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The Mountaineers

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Caveman and I ran into some intermediate climbing class mountaineers this weekend. We talked to them...they talked to us...we climbed what they climbed...they had fun...we had fun...they took the wrong descent...we laughed at them...all is well and right with the world...

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I thought it was a small world that we got to meet Caveman and MikeAdam in person on a climb.

If I can figure out where these pubs that y'all meet are, I may navigate my way over there to meet the rest of you. Who knows, if you meet me in person, you may be inclined to qualify your Mountaineers spray with a smiley to make them more pallatable ;-)

Actually the descent was not that bad.

Perhaps you are referring to my comment that "the descent looks like the gully on climbers left" from where we met. We looked and did not like that, so went down the gully to climbers right, ending up at the base of the J-Y Crag.

We did not feel that bad about the walk down, but did not see an obvious trail either. It was the first time on that cliff for our group.

Would you care to post here the details of the correct descent from where we were?

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quote:

Originally posted by erden:

Would you care to post here the details of the correct descent from where we were?

Inflate paraglider. Jump. Soar. sink.

wink.gif" border="0

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erden,

That was our first time up there too. Still not sure about the descent. We went out left and down the gully. Whatever works to get you down safely I suppose.. [big Drink]

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I agree with gearbot in "Here is my story about the Mountaineers Basic Equivalency Test:"

An AMGA guide would not pass the test. Nor would a real guide (Europe school).

Is this intentional? What effort is made to prepare exp'd climbers for the test?

Just some thoughts . . . Know that the Basic Equivalancy Test is to test people on the methods used to teach the Basic Climbing Course - not to test specific skills (i.e. z-pulley).

Like all climbers who value self preservation, Mountaineers are leary of accepting "outsiders" or unknown climbers untill they have climbed w/ the new person.

Theoreticaly, passing the Basic Eqv Test may allow you to *lead* some climbs. Personaly, even if a climber comes to me w/ 10 yrs of exp and 100s' of climbs, I climb w/ them as if I was soloing untill I see thier (in)competence for myself.

The lack of outsiders and new blood helps perpetuate a fairly stagnant system. Other techniques and ideas will take hold only slowly. This does, however, alow for uniformity between branches of the club.

I will bring this up at the next Tacoma Basic Committee Mtg. Steve F, I would like to address this issue club-wide.

So, gearbot, now that you know what is expected of you, will you study the *Mounties Method* and pass the test next yr, or are you going to whine?

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Dwayner - this Busses thing. So, you do not approve of car pooling or other ways to reduce vehicle impact?

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quote:

Originally posted by jhamaker:
Dwayner - this Busses thing. So, you do not approve of car pooling or other ways to reduce vehicle impact?

a car with 4 climbers tramples less then a bus full of 30 people....

i think you missed the point.............

almost all public land with people quotas limit at max 14..or 12 or something...does that mean you need to take it all the way?? a bus full of 30 people (or whatever their capacity) exceeds this quota in a bad way.........think repsect others as i would like the be repsected myself.

do you want 30 people whom are questionable around you?? i think not...

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quote:

Originally posted by jhamaker:
Dwayner - this Busses thing. So, you do not approve of car pooling or other ways to reduce vehicle impact?

So the buses thing IS true then!

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One of the many problems I have with the mountaineers is that for every ten of them only one is worth climbing with. I also have found them to be very slow in responding to problems. For instance a couple years ago on Mt. Baker a mountaineer walked into a cravas. The mountaineers had two rope teams and two additional groups willing to help. First off the guy had too much slack in the rope and fell in approx 15 feet. To rescue him they set up a Z pully system incorrectly and placed nothing at the lip, so the rope severly cut into the snow when they attempted to pull him out. When my party arrived this poor guy had been in the cravass for 20 min with very little clothing and was very chilled. We set up a block and tackle and with so many people helping had him out within 3-4minutes.

