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Alex_Mineev

Intermediate climbing from The Mountaineers

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I took the Mounties basic course and dropped out of the intermediate course.

 

I think the basic course provides a good general background for mountaineering. The intermediate course is only good if you want to stay in the Mounties system.

 

If you want to be a hard core Mounty climber then take the class.

 

If you want to be a competent unaffiliated climber then: climb a bunch, take short seminars, consider hiring a guide for a day or two.

 

The only real bitch I have about the Mounties system is the use of intermediate students(last years basic students) as instructors.

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AlpineK said:

I took the Mounties basic course and dropped out of the intermediate course.

 

I think the basic course provides a good general background for mountaineering. The intermediate course is only good if you want to stay in the Mounties system.

 

If you want to be a hard core Mounty climber then take the class.

 

If you want to be a competent unaffiliated climber then: climb a bunch, take short seminars, consider hiring a guide for a day or two.

 

The only real bitch I have about the Mounties system is the use of intermediate students(last years basic students) as instructors.

Kurt, you have a valid point, however I should point out that these inexperienced instructors start out as assistant instructors, that is, they are paired with more experienced lead instructors. At least that is how it is done in the Everett Branch. I don't know how it is done in other branches of the Mountaineers.

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scot'teryx said:

Find a mentor and learn from them and their mistakes.

The intermediate climbs are pretty stupid from what I have heard. You really want to go climb "Gaper Rock" and lead "Sabre" with the Mounties?

YUCK!

crazy.gif

 

I just got back from a four-day Mountaineers trip to Washington Pass that fulfilled the Intermediate Rock climbs that I needed to graduate. We (four of us on two days, three of us on the other two -- the fourth was feeling sick) climbed a bunch of stupid stuff:

 

Liberty Bell: Barberpole, Overexposure

Concord: Cave Route

NEWS: NW Corner

SEWS: East Buttress Direct, SW Rib (with steep fingercrack variation)

Cutthroat: South Buttress

 

Like I said, we climbed a bunch of stupid stuff. We also climbed slowly and inefficiently as well, for example doing Cutthroat car-to-car in 6.5 hours, including spending half an hour on the summit and another twenty minutes lounging around by a stream on the way down.

 

So if you want to climb stupid stuff and travel at a snail's pace, the Mountaineers are for you!

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Gary_Yngve said:

for example doing Cutthroat car-to-car in 6.5 hours,

 

WHERE IS THE GPS RECORD AND PLEASE NAME YOUR 3 WITNESSES - no avatars!!!! boxing_smiley.gif

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Dru said:

Gary_Yngve said:

for example doing Cutthroat car-to-car in 6.5 hours,

 

WHERE IS THE GPS RECORD AND PLEASE NAME YOUR 3 WITNESSES - no avatars!!!! boxing_smiley.gif

I'll guess one of the guys was SEF. Mister "Traverse the Liberty Bell Group in One Day" yelrotflmao.gif

 

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The Mounties should have an Intermediate equivalency test. I'd argue for it, but it's like shouting into the wind. Boealps has an intermediate course which lasts six months for every other weekend covering the same stuff and there's no commitment to teach the basic class. It's a bit more laid back in that the club is much smaller but there are plenty of anal-retentive and frat-pack 90210 members. The class culminates in a student-chosen graduation climb (unless the instructors wuss out) and if you bring a six-pack for this, make sure everyone drinks. Five out of six drinkers leaves one narc.

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Gary_Yngve said:

scot'teryx said:

Find a mentor and learn from them and their mistakes.

The intermediate climbs are pretty stupid from what I have heard. You really want to go climb "Gaper Rock" and lead "Sabre" with the Mounties?

YUCK!

crazy.gif

 

I just got back from a four-day Mountaineers trip to Washington Pass that fulfilled the Intermediate Rock climbs that I needed to graduate. We (four of us on two days, three of us on the other two -- the fourth was feeling sick) climbed a bunch of stupid stuff:

 

Liberty Bell: Barberpole, Overexposure

Concord: Cave Route

NEWS: NW Corner

SEWS: East Buttress Direct, SW Rib (with steep fingercrack variation)

Cutthroat: South Buttress

 

Like I said, we climbed a bunch of stupid stuff. We also climbed slowly and inefficiently as well, for example doing Cutthroat car-to-car in 6.5 hours, including spending half an hour on the summit and another twenty minutes lounging around by a stream on the way down.

