Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
Alex_Mineev

Intermediate climbing from The Mountaineers

Recommended Posts

So if you are an intermediate climber you get to learn to place pro. An intermediate climber is after one year right?

 

I know people who learned to toprope their first year and lead their first year. Some learned all of the above and could lead 5.9 gear their first year. Others learned at a much, much slower rate. I know folks who have climbed for 4 years and still aren't comfortable placing pro and leading with gear.

 

Why have a determined amount of classes for such a broad comfort level? Also, why have one instructor teaching the basic course? Why not set it up with a larger number of teachers if you are going to teach a large number of people.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gary_Yngve said:

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.

But knowing how to tie a figure 8, belay, and rappel isn't. The gym can be a valuable tool. Besides, if they spent a few sessions in the gym they might actually be able to climb the tooth; I saw one mountie chick get stuck on the second pitch for half an hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crackbolter said:

So if you are an intermediate climber you get to learn to place pro. An intermediate climber is after one year right?

 

I know people who learned to toprope their first year and lead their first year. Some learned all of the above and could lead 5.9 gear their first year. Others learned at a much, much slower rate. I know folks who have climbed for 4 years and still aren't comfortable placing pro and leading with gear.

 

Why have a determined amount of classes for such a broad comfort level? Also, why have one instructor teaching the basic course? Why not set it up with a larger number of teachers if you are going to teach a large number of people.

 

It is your choice whether you want to take the Intermediate course after one year. You can be a basic grad and take the intermediate course a few years later if you want. For those who want to excel, the Mountaineers are certainly not going to stop them from doing so... they can climb outside of the Mountaineers or hook up with a mentor... Dryad, a basic student, comes to mind... she did her first lead with CBS a week or two ago.

 

At the fieldtrips, there are many instructors teaching.

The student/instructor ratio is probably somewhere around 3:1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

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.

 

 

You are correct, assuming you are talking about ones physical ability in the gym. Bouldering is not important for mountaineering. What is important is how one communicates with his or her partner which is very much learned inside a gym or man made structure where your peers are there to intervene in the event you make a mistake. Since lack of communication and inexperience tends to be the major contributers in mountaineering accidents, one would think about working towards preventing accidents.

 

Also,

 

Why wear hiking boots rock climbing? I never understood this mentality. Aren't you required to climb the tooth in boots? Has this rediculous rule changed yet?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sphinx said:

But knowing how to tie a figure 8, belay, and rappel isn't. The gym can be a valuable tool. Besides, if they spent a few sessions in the gym they might actually be able to climb the tooth; I saw one mountie chick get stuck on the second pitch for half an hour.

 

Knots, belaying, and rapping are taught and practiced at Camp Long and Spire Rock. They should be comfortable with those skills by Mt. Erie. If they are not belaying/rapping/tying knots safely at Mt. Erie, then Mountie Nazi says, "No climbing for you!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crackbolter said:

You are correct, assuming you are talking about ones physical ability in the gym. Bouldering is not important for mountaineering. What is important is how one communicates with his or her partner which is very much learned inside a gym or man made structure where your peers are there to intervene in the event you make a mistake. Since lack of communication and inexperience tends to be the major contributers in mountaineering accidents, one would think about working towards preventing accidents.

 

Also,

Why wear hiking boots rock climbing? I never understood this mentality. Aren't you required to climb the tooth in boots? Has this rediculous rule changed yet?

 

 

Partner communication gets practiced in scenarios starting from sitting in the grass at Camp Long to climbing twenty-foot routes on Spire Rock to climbing pitches at Erie. Throughout all of these, instructors are watching and intervening if necessary.

 

All basic climbs are done in boots. I'm not on the committee, so I don't know exactly why, but if I had to guess, I would say:

1) the climbs are easy enough that boots would be fine

2) you'd want boots anyway for snow, steep dirt, etc.

3) why make Basics shell out an additional $100 in gear?

4) climbing in boots is a useful skill to have

5) historical precedent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have experienced the dark side of the Mounties as much as anyone, but it cracks me up how misinformed so much of the bashing is (hit reply now to share more of your horror stories...). In case you actually care what the basic course does:

 

The Basic course is an all around intro to mountaineering, meaning glacier travel, alpine rock and general alpine climbing.

 

It teaches knots, belay, rappel and some basic rock skills. It teaches snow travel, self arrest, crevasse rescue. It teaches/requires compass use and navigation. It requires MOFA training. There's a field trip on knots and belying. There are two more for practicing belay, rappel, rock climbing, and knots. There's practice in a field setting up c and z pulleys. There's two full weekend field trips for climbing in snow, travelling roped, setting up zpulleys on real crevasses.