The othe bad experience I had with mountaineers was while soloing the Beckey route on Liberty bell. Two teams of mountaineers were moving very slowly and refused to let me pass. I passed anyway and was shouted at that I was going to die. In actuality I was safer tan they were. Their ancor set up at the belays were very poor and the leader had little experience setting pro and half the pieces were set improperly. It seems like a novice climber who had poor skills and knowledge was in charge of teaching other beginners. In the end I had to through them a rope and belay the leader up on a 5.4 route. I recieved no thank you or even an apology for being yelled at. They even had be inspect their repell line. All this on an easy 5.4 route. In essence I became their instructor. What kind of group fosters this kind of incompetence?(THe Mountaineers.) Sorry to flame here its just I have had so many run ins with the mountaineers over the years and have seen them make easy and safe climbs epics and dangerous.

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They teach placing an ice axe at the lip.They would have flunked the BE Test.It is a screwey deal . Most of the people I ran into were studying the book while in line to pass a portion of their requirements for the Basic Class. The instruction was not consistant and overly required egos were present amongst "MOST of the "Instructors". I learned the basics ,but I must also add it was because I REALLY wanted too and put alot of my own time in studying. It sounds like they are a lot more strict at the equivalency test than the basic course where they only constantly "threaten" to flunk you.

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Oh the mountaineers, let me count the ways they get lost. Oops I ran out of fingers and toes. I went on four climbs with them and their leaders got lost once, climbed the wrong mountain twice and one time even chickened out. When I told them I climbed peaks solo they thought I was a bad person. I say screw them and their herd mentality and their rules and regulations. I climb to be free and have fun and I don't get lost.

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I think Jason brings up some good points. Not every memeber of these climbing groups: mounties, mazamas, whoever.. are arrogant and rude. I do believe that some members may be put in a posisiton of authority LONG before they are ready to be.

Living in Oregon I have only had the displeasure of several unfavorable run-ins with some of the mazamas, but the results have been similar with those related in this thread: blind leading the blind.

My example: On a very simple solo climb on Hood,(climbing southside) I ran across a large group of mazamas at the hogsback. From the point that I could make out specific words, I could tell that the climb leader was making an example of me and my desicion to climb alone, never mind what my experience is, how much I had previously climbed that year just broad stoke assumptions. All the while his "students" where carrying on in any fashion they chose, axe in the wrong hand, trying to pass the climber in front of them when they were roped together etc. When I confronted the leader about his continual bad-mouthing he confidently let me know (practically yelling) that I was the most unsafe climber he had ever encountered. I bring this up because the very next week, this same climb leader was up on the mountain with a new group of students late in the day on the west ridge when a crown fracture formed starting a moderate sized avy that seriously injured on an took the life of another.

Like I and others in this thread have said before, there are good and bad in every group, but as Jason suggests maybe some type of reorganization and longer teaching periods are in order before these guys let loose their "teachers" on the rest of us who are climbing for the personal satifaction, not the ego.

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Does anyone else here find it funny that some of the members of this board, of all people, would collectively accuse OTHERS of being rude?

Reading back through the responses to the initial post by the Mountaineer Representative, do all these responses strike you as respectful? Do many?

My point is not that the Mountaineers -- and other large groups -- can't be overwhelming, disrespectful, or clueless -- many of the group's personal experiences have revealed that this is the case -- my point is that this board has responded in a very predictably rude fashion. It's like the Mountaineer guy walked into the cascadeclimber clubhouse and has been pummeled. How useful is that towards actually accomplishing any communication or change, or even towards having any credibility when making these claims or requests? frown.gif" border="0

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quote:

Originally posted by Jason Martin:

The way that they train their club members is to have them go through a one year course. At the end of a year those same participants are required to "teach." I believe that this is the root of the problem.

Jason

Actually, just because one graduates from the basic course does not automatically make one an instructor. There is no "requirement" to teach for basic grads.

If a basic grad decides to tackle the intermediate course, then yes they are required to teach once at each of the basic field trips. And all basic grads are invited to contribute back to the club by volunteering to teach. There is some limited weeding out of potential instructors, and "new" instructors are supposed to be paired with someone of more experience the first time or 2.

