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olyclimber

The Mountaineers?

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I'm not trolling for rants, but I'm looking for honest opinions about the value of joining the Mountaineers club and taking their basic climbing course. I've been mountaineering ...scrambling and some glacier climbing (summiting Mt. Olympus and Mt. Hood along with many minor crags in the Olympics and North Cascades) since my boy scout days, but I recently have become interested in climbing up things of the 5.x variety. What I see as a plus for going with the Mountaineers is that I imagine they teach basic, proven rock climbing technique, and I can also learn on the peaks that have I have always wanted to climb (Mt. Cruiser and Mt. Constance). It seems like there is a lot to learn, and climbing is one of the riskier sports (if done wrong, and Accidents in NA Mountaineering demostrate)...I want to learn (roping skills, placing protection, etc) from someone who I can have a level of trust that teaches a more conservative technique. The Mountaineers would provide this, no?

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oly they are prolly a good starting point for what you are looking for.

 

tho most of what you are looking seems like it would be more for the intermediate class. tho i think you need to take the basic 1st. i dont really know as i am not a member, but it seems like a good way to learn. tho there are other organizations other then mtneers. washington alpine club is one of them.

 

have fun

 

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if u already do a bunch of scrambling and glacier climbing i think you'd learn more doing a session with a rock guide or with a couple of friends who already lead, than with a big group course like the mountaineers offer.

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I think Erik's right on the intermediate/basic issue. The basic class won't teach you how to lead or build anchors, etc. Perhaps you could get into the intermediate class without taking the basic (but you might need a note from a higher power) but probably you would have to put up with the BS to be found in basic. These days, with all the liability issues loaded on top of the problems associated with lowest common denominator training, stamina is a major requirement of learning climbing techniques from any club.

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Really though, the Basic Class will most likely be too basic for what you're looking for. No pro placement or lead climbing skills are learned until the Intemediate class. You'll learn how to follow climbs in your mountain boots and remove pro on 5.0 climbs. You mentioned Hood and Olympus, but do you know crevasse rescue? That might be a reason to take the class but you could easily do that on your own. wave.gif

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bobinc, is your avatar 'Mondo Boy' or something like that? I remember a comic with with that guy in it. What you're mentioning is exactly the sort of concerns I have...that the pace isn't too slow (both on the trail and what is taught). I've also already taken a few of the basic rock climbing classes at REI (hey, don't laugh! I learned some good stuff...). Thanks.

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Oly,

 

From the desk of a former Mutanteer: there is an equivalency test that you can take to skip the Basic Class and go directly to the Intermediate, which it sounds like you're after (as Erik says). This equivalency test is rigorous. They make you demonstrate a lot of Basic stuff. You could conceivably read up on all that is necessary and "cram for the test."

 

Regarding Cruiser and Constance, those climbs are not often lead by Mounty leaders, so you may wind up exasperated at this. Leaders trend toward proven climbs like Ingalls, the Toof, SEWS, Liberty Bell, etc. The best way to do intermediate climbs of your choosing is to get chummy with a leader who is willing to climb "outside the box", as it were.

 

There are a lot of gumbies in the intermediate class (it should really be called the advanced basic class since a lot of the people in it aren't any good at doing the things demanded of them in the class). However, one can look at the class as a learning experience, and in this way it makes sense. I guess what I'm saying is that there are people who begin the intermediate class who are already 5 levels better than their mates but still have to do everything their mates do (which, when I was in the course, was 2 Intermediate Ice Climbs, 2 Intermediate Rock Climbs, 1 Intermediate climb of your choice, about six rope leads for basic climbs, and a couple other requirements I can't recall at the moment).

 

The basic class is good to meet people--potential climbing partners or otherwise. If you are single, beware of the dating game, as they are more strict about this now than they used to be or need to be rolleyes.gif. The intermediate class also is good for meeting people.

 

All in all, the Mountaineers can be a good organization or a bad organization. Like any organization that has been around for eons, it will have developed policies that don't fit every person's persona. The rest of my personal opinion of them is mine own.

