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The Mountaineers

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Club's full of lawyers and there are waivers and shit. I don't think a lawsuit would get anywhere. After all, we (including them) climb at our own volition.

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Believe it or not the Mounties are the red headed bastard step children of the Mazamas. The Mounties were started by folks who belonged to the Mazamas but lived in Seattle, check it out, or don't. Actually from my experience, the Mounties are as bad as most folks say and are slightly worse than the Mazamas. It stands to reason though, there are like 10 times the number of Mountaineers as Mazamas.

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Gotta add my two cents. I've heard all the standard garbage about the Mountaineers, and little seems to carry much weight in my mind.

It did make me think about the following:

1) There is not a lot of testosterone generated by a dedication to safety- I supose this bothers some people.

2)There are Mountaineers who talk more than they climb, and Mountaineers that have climbing skills I can only dream of. I can't imagine why anyone would care.

3)Ever notice how most of the crowds on Rainier are not really members of the Mountaineers?

4) Ever notice how when help is needed how many members of Mountain Rescue are members of and trained by the Mountaineers?

5)Ever notice who has published most of the NW trail and climbing guides over the years?

That would be the Mountaineers, right?

6)I can't believe I'm wasting my time here- I would love to end with some well directed sarcasm, but out of respect for Steve, I suppose it's more appropriate to give it a rest.

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I am tellin ya,

The Vulgarians had a "Vulgariphone" that let out 150 decibel flatulence. They used it on the Grand Teton at the lower saddle in the summer in the 60's. I think it was some sort of 10" diameter type PVC pipe that they filled the botton with lighter fluid or something. They could hear gasses being expelled down in Jackson. I am thinking that we could put RMI and the mounties out of business if we hang out at Muir or show up at scheduled mounties climbs and let it ripp

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quote:

Originally posted by glennm:
5)Ever notice who has published most of the NW trail and climbing guides over the years?That would be the Mountaineers, right?

Just a comment. Let's be clear here, the Mountaineers Books is a separate arm of the Mounties. They are essentially "hired guns" in the publishing field. I very much doubt that even half of the authors of Mountaineers published books are members. Correct me if I'm wrong but that's my feeling from the authors that come to mind. It doesn't really matter, but out of all that you wrote, that was the thing that immediately struck me.

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quote:

Originally posted by Big Wall Betty:
It is my understanding that Fred Beckey has an honorary membership in the Mountaineers...ie they inducted him. Maybe with his permission, but I don't think he was really part of them.

Betty has spoken.

Whether honorary, inducted or voluntary, Fred is on the membership roles of the Mazamas.

Thankfully, however, I am not.

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quote:

Originally posted by mtngrrrl:
By the way, a pal of mine is taking the Boeing-Mountie course and an "instructor" said he carries a can of dog food as his extra-extra food to ensure that he only eats it in case of a true emergency. I have nothing more to add since that about sums things up, if you ask me.

I think Harvey Manning recommended doing this in one of his older hike books, only it was dry dog food, not canned. The idea is, it's lightweight, won't spoil, nutritious, and, of course, you probably won't be tempted to snack on it.But these days, with mad-cow disease and all, I'd be pretty wary about eating food manufactured for animals. The cleanliness and content standards are way lower than human foods.

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Ever had the misfortune of smelling the air around a rendering plant?

Do that and then maybe you'll never consider eating dog food again. [hell no]

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Ever notice how much page space Mounties guidebooks spend trashing on everyone who doesn't exactly conform to their textbook ideals? mad.gif" border="0 ie, mountainbikers, ski areas, etc... Granted some of the soapboxing may be warranted, but keep it outta the guidebooks. The darker side of the Mountaineers touchy-feely syndrome...

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I understand that the original post was in a sensitive, corporate seminar speak tone of wording but here is my take on the mounties:

I got into climbing the same way alot of folks do these days. I went to a gym, got interested and wanted further instruction, but not being the social type there weren't exactly tons of people dying to take me climbing. Someone I know said the mounties had a basic course and that it was fairly good instruction. I went down to the office, signed up and was told that I would probably be put on a waiting list. It isn't first come, it's dependant on your length of membership. A lazy person who has been a member for 10 years can sanke my spot at the last minute even if I was the first to sign up. I didn't like this much but also didn't know of any alternatives so I waited, hoping I would get on the list. I also did as much research on climbing/instruction, etc as I could. The more I read, the less I liked the attitude of the mountaineers. After you are "accepted" you have to volunteer your time to teach others, I saw this as haphazard because I was there to learn to begin with, not teach. This led me to RMI (yes, RMI) and a considerable investment into climbing instruction. More research, alot of it on this board. has casued me to change my direction entirely. I had no idea how crowded the areas really were or that groups like the mounties and RMI were some of the main crowders. I don't want to be led or told what to do out of a book, I can do that on my own. I don't want to be part of a cattle drive. To some, these threads get old but I would never have known, until I actually got into the class, how bad it was. I have no doubt that I would have bailed on the first day. I had enough barely useful field tests in the army to last a lifetime. I decided to take my axe, boots, crampons and some rope and go learn this on my own.