That being said, I've had both frustrating and relatively good experience with the Mounties.

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quote:

Originally posted by Jason Martin:

The way that they train their club members is to have them go through a one year course. At the end of a year those same participants are required to "teach." I believe that this is the root of the problem.

Jason

Actually, just because one graduates from the basic course does not automatically make one an instructor. There is no "requirement" to teach for basic grads.

If a basic grad decides to tackle the intermediate course, then yes they are required to teach once at each of the basic field trips. And all basic grads are invited to contribute back to the club by volunteering to teach. There is some limited weeding out of potential instructors, and "new" instructors are supposed to be paired with someone of more experience the first time or 2.

That being said, I've had both frustrating and relatively good experience with the Mounties.

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There's a difference between talking shit on cascadeclimbers and being a rude self-righteous asshole too others you meet in the mountains (or at pub club).

[ 04-09-2002: Message edited by: specialed ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Jason Martin:
Three things are being expounded on in this thread:

1) Mountaineers Heard Mentality2) Rudeness in the Mountains3) Poor Instruction linked to over-reactive egos... They've been told that they know everything they need to know to instruct. They passed their class. So if they don't know a specific technique it must be wrong.

Egos are inflated by this position. They are in charge. It is their job to point out techniques that are "wrong." Unfortunately their toolbox of techqniques is nearly empty, so they don't know what's wrong and what's right. They feel that it is their job to "instruct" people who are not in their party...

<snip> What if it took two, three, or four years before a person was allowed to "lead" groups? What if they were required to learn about mountain ettiquet during their courses? What if it were pounded into them that rudeness is not acceptable in the mountains? What if they always limited their group size to six or less?

I think we, the non-mountaineers, have a responsibility too. I don't think its right to attack them or be rude to them because of their group size or attitude. I think it's all of our responsibilites to show beginning climbers that rudeness and unsoliceted advice is not acceptable ettiquet. I also think it is all of our jobs to limit our group sizes and impacts on the environment.

Jason raises some interesting points on improvement. I have previous experience "training" climbing leaders to take a group to a crag, set up a technically competent toprope anchor and have a fun time with a small group of climbers. While we hammered home how important it was to learn the technical aspects of this kind of trip (setting a safe TR anchor using nuts and hexes) was extremely important, we also placed a strong emphasis on people skills. Leaders and instructors should be relaxed and inspire confidence as well as an openness to their trip members and the people around them. Generally it took a few years and plenty of leading under supervision before one became a leader. If they weren't good with people, they weren't good for our organization because they were leading newbies and interacting with the climbing community as a representative of our org.Sure, it was a different organization nowhere near here, but we still required a LOT of our potential leaders and that was just for toproping!!

This whole thread bums me out. frown.gif" border="0 I moved here with a lot of hope for joining the Mountaineers, taking some classes and joining the instructor ranks. I haven't given up on the idea. But if I'm on a trip and a leader tells us how stupid a soloist is or refuses to let him/her pass us, I'll be all over it. Soloing, however you feel about it personally, is a decision that an individual climber has the right to make. I'm sure we'll hear the argument about how the soloist in danger puts everyone else is at risk when they have to save them, but I stand firm in my opinion. Hopefully it won't get me kicked out.

Like gearbot, I, too, am unqualified to follow on the Tooth. That's OK. I'd rather lead it anyway. grin.gif" border="0

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So one guy in the Mountaineers says it's not safe to solo climb. Big deal.

Why not bitch about him instead of the Mountaineers? I say that because I know there are Mountaineers that solo, so I doubt that that attitude is the "standard" for the whole organization.

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I kinda like Harvey Manning's style. You gotta love cranky, disheveled looking old timers that are still out doing stuff the rest of us can only hope we're still doing when we're that age. Kinda like Fred. Anyway, I think the 100 Hikes books have way more character than the Falcon series. I take anything I read in a hiking guide w/ a grain of salt. Or many grains of salt. "Do not go beyond this point, it is extremely dangerous." How many times you read that, continue on beyond that point, and wonder if you'd call it class 2 or class 3? I got up into the upper end of the cirque on N. side of Shuksan (total brain cramp, can't think of the name of it), kept waiting for the part where it supposedly got impassable. Never did find it. Ah, Nooksack, that's it. Anyway, I like the fact that Harvey is always bashing on motorcycle access on trails, I am of the same mind on that issue.

