Rock Lord into an unrecognizable red pulp, I quietly lowered the guitarist.

    For a moment it was as quiet as a nunnery. All eyes turned to His Lord.

    “Cooool,” he said, then rubbed some of the pond water into his chest.

    When at last the day was over and it came time to settle up, the band’s manager tipped me 50 bucks.

    “Lord Rock wanted to thank you personally,” said the manager, “for the best time he’s had since stumbling into the contortionists’ convention in Vegas, but he is indisposed.”

    The manager leaned against the band’s tour bus. Airbrushed from stern to stem, the Greyhound blazed with a garish scene from the Northwest Face of Half Dome depicting Lord Rock penduluming madly across the rock while flipping the Devil’s horns with both hands and Kung Fu kicking the air. The bus lurched and I could hear muffled screaming inside. For a moment I thought his Lordship was disemboweling one of the bodyguards, then I recognized the title cut from his most recent hit album.

    Lesson: Forget guiding. Get yourself a guitar and take voice lessons. Next!


    GOT A QUESTION? E-mail Gear Guy! rockandicegearguy@gmail.com

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