In short: Fuck the MountaineersFuck RMI, Fuck guided climbs Fuck Climbing Groups.

Maybe a little "fuck the gym" is in order but I still go there sometimes.

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Ragging on the Mountaineers is an old sport. My friends and I did it when we started climbing 25 years ago. It was an old sport then.

Occasionally the Mountaineers take positions I don't like on the issues. Occasionally they are slow to adopt new technical ideas. But over the years they've done so many good things that I'm willing to cut them lots of slack.

After spurning the club during my first years of climbing, I joined in the mid-1980s and have been with them ever since. I've been a volunteer manuscript reviewer for Mountaineers Books for ten years. Lately the club has been super supportive of my ski mountaineering history project. And I've become a member of the History Committee (some real legends there). I've never taken one of their courses, so I can't comment on them.

I admire Steve Firebaugh for reaching out to this board and offering to work out any problems. He's maintained a more positive tone than I could have managed. So far I haven't heard many concrete suggestions that he can fix.

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I see what you're saying, Lowell. Like I said earlier, I have nothing against the Mountaineers. I admire Steve for his patience and respect his offer. But I am SOOOOO tempted to ask: Where was he at the last PubClub? Will he be at the next one?

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quote:

Originally posted by Alpine Tom:
...it's lightweight, won't spoil, nutritious, and, of course, you probably won't be tempted to snack on it.

...That's why I carry Power Bars as extra food.

Uhh...what was the topic?

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Here is my story about the Mountaineers Basic Equivalency Test:

I moved to Seattle last fall from Switzerland, excited about joining The Mountaineers, interested in taking classes and leading trips. I am an average climber with 15 years of rock climbing experience, with 3 seasons in the Alps, including summitting Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn (by the normal routes). Nothing extreme, but competent in the mountains. I did not pass the basic equivalency test.

Escaping the belay: I wrapped the rope around my leg. My instructor told me I should always wrap the rope around the foot, not the leg because that would “cut off circulation”. I informed him that I have done this several times without any ill effects.

Navigation test: A complete failure. On this written test, it did not state where you started. I ask the instructor, who told me the wrong parking lot on the map. After he “corrected” my test, (i.e. compared the answers to the answer sheet that was given to him), he informed me that I had "major problems" with my navigation. After we discovered that it was his mistake, the test quickly disappeared. One of the questions was “what do the brown areas on a USGS map indicate”. My answer was “rocks, dirt, no trees”; my “instructor” told me that was incorrect, “there also could be small trees or shrubs”.

Crevasse Rescue: We were a team of three. I went first. I setup a Z line and started hauling the victim up. My “instructor” told me to stop, and said that my setup was not a “Z line” but a “C line” and called the chef instructor over to confirm this. When he arrived, he confirmed that the setup was in fact a “Z line”. Other memorable quotes from the “instructor” during this exercise: “One prusik knot could never hold the weight of a person” (I mentioned that it did just that an hour before when I prusiked up the rope), and “Just forget about trying to equalize snow anchors”.

I understand that the “instructors” are volunteers and might not have a lot of teaching experience, but I was left with the feeling that my “instructors” were given instructions to fail as many people as possible, which seems evident by my incorrect response to “what do the brown areas on a USGS map indicate”. Do The Mountaineer want to fail people so they collect more $$$ by forcing them to take the full Basic Climbing Class? This is what my $35 got my (the price of the basic equivalency test), I feel cheated.

G.B.(Not certified to follow a Mountaineer up The Tooth)

[ 04-07-2002: Message edited by: gearbot ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Lowell Skoog:
I admire Steve Firebaugh for reaching out to this board and offering to work out any problems. He's maintained a more positive tone than I could have managed. So far I haven't heard many concrete suggestions that he can fix.

I was one of the original smart-asses who replied to Steve's post. While I don't apologize for what I said, I do believe that Steve was sincere. I also believe the reason there haven't been any concrete suggestions that he can fix is that what the Mountaineers do as an educational institution is inherently in opposition to the mindset of many individual climbers: Climbing is something that is personal and free from restrictions.

