Perception is everything. No matter what you were told by your first grade teacher, books are always judged by their cover. Sure, that initial judgement is subject to change when more information is gathered, but a first impression is still a very powerful thing.
With that in mind, here is the first installment of an ongoing series designed to help you not look like a total dweeb at the gym or crag.
Exhibit A: the chalk bag
There is a reason all chalk bags have a belt loop, and that reason is not so you can clip it off to the side on a random gear loop. The chalk bag should be worn around the waist, secured by some sort of belt device (accessory cord, shoe string, nylon belt, etc.) and positioned at the small of your back, providing an equal opportunity for each hand to reach it. And for crying out loud, make sure the dang thing is open!
Exhibit B: the bare feet
This should be a no-brainer, for several reasons. Number one, no one else wants to see your nasty climber feet. Gross. The floors are dirty enough as is, pal, so put those things away. Number two, you don’t want your own feet co-existing with the unidentifiable communal funk that inhabits the surface of every floor. Number three, you need to stand on your toes to climb well, so why increase the risk of bashing your feet on a rock or dropping a quickdraw on your freshly pedicured phalanges? Think of shoes as stylish foot helmets that have the added benefit of protecting future significant others from the sight of your gnarly tootsies.
Exhibit C: the bling
Rings, watches, droopy necklaces and hoopy earrings…take ’em off! The only thing a watch can do while you are climbing is break and any other fashionable accoutrements can only get stuck/pinned/caught/pinched/crushed and cause grievous bodily harm and/or disfigurement.
Exhibit D: the harness
First of all, a harness should never be worn while bouldering. Never ever. This is cardinal sin. Second of all, the harness is not where you keep all your climbing crap; that is what a pack is for. A harness should only carry the tools necessary for the task at hand. So if you are in a gym, there should be NOTHING on your harness. Not a nut tool, not a roll of tape, definitely not a chalkbag clipped to a gear loop (see Exhibit A), not a daisy chain girth hitched to your belay loop, not three prussiks and half a rack of quickdraws…