 

===Paul

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Go to the ropeup in Leaven worth Oct 10-12. Find someone to show you around a little. bigdrink.gif

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It sounds like you already have experience roughly equivalent to the basic course. It's possible to get basic equivalency if you really want to take the intermediate course, but if you want to focus on climbing rock, you might consider the crags course. Someone who has taken the crags course should put in their $0.02.

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Get your equivalency through Seattle Branch, then take the Intermediate Course through Everett Branch. In Everett you can organize and lead your own Intermediate Climbs after three experience climbs. One must be rock and one ice. Then you can do the climbs you want to do. It's harder to become a leader in Seattle. If you don't care about collecting a graduation certificate, or the club climbs, just go to all the lectures and field trips and blow off the experience climbs.

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Dru said:

if u already do a bunch of scrambling and glacier climbing i think you'd learn more doing a session with a rock guide or with a couple of friends who already lead, than with a big group course like the mountaineers offer.

 

I second what Dru said. After paying for membership and for a course with the Mounties, you could spend that money for a private lesson with a guide and taylor the course to what you need versus what is offered. The only advantage I see with taking a large course is that you get to meet a whole bunch of people who are at your same level that you can put into practice what you learned with out boring your partners to death.

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Hey everyone, thanks for the feedback. I've got a few options that I like here:

 

1. Just take the Crag class

2. Take the equivelancy test and then the intermediate

3. Pay a guide to teach me.

4. Trust my instincts, start easy(top roping), and just always climb routes within my ablility, and learn new stuff when ever I can.

 

I'm definitely looking for specific technical rock climbing techniques like setting anchors, rappelling, choosing and setting protection, and choosing routes.

 

The Mountaineers also sounds like a good place to meeting people to climb with. How do you guys and gals pick who you'll climb with (outside of the Mountaineers)? I guess if you're not learning it is less of an issue, but I would imagine you've got to have some degree of faith in your belayer. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions!

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I would hire a guide to learn the stuff you want to learn. I have personally climbed all over and everytime I see a Mountaineers group it amazes me how ridiculous it is- from screaming belay commands sooooo loud you think the mountain is falling apart(amazing how much a name sounds like ROCK when someone screams at the top of their lungs and no one can understand it), fixing pitches on SEWS S. Arete but then scrambling and not spotting on the places where a fall would kill you, tying ropes together for rappelling with so much overkill of knots they get stuck every time while you are waiting for 10 people to rappel, sending rockfall down every time I have seen them on routes I have climbed many times with novices and never sent a thing to running into groups and trip leaders who think they are the shit because they are a mountie! Hire a guide and learn the right info or grab some friends and read a book and try stuff out the old fashioned way. Climb for yourself and not for some graduation or fucking badge(unless of course that is your Profession!). cheeburga_ron.gif

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Pretty good -- more than 10 posts before the ranting started.

 

I guess I agree somewhat on the guide approach, especially if you have very specific goals (for example, building anchors). You could climb some cool stuff in the bargain, too, and the guide would probably be more psyched than usual that you actually wanted to learn something (rather than just get hauled up some trade route). You could then apply the learning on a climb you thought to be well within your abilities and go from there. That's kind of how it works climbing with more experienced folks, but it is more likely they will have gaps in their knowledge than a guide and, in the extreme case, make bad decisions that could prove dangerous (depending on the route, the weather, etc.)

 

BTW, it's Migraine Boy.

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Evergreen has some trips that (I think) are still open to community members. I took a self-rescue class that included a lot of knowledge sharing among participants (none of us students) and lots of climbing in addition to top-notch teaching--for about $90. They list them in a Leisure Classes brochure, found near trashcans all over campus.

