For years climbers have been shilling the same tired excuses on their partners as if requesting pardons for their censurable performance on routes and boulder problems well within (and sometimes well OUT of) their ability range. These shoes don’t fit/the rubber sucks. This route just isn’t my style. My skin sucks right now. I’m just distracted today. And the list goes on and on ad nauseam. It’s time we legitimized our reasons for failure. We look pathetic still complaining about our inferior rubber when technology is such that even the worst pair of shoes would probably climb better without us.
So I set about to create an updated list of excuses for a new age of climbers who need to sound legitimate when facing our peers in the wake of defeat. Trust me. These will work.
OLD: I’m so wiped out, this is my third day on.
UPGRADE: I’m so busy, this is my first day out in forever.
Where to start with this load of garbage? 1) No one is sensitive to the fact that you’ve been able to climb three days in a row. 2) No one finds this to be reasonable since you knowingly embarked on this trip with two days under your belt already. Instead flip that script into a story of rebirth as you reacquaint yourself with the rock. Remember to use it before you climb to set expectations low. It also shows that you’re excited and thankful for your few moments climbing instead of annoyingly privileged with all the time you can spend recreating.
OLD: I’m pretty hungover. I threw up like a lot last night.
UPGRADE: I’m pretty tired. My kid threw up like all over me all night last night.
It’s time to grow up kids, and that means maybe blaming more of your problems on your own flesh and blood. At some point in your life you probably took a step back and realized the reason your pal’s couldn’t suck down another shot of well-whiskey and “hit the club” is because they were busy raising a new person to pay for your Medicare when you have liver and kidney failure. You can’t scoff at a man whose excuse is rooted in responsibility making this a surefire way to garner sympathy and maybe even a free brew after the day’s over. If you’re barren try the sometimes effective but considerably less impactful sick-pet version.
OLD: This crack isn’t good for my hand size.
UPGRADE: This crack isn’t good for my cam size.
The whole reason we use excuses is to remove the blame from ourselves as much as possible. Why not shift the problem from strength—our source of pride and joy in climbing—to our ineptitude with gear. Of course you would have been able to send that route if you wouldn’t have struggled so long to get that piece of pro situated properly. Everyone knows trad climbing is tricky. It’s pretty much the sole reason there are so many boulderers, you have to be smart to place gear.
OLD: I don’t think I warmed up properly/enough.
UPGRADE: I don’t think I drank/ate properly/enough.
If you’re going to site your inability to take personal responsibility for your own success, you might as well make it about something no one else can see. Warming up is one of those nebulous areas of climbing that relies on personal preferences but also rests in some pretty straightforward physiological principles. Plus you can always just take a break and reset. With foodborne illness, feel free to push that show all the way to the Daytime Emmys. Complain every so often about your bowels. Use words like blockage and BM. Excuse yourself for lengths of time hidden in the woods. If you have the talent, crop-dust nearby belayers to strengthen your case for lower intestinal disruption. Everyone’s been there. Your sins will be pardoned.
Andrew doesn’t have to use any of these excuses because he doesn’t climb outside anymore. He does however want you to leave your best excuses in the comments so that if he ever does venture outside the walls of his gym, he’ll have something to fall back on.