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SEF

The Mountaineers

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I'll be nice. I have nothing against Mountaineers.

That said -

Steve, I really think you should put this thread in powerpoint and present it at the Alpinist meeting. I'm sure everyone would get either a good laugh or some form of enlightenment from it.

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I took the mounties basic and dropped out of the intermediate course. I learned a few things. That being said, I really started learning about climbing when I started climbing a lot with friends.

I learned some, but I always tell new climbers looking for instruction to seek another source.

[ 03-29-2002: Message edited by: AlpineK ]

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O.K Steve was trying to be nice,by letting people know whats going on with the steers, but who cares what they do at camp long,it's the Ice cicle and Pestashin, and even Vantage I care about, they hog the whole area all day. That tends to piss people off. If you put up 20 top ropes and don't let anyone else on than that sucks.

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The Mountaineers publish guide books so that it makes it easier for their large herds of minions to dominate the peaks. Take a look at the schedules on their web-site. It is truly mind-boggling.

The climbs are also a mail-order experience: you can "sign up" for a climb, if you're "qualified". Woo! Unless I'm getting paid, I'm pretty darn careful who I go climbing with! I want to stay alive AND have a good time!

- Dwayner

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Steve-

I appreciate the nature of your post and see it as somewhat of a departure from the usual high-horse Mountaineers attitude.

So I'll share with you some thoughts and observations, many of which I shared with Sue Weckerly after I was kicked out.

As you may or may not know, I was asked to "no longer participate" in the climbing outings after my patella was severly dislocated on the snow 1 course. This injury happened the day after an instrutor led us into Edelweiss Bowl in very high avalanche conditions, despite the advice of *many* students, and about six weeks before I was nearly killed at the snow II course when an instructor set us up under the rocky cliffs along the Nisqually glacier. When we pointed out that it seemed to be an extraordinarily unsafe place to spend a hot, sunny, early-summer day, he responded by informing me that, "we've been watching for days and nothing has fallen, so we know nothing will." 15 minutes later a rock the size of a small car fell off the cliff and slid down the slope, passing within 15 feet of two separate "rope teams".

People get killed in your club because of things like this. You call them accidents. I call them incidents. They result from negligence and arrogance. The avalanche deaths on Red a few years ago happened after leaders poopooed the warnings of students, as I recall. When I shared this thought with Sue she told me that the Mountaineers have an accident rate that is comparable to other similar organizations: She was resigned to and accepting of the current rate of injury and death at your outings. That didn't seem good enough to me, how about you?

Though you may not agree, suggesting that this community encourage the repair of Schurman Rock is also arrogant: We should help you get your fake-crag fixed so that you won't swarm all over some real crag where we might actually want to climb?

I think that part of the problem is the conscription of the Climbing II students as Climbing I instructors (at least it used to be this way). If they don't want to teach they should not be forced to. Among other reasons, most people don't do well something they dislike but are required to do, especially on their free time. Example: I had an instructor and the knots night tell me that I should never tie a bowline, that it was an obsolete knot, but that he had to teach it because it was required.

Ultimately, I think the size of a group exponentially impacts solitude: A group of six is nine times more impactful than a group of two. But it seems like many Mountaineers parties cut an even bigger swath through the solitude. Though I've encountered some that were polite and thoughtful, I've experienced and witnessed many incidents where your climb leaders were intrusive and offensive to other groups. While they may simply intend to help other parties or protect the experience of their students, it frequently comes across as arrogant and righteous.

I personally disagree with the installations on Lundin Peak. I understand the reasoning and I disagree. I feel the same way about the bolts and giant rap anchors on Ingalls, though I don't know who put them there.

Lastly, I am horrified that your organization has come out in support of the Trail Park permit system. It, and your support of it, is a travesty.

I am glad that you have capped the climbing course size and I appreciate you for soliciting feedback and offering an "Olive Branch" here. I hope that you will read and consider the feedback you get and resist the urge to quickly write it off for one of the many tempting reasons.

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RURP speaks truth. I have seen the big yellow school buses. (though it was a few years ago...)

And I was out at Spire Rock a few weeks ago to witness a world-class gumby factory complete with strutting sergeants with clip-boards. Another recent group (don't know if they were the Mounties...(last Saturday) had a nice tarp set up for lunch and me and pope were going to ask them to make us a sandwich but they packed it all up before we made our bold request. Yup, there sure is a lot of them, and they probably carry a lot of food.

Here's a plan: they usually tape their names to the front of their helmets: Go up to one of them and say, "Hey (fill in the blank)!" "Remember me! You owe me a sandwich from the Spire Rock Field Trip!" You'll probably get that sandwich because there are some many people out on those "field trips", they'll have no idea that you weren't there!