 

The thing about the Mounties is you pay a lot, a few times. If you don't want the picnics, the compulsory courses, and trips you're not excited about, it might be better to get it elsewhere a la carte. Certainly wouldn't cost more. And there are plenty of friendly climbers around town with solid skills who like to pass along all the impressive shit they know wink.gif

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Another option: mountain madness offers Alpine Climbing and Rock Climbing classes. They don't do either Cruiser or Constance (according to their website) but I expect you'd get a lot more direct instruction, and a lot less messing around with hiking up Mt. Pugh with your ten essentials, standing around waiting for someone to inspect your bowline-on-a-bight, etc. They offer a 4:1 or 3:1 student/instructor ratio.

 

I expect the best reason for going through the Mountaineers is to meet potential climbing partners (which is why I was going to do it a few years back, but never did.) You can get much of the same matching up here, in the Climbing Partners forum.

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klenke said:

Oly,

 

From the desk of a former Mutanteer:

 

The basic class is good to meet people--potential climbing partners or otherwise. If you are single, beware of the dating game, as they are more strict about this now than they used to be or need to be rolleyes.gif.

===Paul

 

Alright... curiosity is killing me. What is the Mounties "fraternization policy"

 

Cheers bigdrink.gif

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Might I suggest the Boeing Alpine Club Intermediate Class? They won't make you take a rigorous basic equivalency test and I understand they are quite flexible in the class. You can pick some of your own climbs and be paired up with highly experienced people as mentors. I don't think it's very expensive either.

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olyclimber said:

The Mountaineers also sounds like a good place to meeting people to climb with. How do you guys and gals pick who you'll climb with (outside of the Mountaineers)? I guess if you're not learning it is less of an issue, but I would imagine you've got to have some degree of faith in your belayer. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions!

 

Well Oly, I just moved here this April and this website has helped with meeting people to climb with. I would only suggest that when planning to climb with some one new, tone it down to a way comfortable level so that you can size up the person you are climbing with. I tend to drop it down several grades no matter how I meet the person. Y'know see if I get a long with the person, see what their style is, see if they are what I consider safe, all that crap.

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arlen said:

 

 

The thing about the Mounties is you pay a lot, a few times. If you don't want the picnics, the compulsory courses, and trips you're not excited about, it might be better to get it elsewhere a la carte. Certainly wouldn't cost more.

 

 

Uhh, While the Mounties definitely have their pros and cons which have been argued ad nauseum here, the one thing that you CANNOT say is that it is expensive! I think it's just a little over $200 for a 9 month class! That will buy you one day with Mountain Madness.

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I am involved with the Boeing Alpine Club (Boealps) the intermediate course sounds like what you are looking for. It costs around $200 for the full course and you do get to pick many of your climbs. The instructors are all very experienced. There is no competency exam, but you will have to convince your instructors that you know what you are doing, after all, their lives are in your hands. The class is more like a mentoring program. Usually 2 instructors and 2 students per climb. You can contact Len Kannapell [kannapell@yahoo.com] for more info.

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Ibex said:

klenke said:

Oly,

 

From the desk of a former Mutanteer:

 

The basic class is good to meet people--potential climbing partners or otherwise. If you are single, beware of the dating game, as they are more strict about this now than they used to be or need to be rolleyes.gif.

===Paul

 

Alright... curiosity is killing me. What is the Mounties "fraternization policy"

 

Cheers bigdrink.gif

 

There is no such policy in the Everett Branch. (2 of my friends, one instructor, one student, met and started dating throughout the class). Don't know if the other branches have a policy like that. If they do that is the most ridiculous thing I've heard.

 

This is the kindest non-anti-mountaineers thread I have every seen. What is wrong with you people today? confused.gif

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payaso said:

arlen said:

 

 

The thing about the Mounties is you pay a lot, a few times. If you don't want the picnics, the compulsory courses, and trips you're not excited about, it might be better to get it elsewhere a la carte. Certainly wouldn't cost more.

 

 

Uhh, While the Mounties definitely have their pros and cons which have been argued ad nauseum here, the one thing that you CANNOT say is that it is expensive! I think it's just a little over $200 for a 9 month class! That will buy you one day with Mountain Madness.

There are a total of 11 days of field trips in the Intermediate Course (Rock: 5; Ice: 4; Winter/Mixed: 2).

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