 

So if you want to climb stupid stuff and travel at a snail's pace, the Mountaineers are for you!

 

there are some pros and cons to the mounties courses and learning strictly from the mounties. if learning this way works for a person....great! i'm all for it.

 

my partner last w/e was an active member of the mounties. he had completed the basic course a couple of years ago and continued to climb with mostly partners from the mountaineers.

what i found was that he was very safe and technically accurate with most things. h/e he was slow and inefficient and not able to adapt to a changing situation. in other words when things came up that were out of his realm of past experience it was completely up to me to deal with it. he was a fun and safe partner but not really independent or very self reliant.

 

it would be nice to see the mounties focus on helping their students to become more self reliant mountaineers.

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Minx said:

 

my partner last w/e was an active member of the mounties. he had completed the basic course a couple of years ago and continued to climb with mostly partners from the mountaineers.

what i found was that he was very safe and technically accurate with most things. h/e he was slow and inefficient and not able to adapt to a changing situation. in other words when things came up that were out of his realm of past experience it was completely up to me to deal with it. he was a fun and safe partner but not really independent or very self reliant.

 

it would be nice to see the mounties focus on helping their students to become more self reliant mountaineers.

 

In reply:

 

This thread started with someone asking for info on the mounties Intermediate course (not basic) so I'll steer it back there.

 

Taking a course will probably not change "who" anyone is. That is, some folks are curious and innovative and like to make their own decisions (like the many posters here who are fast efficient climbers and pysch me up.) But some people are just conservative and/or scared when they have to make decisions/take actions that involve exposure and risk of harm. Moving up the food chain of climbing quickly is not for everyone.

 

Minx is right that the Basic course focuses on competence with a certain core set of rock and glacier skills and safety but doesn't give the experience or skills for real self-reliance. But I wouldn't expect a basic climber of any background to have "intermediate" skills.

 

In Mountieland, that self-reliance and innovative thinking is taught much more in the intermediate course, which gives experience in leading and the more independent judgment stuff, like route finding, setting up anchors, and efficient gear management.

 

I will add that in reading this board more the past couple of weeks, I am impressed how many of you put your money where your mouth is and take newbies out at times, and to answer our stupid questions. Thanks for that.

 

Gary's experience shows it ain't all bad in mountie land. There are fast efficient leaders on fun routes out there to go with the slow stupid ones. Surprise! For the selective aware student there are lots of good opportunities.

 

So take a course or don't take a course. Whatever. The climber's path is often an unmarked trail. Use your judgment.

 

Peace out,

 

Jimmy O

 

 

 

 

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yep i realize it was in reference to the intermediate course. what i had in mind to convey was that he had taken the basic course a couple of years ago and had climbed a lot since then with other mountaineers. i would think in that time he would've gained some more self reliance. it seems he was unable to adjust his thinking beyond what a course taught him. you do raise a good point though, maybe it's just the way he is. regardless, we had fun and that's what matters.

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why teach independent thinking when that might lead to students actually asking unexpected questions of leader instead of blindly obeying?wave.gif

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minx said:

yep i realize it was in reference to the intermediate course. what i had in mind to convey was that he had taken the basic course a couple of years ago and had climbed a lot since then with other mountaineers. i would think in that time he would've gained some more self reliance. it seems he was unable to adjust his thinking beyond what a course taught him. you do raise a good point though, maybe it's just the way he is. regardless, we had fun and that's what matters.

 

You only get out of a course what you put in. As a basic student, there are many chances for you to gain additional experience. Ask the leader on a basic climb if you can help with routefinding. Ask the leader if they have any interesting stories to share. Be in a mentor group. But sure, if all you wanted was to be able to follow someone up The Tooth in a slow, safe manner, then that would be all you'd get out of the course as well.

 

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terrible_ted said:

Dru said:

why teach independent thinking...?

 

Because you can't. It can only be demonstrated.

 

-t

 

Once, I was an intermediate student on my very first mountie basic climb (never did the basic course) when the leader suggested we rap off of this ridiculous, horrible rock that I could have probably hip-checked off the summit. I pointed out the obvious rap via a nifty threaded placement that lots of people had already used. He still vied for the rock, and I said that I wasn't going to rap off of that. Nu-uh. No way. Then, I proceeded to ask some other folks on the summit who I had been chatting with what they thought, since they had been there before. They, too, pointed the the obvious webbing-choked rap anchor. Finally the leader said OK.