- Dwayner

P.S. This food talk made me hungry. Give me another Mickey's! [big Drink][big Drink] Ahhh!!!

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Steve, prepare to be abused!!!! You have unwhitingly provided a forum for our favorate sport of mountie bashing. This sport makes us feel big and strong. FUCK YEH!!!

smile.gif" border="0[big Drink]wink.gif" border="0[Moon]

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I will have to agree that Steve is kind of sticking himself out there. However it's as cool as Dan Larson is grin.gif" border="0

Who else is so bold. Dan Larson Scot'teryx and SEF all homies tongue.gif" border="0 ?

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quote:

Originally posted by lizard brain:
If Steve REALLY wants to be bold, he'll come to Pub Club. HEH!

i'll buy him around or two!!!!

plus who wants to go to the alpinist meeting with me???? i wanna talk to mclane.........

ill drive and drink, but who knows in what order!!!!

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Hey Steve, SEF, we will understand if you take a quick look at the responses and never become back, but if you do, and I hope you don't, then you should at least pause and give yourself a quick pat on the back. Because you've really entertained the masses here grin.gif" border="0

I'm not sure you should take all of this, or the previous bashing, that seriously. The Mounties take a beating, sure, but probably for a lot more things than the club members warrant. I think most of the posts about "Mountaineers" are really about organized climbing activity. 'Mountie' is just a handy sticker that everyone understands. It's really no wonder since the Mounties are the biggest club around here.

There isn't much that can be done about this. It'll be snowing in hell (skiing, whee!) before this bboard embraces organized climbing. Organized beer drinking now, that's another matter. Why don't you show up for pub club one of these Tuesdays? They're really pretty cool, nothing like all the flaming that goes on on-line.

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I was impressed by CascadeClimber's (a.k.a. Loren) post about his experience with the Mountaineers. I'm just adding this comment to see that it is brought to the attention of Monday's readers.

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Thanks to those who have taken time and thought to give me constructive feedback. Organized climbing instruction, ours or anyone else's, is not for everyone, but it has its place and will remain a part of the landscape. No course is perfect. Limitations are assured.

One person said that we learn climbing best through doing, not by talking, a philosophy with which I totally agree. We are trying to move more in that direction. I did mention our use of mentors (I'm one of those "nearsighted" mentors myself). We are trying other ways to make more hands on practice too. The Mountaineers will, by necessity, always have some degree of regimentation in our courses. Although that can be a good thing, we realize that it's a tempting target, and often poke fun at ourselves about it.

"Attitude" was cited by someone as a problem when dealing with Mountaineer parties on climbs. Again, let me know when this occurs, but I cannot take any action based on some unspecific old incident. Most leaders with us are respectful.

Speaking of attitude, how do you characterize the attitude displayed here? A number of folks on this board have emailed me privately, asking me not to judge the whole from the behavior of a few. Some here are welcoming or offer sincere criticism, both of which I accept as very valuable. Others only want to insult or demean others or are simply hostile and seem to find humor in it. I don't take the voice of these few to represent all of the people on this board. I'd ask you to not paint all Mountaineers with the same brush.

I cannot reply in detail about every post, but I am looking further into the "yellow school buses" story. Speaking for Seattle, we have never used such buses to transport our climbing students, in Leavenworth or Spire Rock, or anyplace else. I'm told that 30 years ago we used grey Trailways buses on some occasions to transport students to Mt. Rainier for snow field trips. I'm asking other branches if they used the notorious buses "several years ago", but right now that seems unlikely.

Limiting Basic Rock climbs to less than the current 6 may have some benefit for other parties on particularly high traffic climbs. To have any significant effect, a reduced party size would need to be adopted by all of our branches, not just Seattle. And maybe other clubs. I am willing to use my influence to work on such a change if this message board can give me reasonable climbing objectives where it is needed. My greatest influence is with Seattle.

Thank you for the opportunity to post.

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quote:

Originally posted by chucK (snipped):
Loren, Nice post. I appreciate your restrained tone respecting the way this thread was started.

Once you have to do it yourself, you see it is not as easy to be perfect.

Like kids, the mountie students and leaders are not telepathically connected to one brain. Unless you actually deny them the right to go out into the mountains, I think you have to give a big untrained group a bit more slack/leeway than smaller teams who have been climbing together for a long time.

I display proof, digital proof, that those installations are a product of the WAC
tongue.gif" border="0


I have done some guiding myself. I know it is not easy, or maybe possible to make a group of six or more with mixed experience move efficiently. I always go out of my way to be gracious, humble, and as polite as possbile when I'm out with a big group. I guess my biggest beef has been their marked unwillingness to hear feedback from the rest of the "climbing community"; that their role power and "everything they've done" for climbing in the Northwest somehow exclude them from being accountable for their impact on climbers who are not in the club.

