You saw the climber from across the gym. Maybe they set up the pads perfectly beneath that Bishop highball. Maybe they were crushing that spicy trad route at the Cookie Cliff in Yosemite. However you saw them, you realized that they were the perfect partner. Looks can be deceiving though and reality can be even harsher. Sometimes. despite your best intentions, your partner may not be that into you. Here’s a few signs to look out for.
1.Your partner claims they’re not ready for committing routes
This is a classic escape route. While the step from climbing at Dogpatch Boulders climbing gym to five days on El Capitan is big enough to scare anyone, most partners should be willing to commit to some adventure. If a partner tells you they’re not ready for a committing climb, what they really mean is that they’re not into a committing climb with you. For whatever reason, they don’t see you as a solid partner. Don’t stick around hoping that things will change. They may move into longer routes some day but you probably won’t be holding the rope.
Is this a familiar scene? Don’t settle for a supporting role.
2. You’re always the one belaying, never the one sending
Climbers will do anything to find a partner that will belay them on their project. Bribes, promises, whatever it takes. Be wary of partners who drag you to places that aren’t your style of climbing. If you only boulder, avoid the partner who wants a belay on an A5 pitch 1500 feet up El Cap.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If your partner doesn’t return your belay the first time, they may be genuinely busy or just playing hard to get. If they don’t offer a belay the second time around, move on and find a partner who wants to help you succeed.
3. Your partner makes you carry all the gear
Many climbers over look this. Shouldering the heavy load can be easy. Grabbing the rope and the rack comes naturally to some but if you’re always carry the weight, be careful. You may be falling into the ropegun category and being used. Also, watch out for the partner who sneaks off with your gear as well. The free loader who saunters to the crag without the rope or rack probably is taking advantage of you. Pass them up the next time they want to climb.
4. They try to set you up with other partners
Your partner might do this because it never really crossed their mind to actually climb with you more than on a casual basis. Alternatively, they may do this because they like you as a friend but not as a climbing partner. Either way, it’s obvious your partner isn’t that into you.
5. They are always vague about making plans
If they really want to climb with you, they’ll make firm plans. If they’re ambivalent, you can guess they’re not that into you. A partner who is vague about plans probably isn’t that into you or doesn’t want to commit in case something better comes up. Ouch.
6. They regularly cancel plans with you
Let me break it to you gently: you’re the next best option. One minute, you’re ready to head to Lover’s Leap for a weekend of awesome trad climbing. The next minute your partner cancels to go bouldering at Indian Rock. Unless a family member died, there’s no reason to downgrade climbing options. A partner who regularly switches plans or who bails on you altogether is showing signs of not being into you. The same goes for a partner who calls you Saturday morning to climb because their regular partner bailed. Watch out for this conniving partner.
7.Their description of the perfect partner sounds nothing like you
Your partner tells you their ideal partner would got to Rocklands in South Africa to climb V10 with them. You spend every summer in Vedawoo climbing 5.10 offwidth. Partners rarely stick to what they say in terms of ideals, and they may actually enjoy thrashing up some grovel fest in Yosemite, but in all likelihood, this won’t be with you. Take it as a hint that you’re not the perfect partner.