 

In fact, it does teach stuff in controlled environments, starting indoors and moving on to places like Camp Long and Spire Rock. In fact, the course starts in January with lectures and field trips, and no climbs are done until sometime in May at the earliest. At one of the early lectures, a fitness professional talks about training and the physical demands of climbing. At one of the early field trips, students are asked to bring a pack loaded for a day rock trip (except rope and rack) and the instructors are asked to do the same. Students in teams of two pair with an instructor. They empty all three packs, go over what they are carrying and why. Students are asked if they would be comfortable bivvying and if so, are supposed to be told they have too much stuff. At least two field trips require practice in cleaning pro and racking it. Students are not required to set up anchors but they are taught how to tie in and they are taught what goes into setting up an anchor. All of the field trip climbing is top roped. Maybe this all doesn't sink in, but the content and opportunity are there in the course.

 

Only three climbs are required in the course. The course does not pretend to be a substitute for experience. Someone who goes cragging four weekends in a row will get more rock climbing in then a student gets in the entire basic course. That's ok. Note that the basic rock climbs are done in boots, not rock shoes. Some people think this is stupid. Again, whatever.

 

Anyone who pays attention and practices will come out of the Basic course with a good skill set and an emphasis on safe climbing but probably not as a strong rock climber. As has been repeated ad nauseum, there's lots of ways to learn stuff about climbing and any basic course is just opening the door, you still have to walk through and get busy.

 

It's kind of odd. I am really good at cracking on the mounties and have lots of material to work with. But the misinformation out there has me looking like a big ol cheerleader. who'd a thunk it...

 

Jimmy O

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gary_Yngve said:

.... For those who want to excel, the Mountaineers are certainly not going to stop them from doing so...

 

yelrotflmao.gif

 

I'm not quite sure why, but this line cracked me up.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of the reasons are not good enough Gary. Rock shoes are for rock climbing. Boots are for hiking. Even if I were to do a technical route with low 5th class climbing I bring shoes. Especially true if I will need to downclimb.

 

I vote we overthrow the Mountaineers board and reinstate the following trustees to recreate the rules:

Board of Trustees

 

 

President: Fred Beckey

President-elect: Jim Nelson

Vice President, Publishing: Jim Yoder

Secretary: Mike Crosswaite

Vice President, Properties: Pete Doorish

Treasurer: Lowell Skoog

Trustee: Dru

Trustee: Ben

Trustee: Eric

Trustee: Ray

Trustee: Forrest

Trustee: Colin

Trustee: Dan

Trustee: Ron

Trustee: Bruce

Trustee-Bellingham: Alan

Trustee-Everett: Kit

Trustee-Olympia:

Trustee-Tacoma:

Trustee-Seattle:Tim

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Crackbolter said:

All of the reasons are not good enough Gary. Rock shoes are for rock climbing. Boots are for hiking. Even if I were to do a technical route with low 5th class climbing I bring shoes. Especially true if I will need to downclimb.

 

So you would carry rock shoes up Olympus and Challenger?

 

What about Dome Peak?

 

Would you do a winter ascent of the S Face of Da Toof in rock shoes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't bring rock shoes on any of those peaks. Climbed the summits in my boots. None of the summits were 5th class. Nor were they more than 50' of scrambling.

 

I think I would use rock shoes for the tooth though.

 

Would you bring rock shoes on Forbidden?

 

Gary, your point was not made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, the point is, you don't need boots on the tooth in summer. All you need is sneakers and a pair of rock shoes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this has turned into a discussion of the basic course, I'll chime in.

 

- I got the feeling that many of the instructors hated my guts because I asked a million questions all the time, often of the "why do it that way and not this other way?" variety.

 

- I see how it's good practice to learn to climb rock in mtn boots if you're going to get into winter stuff and mixed snow/rock/dirt routes. But in the summer on ordinary rock climbs it's just plain silly. In the basic class, you're supposed to wear boots all the time, but if you have a backbone, you can wear whatever you want. I've been taking rock shoes on my rock climbs, wore tennies and carried my boots on a glacier climb with a long trail approach, and nobody has said anything (most often I got looks of envy, actually).

 

- My pack is almost always at least half the size of everyone else's.

 

- My absolute biggest gripe is the policy that you have to summit a climb for it to count towards graduation. I have seen firsthand the kind of bad judgement this encourages. One of my climbs should never have left the trailhead because the weather forecast looked crappy, and we woke up on summit day to a blizzard and went home. Another climb shouldn't have left base camp, again because of crappy weather. Out of 6 people, 2 (including me) stayed behind and went back to sleep, but the other 4, 2 of whom were students desperate to get a glacier climb done, went on ahead. They did manage to summit eventually, but they suffered through rain, sleet and almost no visibility. It was an epic waiting to happen.