Steve's post, his non-defensive follow-up, and his thoughtful email reply to my post seem to indicate that things are changing at Mountaineers HQ.

Lundin: I think you'll find that there is another memorial placard there now.

Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.

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quote:

Originally posted by CascadeClimber:

I have done some guiding myself. .

rule #1 dont admit you've done guideing

rule #2 dont guide

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The Mountaineers guy said:"I cannot reply in detail about every post, but I am looking further into the "yellow school buses" story. Speaking for Seattle, we have never used such buses to transport our climbing students, in Leavenworth or Spire Rock, or anyplace else. I'm told that 30 years ago we used grey Trailways buses on some occasions to transport students to Mt. Rainier for snow field trips. I'm asking other branches if they used the notorious buses "several years ago", but right now that seems unlikely."

So...we're going to argue the color of the buses now? Trust me...there were buses, yellow - grey - or otherwise - whether your group wants to admit it or not. (I'd be embarrassed too!) It was so audacious that it made a lasting impact on me. Kind of like the first time I saw a giant group of Mounties rope up in the Paradise parking lot, or the time they tried to kick me off of Spire Rock (which I helped construct) or when they told me that "Mounties Buttress" (I use the other name, "Beginner's Buttress") in the Icicle was "their's" for the weekend, or sent a couple of gumbies to "rescue" me when I was solo-climbing, etc., etc.How about spending a little less time investigating ancient history (rented buses) and see about making some changes such as those suggested by previous posters. rolleyes.gif" border="0

My name is Dwayner...and I'm not a Mountaineer and neither was Dougal Haston, Reinhold Messner, Tom Patey, Joe Brown, and a thousand others for every one of them....so quit droppin' names!- Dwayne

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quote:

Originally posted by rayborbon:
Fred Beckey is\was a mountaineer so shut up
[Moon]

Whatever. He probably started the friggin mountaineers and now regrets it.

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quote:

Originally posted by specialed:

Whatever. He probably started the friggin mountaineers and now regrets it.

Uhuh and you would know [laf][Moon][chubit]

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Wasn't Fred part of a group of renegade young climbers (back in the day, of course) who split off from the Mounties because their climbing was too cutting edge for what the club was comfortable with? Seems like I read something like that. Once upon a time (way back), the Mountaineers were involved w/ just about all of the climbing that happened in WA, but obviously that changed and you had independent, informal groups like Beckey and his pals, the Ptarmigans out of Yakima/Ellensburg, etc. etc. setting new standards and putting up new routes and FA's.

Anyway, interesting thread, there has been some constructive 2-way dialogue going on.

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Big Lou............Mountaineer.

Jed Clampett.......Mountaineer.

Jethro Bodine......Mountaineer.

Honkeydong.........Mouseketeer.

 

Gimme an "M".... [Moon]

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Loren, Nice post. I appreciate your restrained tone respecting the way this thread was started.

I don't want to say the Mounties are all well and good and "carry on", but I think some of your beefs are a bit simplistic. I have learned from having kids that it's very easy to look at how other people run their herds and think they are not doing it right. Once you have to do it yourself, you see it is not as easy to be perfect.

Like kids, the mountie students and leaders are not telepathically connected to one brain. It's difficult to simultaneously get all of them doing the right thing at the right time. I guess you could try to add more[\I] regimentation to their regime, but the already over-regimented nature of the mounties is probably the most common gripe about them here on the board. Unless you actually deny them the right to go out into the mountains, I think you have to give a big untrained group a bit more slack/leeway than smaller teams who have been climbing together for a long time.

I totally agree with what you say about bigger groups causing disproportionate havoc. But like Steve wrote, the mountie climbs aren't really as big as the myth would have you believe. Still, a group of 6 (with 1-2 skilled, 1-2 semi-skilled and 3 unskilled) might be a bit too big. Limiting basic rock trips to 4 people would probably help a lot.

The beef about blind leading the blind in the Mountaineers is right on. The mountaineers should be even more regimented/restrictive about who they have instructing and keeping safe their mostly unqualified students.

And to nitpick your beef about Lundin:

quote:

Originally posted by CascadeClimber:
I personally disagree with the installations on Lundin Peak.

I display proof, digital proof, that those installations are a product of the WAC tongue.gif" border="0plaque2.jpg

BTW, those bolts up there are crazy. When one of them goes, which doesn't seem too unlikely, it's probably gonna be in the hand of some poor sap plummeting down the north face.

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"I married a mountaineer" the new made for TV movie, starring Gary Coleman as "Brick" the seasoned but lonely mountain guide and Britney Spears as the young and naive yet eager beginner, Helga. Check your local listings.

For mature audiences only. tongue.gif" border="0wink.gif" border="0cool.gif" border="0

[ 04-01-2002: Message edited by: Elvis ]

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