 

What struck me was that the basics were in awe of me for having "independent thought". FFS, thought I, this is YOUR LIFE here. Speak up! I only did what I thought was right, and they were amazed that I stated my opinion. One even said, "Way to stick to your guns up there!" Sheesh.

 

Later, I realized that there is this hierarchy in the club and perceived status associated with being an intermediate student, assistant leader and leader. To me, status is gained by being good at what you do, regardless of your title or your club.

 

So, I can add my 2cents on is the class worth it. Well, it costs a bunch of money. In theory, I've received some formal training, a chance to practice it and an opportunity to watch and learn from mistakes. Can't say I've learned much, though high angle rescue was all new and very interesting. Too bad we didn't focus on small party rescues, which is where most people probably find themselves. No, that's yet another $100+ and another course. rolleyes.gif

 

Anyhow, Alex, I think one needs to be cut from the right cloth (wool?) for the club. I'm not very good at "doing it this one way, and one way only, because the leader says so", which doesn't seem to be in keeping with the basic trips, which you will have to go on for credit as a rope leader. On the intermediate climbs though, no one was checking my every move. It felt more like just plain old climbing, but with people I didn't know very well. Strange, but OK. I've met some great new partners and potential partners that I might not have met otherwise.

 

You've certainly roused the full gamut of opinions, and I'd say they're all accurate in one way or another. Don't let anyone here make you feel like you shouldn't take the class because you won't be "cool". And don't let any uber-mountie convince you that it will be the best experience of your life because it was for him/her.

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Question,

 

Why don't the mounties teach the basic climbing course indoors like many learn from climbing in the gym? Isn't it better that they are focused on learning rather than being gripped from the exposure while trying to learn the basics?

 

Also,

 

How much experience does the instructor have? A year? Two years tops?

 

Last,

 

Why don't mounties sport climb like the rest of the beginning community? I never understood why it was so important to learn gear anchors right away considering there is so much other stuff to learn first.

 

Can somone elaborate?

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That one's easy: because THE MOUNTAINEERS are MOUNTAINEERS, not THE GYM CLIMBERS or THE SPORT CLIMBERS. They climb REAL MOUNTAINS (like the tooth). They climb SERIOUS ROUTES. The gym isn't MOUNTAINEERING.

 

duh.

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Crackbolter said:

Question,

 

Why don't the mounties teach the basic climbing course indoors like many learn from climbing in the gym? Isn't it better that they are focused on learning rather than being gripped from the exposure while trying to learn the basics?

 

My experience from the Everett Branch.

Some classes are taught indoors, anchor setup, knots, etc.. But it's always better to practice it in real situations. Some of it is just too hard to do in a class room. Ever tried rapping indoors?

 

Also,

 

How much experience does the instructor have? A year? Two years tops?

 

Once again from Everett, I'd say about half the instructors are basic graduates. Completed class, field trips and climbs. They have also gone through an instructor training field trip in the spring to review and expand what they know. The other half are usually more veteran climbers 2+ years. We usually try to group an experienced instructor with a newer instructor. Helps with knowledge transfer and safety.

 

Last,

 

Why don't mounties sport climb like the rest of the beginning community? I never understood why it was so important to learn gear anchors right away considering there is so much other stuff to learn first.

 

Can somone elaborate?

 

The Basic mountaineering class is just that, basic. I think the hardest basic climb is like 5.4. You don't get that vertical like you do in sport. When was the last time you found a 5.4 sport route smile.gif Sport climbing works more on climbing skills where the class teach more of everything. Once the students know their knots and know how to use them, they are encourage to go and top rope some climbs on their own. I have seen groups of students heading to leavenworth for the weekend. Once you have all the basics, then you can expand on them. It's probably easier to teach a student better climbing skills, then someone with sport climbing experience how to setup for crevasse rescue.

 

Chris

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Sphinx said:

Show me a beginner who can't climb 5.6 sport. rolleyes.gif

So what is your point? The Basic Course is not a climbing class, it is a mountaineering course with all that entails: fitness, route finding and navigation, equipment, weather resources, roped travel, crevasse rescue, etc. It is up to the students to become good climbers on their own. The mountaineers just give them the tools to be safe.