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Three things are being expounded on in this thread:

1) Mountaineers Heard Mentality2) Rudeness in the Mountains3) Poor Instruction linked to over-reactive egos

Let me start by saying I don't think the mountaineers are bad. Most of the individuals are interested in learning how to climb and with the current popularity of the sport, who can blame them? On their own, most of them are nice guys.

I think all three of the items I listed above are connected. They are not seperate issues, but one in the same.

The way that they train their club members is to have them go through a one year course. At the end of a year those same participants are required to "teach." I believe that this is the root of the problem.

Putting someone who is not ready to instruct in an instructors position is dangerous and unethical. Suddenly these people are in a spot that they may not have been in before... They've been told that they know everything they need to know to instruct. They passed their class. So if they don't know a specific technique it must be wrong.

Egos are inflated by this position. They are in charge. It is their job to point out techniques that are "wrong." Unfortunately their toolbox of techqniques is nearly empty, so they don't know what's wrong and what's right. They feel that it is their job to "instruct" people who are not in their party...

I believe that putting a person in this position not only inflates the ego but adds undo stress. Thus they are often rude to other parties of non-mountaineers. Indeed, what if someone outside their party knows more than they do about mountaineering... They have been put in this position by the powers that be because they believe they know everything they need to know.

Due to this premature concept of leading groups, their is a psychological need for numbers. Strength in numbers you know. Thus the buses pull up to the crags and the hordes swarm over the Easton Glacier.

So should they be abolished? Thrown away? Eliminated? Of course not... Perhaps they just need to restructure a bit.

What if it took two, three, or four years before a person was allowed to "lead" groups? What if they were required to learn about mountain ettiquet during their courses? What if it were pounded into them that rudeness is not acceptable in the mountains? What if they always limited their group size to six or less?

I think we, the non-mountaineers, have a responsibility too. I don't think its right to attack them or be rude to them because of their group size or attitude. I think it's all of our responsibilites to show beginning climbers that rudeness and unsoliceted advice is not acceptable ettiquet. I also think it is all of our jobs to limit our group sizes and impacts on the environment.

As has been stated above, the mountaineers are responsible for a lot of good things too. Among them, guidebooks, trail work, and generally an environmental stance...

I don't know... I didn't intend this to be a manifesto, just a few ideas.

Jason

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Ok Enough with the large group psuedo analysis. Has anyone ever thought what if the Mounties limited them selves to groups of n. (where n is some arbitrarily number stated by an "anti-mountie") Would we be overwhelmed by small groups every day of the year? What size is the optimal size? Let's have a real analysis of the situation. We have a man who dedicated his life to math (Pope) and a self described "Math Geek" ChucK. Couldn't a quick and dirty mathematical model be created to solve this sticky problem?

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quote:

Originally posted by Peter Puget:
Couldn't a quick and dirty mathematical model be created to solve this sticky problem?

Maybe. But when I took the Basic Course in 1985, I noticed the gender ratio in the club was rather skewed, and that a large number of Mountaineers seemed terribly interested in the two or three cute gals taking the course.

Based on this observation, I propose the following solution. We hire ten attractive women to hike up to Mounties Buttress and pretend to be interested in climbing. They will then announce that mountaineering seems less exciting then they anticipated, and that they think the boys look more handsome without the goofy helmets and lug-soled boots. Next the ladies will invite the Mounties to come experience the thrill of modern dance... "Oh, and what do you know, we're late for our jazz/tap class in Wenatchee. Maybe you gents would like to give us a lift over there in you school bus."

We will see an exodus of unparalleled proportions. Opportunists will be waiting by the bus, offering to purchase backpacks and Gore-tex at a fraction of the retail price. Then they can return the items to REI to recover the cost of hiring the babes.

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