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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After viewing a lot of the videos that get posted here, I think someone
should point out the necessity for a good experienced spotter.

There are subtle clues that reveal whether or not you have one in front of you.
They'll use standard terms like "Driver" or "Passenger" instead of saying stuff like "my way" "over there" and "right" or "left".
They'll also say it loud and clear and use hand signals. I also see videos where at least 1 other person is trying to spot.

I realize that on an easy trail this isn't such a big deal, but I've seen videos where everyone in the area is acting like a spotter.
I know they think they are helping, but they are just adding confusion to an already stressful situation. I've seen people volunteering to spot, including kids and wives with zero experience.
People have a natural desire to help, but when you have several people all giving commands things get hairy and an easy line can turn disastrous.

If you see me on the trail or at Jambo, when there's 10 people giving direction, you'll notice I ignore everyone but the 1 person I've identified as my spotter. :wink

Incidentally I found this PDF file that shows the standard trail spotting hand signals. Someone might find this useful.
 

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Spotting is definitely one of my pet peeves. I seldom use a spotter unless it's an obstacle that I simply can't see enough of to attempt without someone else's perspective that's in a position to see it better than I can. I'm also extremely careful about who I let spot me, and I go over EXACTLY how I want to be spotted up (or down) an obstacle. It's pretty astonishing how many folks will volunteer to spot someone with little to no experience having spotted anyone before. I've also seen experienced spotters make fairly serious mistakes on formidable terrain that they're not very familiar with. Also, just because someone is an excellent driver does NOT necessarily mean they're a particularly good spotter. If I'm spotting someone I always go over exactly how I plan to spot them on an obstacle, as well as cover all the hand signals I'm likely to use and what each of them means. I also warn them if they fail to follow my instructions to the letter I'll quit spotting them immediately and they're on their own at that point. Here's a picture of some kid that wasn't with our group that wanted to be spotted up Hell's Gate but totally ignored my spotting input. I didn't have much sympathy for the situation he got himself into.
 

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