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Mountaineers require essential rock climbing knowledge that is taught from another individual. The fault I am seeing with an organized group such as the Mounties is that their curriculum is faulty.

 

Take a look at other type of learning that is not nearly as organized as the Mountaineers. Many "mountaineers" start with gym, sport and synthetic structures to learn how to safely belay, lead, toprope, tie knots, etc.

 

Such things as fitness, route finding and navigation, equipment, weather resources, etc are learned through experience on top of gaining info from experienced climbers but are not necessarily dire in the beginning.

 

 

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catbirdseat said:

Sphinx said:

Show me a beginner who can't climb 5.6 sport. rolleyes.gif

So what is your point? The Basic Course is not a climbing class, it is a mountaineering course with all that entails: fitness, route finding and navigation, equipment, weather resources, roped travel, crevasse rescue, etc. It is up to the students to become good climbers on their own. The mountaineers just give them the tools to be safe.

 

Catbirdseat, you gotta crawl before you can run. You can't teach everything at the same time. Don't try to teach navigation, belaying, pro placement, rope mangement, and fitness on the same climb. Start by learning the ropes at a crag, gain fitness by hiking, learn orientation in the city park for starters, etc.

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Crackbolter said:

Mountaineers require essential rock climbing knowledge that is taught from another individual. The fault I am seeing with an organized group such as the Mounties is that their curriculum is faulty.

 

Take a look at other type of learning that is not nearly as organized as the Mountaineers. Many "mountaineers" start with gym, sport and synthetic structures to learn how to safely belay, lead, toprope, tie knots, etc.

 

Mountaineers basic students learn how to safely belay, tie knots, and set up simple anchors indoors. Then they transfer these skills to scenarios at Camp Long with weights that go "splat." They have to be signed off as "safe" on these skills before they go to the mountains.

 

One distinction that the Mounties make is basic students do not go on the sharp end of the rope when rock climbing.

 

The biggest skills I've noticed Mountaineers basic students as lacking are:

 

1) Packing light. The idea that you should pack to survive should shit happen, not pack to be comfortable should shit happen. This mainly just takes time... climbing for a year or two and noticing what you use, don't use.

 

2) Fast travel through rugged terrain. Bushwhacking, stream crossing, talus hopping... again, this takes time.

 

3) Being efficient with breaks. Don't put on all your warm crap at the TH because you're cold... you'll have to stop and take it off 15 min later. Plan your breaks... during this break, I will filter water and eat a snack. And my filter and snack are at the top of my pack. I then will be able to go another hour without an extended break. Again, this comes from experience, especially experience with smaller parties.

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Sphinx said:

 

Catbirdseat, you gotta crawl before you can run. You can't teach everything at the same time. Don't try to teach navigation, belaying, pro placement, rope mangement, and fitness on the same climb. Start by learning the ropes at a crag, gain fitness by hiking, learn orientation in the city park for starters, etc.

 

Funny, you think exactly the way the Mountaineers think. In the Seattle course, Basic students have their Nav done by March and are told from day 1 (Jan) to get into shape (e.g. Mt. Si in X hours). For those who have previously done scrambling, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, etc., they already have done the Nav and are likely in decent shape. Their mentor group will help with conditioning. Belaying and rope management are handled Feb-April, and by the beginning of May, they can follow up the Tooth. Placing pro isn't covered until Intermediate, but arguably they get an introduction by following pitches.

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Crackbolter said:

Question,

 

Why don't the mounties teach the basic climbing course indoors like many learn from climbing in the gym? Isn't it better that they are focused on learning rather than being gripped from the exposure while trying to learn the basics?

 

Also,

 

How much experience does the instructor have? A year? Two years tops?

 

Last,

 

Why don't mounties sport climb like the rest of the beginning community? I never understood why it was so important to learn gear anchors right away considering there is so much other stuff to learn first.

 

Can somone elaborate?

 

Instructor experience ranges from two to twenty... as said before, less-experienced instructors are paired with more-experienced.

 

Mounties don't learn gear anchors right away. They learn girth-hitching a tree and that's about it.

 

Beginners sport-climbing is a relatively new thing in the mountaineering community as a whole... the last twenty years at the most? Being able to climb 5.X at the gym is about the least important thing there is for general mountaineering.

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