 

Bottom line, and this goes for any class, is you should go into it knowing what you want to learn, never accept anything just because someone says so, and stay open to other sources of information (duh!). Sure I'm severely unimpressed with the basic class, but I did get out of it what I wanted to, which was a basic knowledge of glacier travel. So it wasn't a waste of time. There are plenty of cool mounties (many of them post on this board), but there are plenty of dogmatic dickheads too, and it seems like it's the dogmatic dickheads that are mainly the ones making policy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so what would you do on a mixed climb with moderate rock climbing (say up to .9)? constantly change footwear? not very efficient.

 

for what it's worth i took both classes a long time ago. it was a good experience, even though there were some people with whom i did not get along. taking the classes left me with the best set of skills for the money i spent, as well as a large number of potential partners. i had to unlearn a few things and expand my knowledge in some areas but i would not do anything differently if i started today. i'd say attention to details and a concern for safety are 2 things that i learned with the mounties that have molded my practice of climbing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dryad, this song's for you... rockband.gif

 

Gary said: 3) why make Basics shell out an additional $100 in gear?

 

Puh-leez! If they WANT to wear rock shoes, let them! If they want to wear boots, let them! Here again is that "independent thought" theme.

 

I agree with Crackbolter, if newbie climbers are gripped and terrified on their first ROCK climb, they will probably benefit from wearing rock shoes, and maybe they'll have a more enjoyable time. Hey, they can always rent them instead of purchasing. Furthermore, I bet a lot of us bought whatever sale shoe we could afford when we started climbing. And some of us probably still adhere to that approach. yellaf.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
j_b said:

so what would you do on a mixed climb with moderate rock climbing (say up to .9)? constantly change footwear? not very efficient.

 

for what it's worth i took both classes a long time ago. it was a good experience, even though there were some people with whom i did not get along. taking the classes left me with the best set of skills for the money i spent, as well as a large number of potential partners. i had to unlearn a few things and expand my knowledge in some areas but i would not do anything differently if i started today. i'd say attention to details and a concern for safety are 2 things that i learned with the mounties that have molded my practice of climbing.

 

j_b, I would like to see you lead both Gendarme pitches of NR Stuart in Sportiva Nepal Extremes. yellaf.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

why? you don't think that's do-able?

2nd pitch would be easy. i am not so sure about the 1st, though.

 

anyway, that was not my point. i did not say that all .9 were doable in boots. i keep the boots on for as long as i can, and leave the rock shoes behind at the first opportunity when the combination of appraoch/climbing footwear dictates so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
j_b said:

why? you don't think that's do-able?

2nd pitch would be easy. i am not so sure about the 1st, though.

 

anyway, that was not my point. i did not say that all .9 were doable in boots. i keep the boots on for as long as i can, and leave the rock shoes behind at the first opportunity when the combination of appraoch/climbing footwear dictates so.

 

That's stupid. The mounties have trained you well. It is easier/safer/more efficient to wear rock shoes on technical terrain, even though you have to pack the boots. Besides, on pretty much any pitch harder than 5.5 or so in the mountains, rock shoes will make you climb so much faster. If there's no need for boots, why wear em? confused.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides, any 'mixed climb' with rock up to 5.9 would not be considered 'moderate', at least not around here. In chamonix maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i am not much slower in boots. you ought to practice more. that's the point of wearing them often. when i *need* to wear them, then i am ready. if i need rock shoes i bring them, if i don't then i don't bring them (just imagine that). before you twist my meaning again, i did not say that i would not bring rock shoes for an alpine rock climb where boots are not needed. it just depends on the approach, the difficulty of the climb and the type of climbing, etc ..

 

as for the definition of moderate. i don't consider a spring/summer 5.9 climb with snow pitches in between as anything more than moderate. now if you want to call it something else, suit yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
j_b said:

i am not much slower in boots. you ought to practice more. that's the point of wearing them often. when i *need* to wear them, then i am ready. if i need rock shoes i bring them, if i don't then i don't bring them (just imagine that). before you twist my meaning again, i did not say that i would not bring rock shoes for an alpine rock climb where boots are not needed. it just depends on the approach, the difficulty of the climb and the type of climbing, etc ..

 

as for the definition of moderate. i don't consider a spring/summer 5.9 climb with snow pitches in between as anything more than moderate. now if you want to call it something else, suit yourself.

 

Again, I'd like to see you lead real 5.9 in the mountains in big boots. I'll even time you! And this is why Mounties wear plastics on Si? To 'practice'? rolleyes.gif

 

I am comfortable in boots on rock, but no matter how comfortable you are, you WILL be faster on rock wearing rock shoes.

 

I can see that you might climb easier routes in boots to get used to climbing is clodhoppers, but this doesn't make sense when it comes to basic mounties who would flail no matter what footwear they've got on. But why make it more difficult if it is already difficult?

 

I'm beginning to see why I find you so annoying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gary_Yngve said:

 

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.

 

A year ago you were still working on all these problems. It's been a good summer eh?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×