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I'm not ragging on the mountaineers, I just don't want to be part of them. As for what could be done to "fix" the situation I think that at the very least they could reduce class sizes to 10 percent of the current size, this would at least make them look like they cared enough to practice low impact, no trace climbing instead of churning out hundreds of new climbers per year who each have the potential, through ignorance perpetuated by volunteers, to destroy the land and crags they have come to "appreciate and protect". That's my opinion. I don't see huge drives for maintenance with the mountaineers of anything except clubhouses and cabins. The WTA is always out fixing damaged trails and approaches. They actually practice what they preach. According to Steve, He doesn't have much pull. He certainly has more with the mountaineers than I or anyone else I know does so the real question is does he care about the crowds he's perpetuating? I would venture to say that he only cares about the money that comes into his organization and what orders he's given. They may have a charter, funding, a bunch of books and thousands of members but that doesn't make it an intelligent organization.

So no, I'm not ragging on them, I'm just very, very glad I didn't take the basic class from them. I'm embarrassed that I even signed up.

Now open: Beefcider’s Climbing Club. You can only be a member as long as you don’t belong to any climbing organization, including mine.

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quote:

Originally posted by glen:
Ever notice how much page space Mounties guidebooks spend trashing on everyone who doesn't exactly conform to their textbook ideals?
mad.gif" border="0
ie, mountainbikers, ski areas, etc... Granted some of the soapboxing may be warranted, but keep it outta the guidebooks. The darker side of the Mountaineers touchy-feely syndrome...

I agree, Glen! Much of this "soapboxing" comes from Mr. Harvey Manning (author) and is the big reason I look for alternatives to Mountaineer books. (ie: Falcon Pub) Mr Manning comes across as an extremist who would ban motor-drives on cameras in wilderness areas if he could. Reading his rantings in Mountaineer Books is just too much to bear. Their 100 Hikes series should be re written by a more moderate voice.

I know slamming 'ol Harvey is blasphemy of the highest order within the club, so my flamesuit is now on.

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I see your point RURP, but I did live there. I grew up in Washington and only moved here last fall and I still believe that there are options out there for helmethead avoidance that qualify as easy or family suitable. I have a family now and want to move back to the best place on earth someday so have been thinking of areas like this. They include Wilkeson, Peshastin, Mt Eirie, I think just not going to Leavenworth gets you away from a huge percentage of the mountie mob scene. As for non-rock ventures, just don't go to Rainier!!!

I am not crazy about the mounties, that is why I never joined them. Yes many never leave but many more do in fact remove the name-tag from thier helmet and become independant organisms completely seperate from the collective. I think the price we pay for having a megolithic group like this in our midst is relatively small compared to the positive influences the Mounties have had on our pastime/sport/lifestyle. Many of the autonomous members are wage earners who vote on conservation/preservation issues or contribute money to said causes. That has to be worth something doesn't it? Besides, who would we have to make fun of if they didn't exist?

And yes, Manning is a crazy old bugger but still gets an A in my book simply because his heart is definately in the right place!

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quote:

Originally posted by Fairweather:

I know slamming 'ol Harvey is blasphemy of the highest order within the club, so my flamesuit is now on.

You're right. Shame on you. Anybody who would work to prevent a hillbilly like you from driving your smelly redneck-mobile into virgin old growth to terrorize my owls...that man deserves more respect than you seem to be giving him. There is an assumption in Harvey's writing: wilderness will continue to satisfy our desire for beauty and remoteness for generations to come only if we take every precaution to keep it wild. If this is "extreme" environmentalism, I'll have another helping, please. Pope.

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All organizations, including ours, have room for improvement. I continue to invite your constructive suggestions. We are a volunteer club run by members for members, not some monolithic corporation.

We do take "stewardship" beyond words in guidebooks: we require it of our students. They must participate in a qualifying activity, most commonly in trail maintenance or re-vegetation projects. We work closely with a number of conservation organizations in this effort. This requirement from the Seattle climbing course alone results in some 1000+ man hours of volunteer work per year.

An InvitationIf you are responsible for a specific project of this sort in need of volunteer help, please get in touch. We want to make as many opportunities available to our members as we can, with special emphasis on projects related to climbing for our climbing students.

The WTA, the Access Fund, and a number of other conservation organizations are all making big efforts to help preserve our mountains and crags and access to them. We invite you to join us in providing them the support they deserve. Some specific resources to help anyone interested get connected on specific projects are at http://www.mountaineers.org/conservation/trailm.html.

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