The Yuppie is among the most common species of climber sighted at Index and, a few quirks aside, one of the most benign. Yuppies can most often be found on clean, popular multi-pitch climbs in the 5.8-5.10 range and can be approached safely.
The Yuppie will be well equipped, but his or her gear will show signs of mild, low intensity, long duration, wear. Look for faded, but not abraded, ropes and harnesses. More technical gear will often appear new, but be one or more generations out of date, this is best observed in items that gear manufacturers update frequently, like helmets and carabiners. The Yuppie will often fastidiously mark their gear and the female Yuppie will almost always be equipped with gender specific equipment.
The Yuppie often has a background in hiking and/or mountaineering, so the astute observer will notice that their backpacks and footwear are often designed for those enterprises, rather than specifically for rock climbing. Because of this they will often be environmentally minded and are rarely seen littering, playing loud music, or trampling vegetation.
Yuppies rock climb almost exclusively as mated pairs, this produces a few behavioral issues noted below, but also serves as an identifying characteristic, larger groups of Yuppies will always be even in number and have equal numbers of males and females.
Tips For Interaction
If approaching a group, or more often a couple, of Yuppies, expect to be greeted in a friendly manner and then ignored completely; for the Yuppie, rock climbing is a pastime much like visiting a restaurant or attending a concert and they often pretend they are the only people there, not, as it may seem, out of rudeness, but because they believe this to be the proper social conduct.
As noted above, Yuppies travel in mated pairs and if isolated their behavior can change dramatically. Yuppies are capable of normal interaction with observers of the opposite sex only when in the presence of their mate, when separated Yuppie females tend to be become extremely guarded and withdrawn while males become nervous and ill-tempered.
Preferred Habitat: Aries, Godzilla-Slow Children link-up, GM Route, Rattletale, Davis-Holland
The Bro With His Girl
This species of climber appears to form a couple, much like the equally common Yuppie, but is, in fact, singular. The female accompanying the Bro With His Girl is not actually a climber and is best characterized as a display designed to achieve a social status. If the girl can be observed climbing as well or better than the Bro With His Girl then the classification is inappropriate (see The Pre-Yuppie, The Northwestern Collegiate Flock, or the critically endangered Normal Human Being).
The Bro With His Girl is best identified by his well developed, carefully preened, ego. Indeed, the name of the species is entirely derived from these efforts, as His Girl is a deliberately selected specimen designed to insure his status among other climbers, while the climbing is a deliberate mating stance designed to impress His Girl.
The equipment, clothing, and plumage of the Bro may vary greatly but that of His Girl does not. She will invariably be well kept, with immaculate make-up and hair, and will usually be wearing generic athletic clothing, usually of a bright hue and a tight fit. Her climbing gear will almost always be new, but do not consider this to be an intrinsic characteristic because it will, on occasion, be borrowed.
Tips For Interaction
Be careful approaching this species, especially following either a failed climbing attempt or a wildly successful one, as the Bro’s behavior may be dangerously erratic, hostile, or braggadocious. The Bro With His Girl will often view the approach of an observer as a chance to spray, that is, to mention, seemly off-hand, his climbing accomplishments, for no other purpose than to let it be known. The observer should remember that he or she is not really the audience of this display, instead this is a ploy designed to impress His Girl. Should the observer validate the Bro’s accomplishments by acting impressed or asking for additional information the Bro will usually be quite pleased.
Preferred Habitat: Lower Town Wall base, The Country base, Private Idaho, Toxic Shock area
The Digger has become one of the more rare species of climber to be sited at the Index Town Walls and is much more commonly found at climbing areas like Three-O-Clock Rock and Spring Mountain. Once locally common, the Digger has been driven away by the large expanses of clean stone that have come to predominate at Index, his preferred habitat being low angle, brush-choked, cliffy outcroppings that can easily be top-roped.
Much of the Digger’s paraphernalia will be unfamiliar to the average people watcher and therefore the Digger may not be identified as a climber at all, but rather as some sort of bizarre, cliffside, gardener. If not in their preferred habitat, look for a haggard, somewhat elderly, appearance, a certain distant expression usually associated with Vietnam veterans, and a thin coating of dirt or rock dust. Those with some experience with this species will start to identify hand drills, wire brushes, crow bars, and trowels.
Tips For Interaction
Approaching a Digger can be a risky proposition, as the observer’s presence is likely to cause them to feel that a crag is becoming “overcrowded,” leading them to become grumpy and then flee. The best procedure is to begin by showing extraordinary appreciation for their work (even if you don’t know any of the routes they have established, a certain vagueness can be sufficient) and then try to find a common acquaintance: “aren’t you the guy who climbed that route with so-and-so” etc. If you can successfully establish yourself as a friend of a friend, the Digger will typically become quite amiable.
Preferred Habitat: The Diamond, The Duck Wall, Dana’s Arch area, the Lower Lump.
The Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender
Status: Locally Common
Although not technically rare, the range of the Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender has always been more limited than most; luckily for the local people watcher, the Index Town Walls are currently an excellent place to sight this species. A close relative of the Greater Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender, the Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender prefers the smaller crowds and lower expectations of places like Index to more prominent areas like Squamish, Yosemite, and Indian Creek, where competition for mates is much more intense.
The Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender is easily identified by his or her roost: most often a well-equipped van but occasionally a Subaru or small pick-up truck. The key is that this is not just a mode of transportation, but a dwelling; look for custom built organizational systems, bedding, and a certain lived-in aroma. While on the rock, Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Senders can be identified by an ease with project grades, a preference for flip-flops while belaying, a particularly manky set of slings, and by any snack-food they consume, which will be peculiar and usually homemade.
Tips For Interaction
With a characteristically high stoke level, the Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender can be approached with some ease as long as the observer mimics this attitude. Affecting a gut-thrusting bro accent, being somewhat touchy-feely, and frequent exclamations of “go for it, man” can all be helpful. The greatest danger in approaching a Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender is his or her lack of any aversion to dirt, which the typical observer generally tries to keep out of their food, books, and other perishable possessions; lend any of these items to the Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender at your own risk.
Preferred Habitat: The Cheeks, UTW sport routes, Natural Log Cabin.
The Hippie Crone
While sightings of this species are rare, the people watcher should be aware that their numbers, although low, are not actually in decline. The prevailing theory is that the increasing popularity of such post-hippie activities as stand-up paddle boarding, urban biking, and sustainable farming is drawing this species away from the cliffs. The increased numbers of Yuppies and Bros With Their Girls is probably also to blame, as the Hippie Crone often competes with these species for moderate top-ropes and easy multi-pitches.
The Hippie Crone often appear very similar to an elderly, female, Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender, with the typically strange food choices, inexplicable belief system, and habitual vagrancy. The primary distinguishing characteristic is that while an aging, female, Lesser Van-Dwelling Migratory Sender will maintain a distinctly athletic vibe, the Hippie Crone with gravitate toward the aesthetic of the habitual backpacker. The Hippie Crone is also much more likely to smoke cigarettes and/or marijuana.
Tips For Interaction
The behavior of the Hippie Crone is notoriously unpredictable. If she takes a liking to the observer, she may ply them with food and other offerings and generally adopt a maternal orientation. If not, she is likely to dismiss an observer off-hand and pretend, much like the Yuppie, that they do not exist. In general, the smaller in number and more childlike in appearance the observer, the more likely the Hippie Crone will be to unceremoniously adopt them into her flock. Large, loud, groups of bearded men and well-dressed women are more likely to arouse her ire.
Preferred Habitat: The Country, Roger’s Corner, Great Northern Slab area.