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SEF

The Mountaineers

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Goatboy, I think the responses have been rather restrained. Unless SEF is a completely naive idiot (and I don't think he is), he was prepared when he sent his first post for much worse than has actually happened. I say, with a few exceptions, congratulations CascadeClimbers for keeping your comments, if not not nice, at least to the point and based upon facts.

Peter, The optimal number of climbers on a basic rock climb is four. At least one experienced leader. At least one hottie. At least one sub 25-year old who drank too much last night who will blow chunks on the approach and make the older participants who got to bed at 7pm the night before feel smug. For basic glacier climbs where you're camping on snow, the optimal number is not bounded above; however, federal constraints may apply. For all other climbs, the optimal number is 6. At least one experienced leader, one leader with at least a couple years in the intermediate course, at most one unexperienced [read basic grad qualifications only]leader. Increase the minimum number of females to two. Still at least one hottie.

Pope, Please check my math.

As for the Musketeers only knowing one way to do stuff and being very regimented about the rules. I think that is GOOD!!! When you are first starting out climbing you oughta stick to some basic safety rules. Inexperienced people aren't yet qualified enough to really know when and why some rules don't apply in some situations. So, should stick to some very safe rules [like no sololing, bringing the 10 essentials, etc.] until they get enough experience to know better.

Everybody on this board has safety rules they never really question. Some oughta have more. Knocking people for being too safe is lame. Mind your own business.

If there's a Musketeer blanket rule that you believe puts people in danger, I'd be very surprised. I'd like to hear about it, and I'm sure SEF would too.

Finally. If the Musketeers wanna arrange bus transportation to their field trips. More power too them. Less cars=good.

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quote:

Originally posted by SEF:

 

Blaming the crowds on the Mountaineers or any other group is symptomatic of the frustration that the crags are getting increasingly crowded. The trouble is, even if the Mountaineers went away, the crowding would still occur. Face it; the sport is growing much faster than the Mountaineers. Ever been to Vertical World on a winter weekday evening? Sunshine wall on March weekends? Then you've seen the crowds. Our sport has a vacuum between the number of people who desire to climb and avenues available for them to learn how. As predictable as the laws of physics, something will fill that vacuum.

 

We share your concern about large party sizes on climbs. Our normal party size limit on our Basic Rock Climbs is 6, not the 10-12 mentioned on this board. Glacier climbs can have up to 12, but will be less in certain circumstances. Our typical party on an Intermediate Rock climb is 4. Note that on the Tooth and a few other popular climbs, on any summer weekend, you will likely find a crowd even if no Mountaineer party shows up. A common reaction I have witnessed is to label most any large climbing party as Mountaineers. We get the "credit", whether deserved or not.

 

We limit the size of our courses, often to the consternation of some who do not get in. At the close of registration we usually have to turn away several dozens of applicants. 10 to 20 years ago we did not turn away so many folks and the courses were even larger. We also do our best to offer each Basic Student an experienced mentor to meet and work with them through the course. The mentor may also take them on climbs. Through such mentoring we try to give the course a personal feel.

 

Steve Firebaugh

Seattle Climbing Committee Chair

The Mountaineers

Do you consider 90 climbers a crowd?

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"Us Mountaineers, we have no fears, we do not care for riches...we knock our cocks upon the rocks, us hearty sons-a-bitches".

 

[big Grin]

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quote:

Originally posted by trask:

"Us Mountaineers, we have no fears, we do not care for riches...we knock our cocks upon the rocks, us hearty sons-a-bitches".

 

[big Grin]

Most excellent, Mr. Trask. You should change your handle to Busta Rhymes.

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Pope, that's an old rhyme my old man used to use... that, and "I hope to shit in your messkit". You know, a play on the old "Does a hobby horse have a hickory dick" rhyme. I can't take credit for it. [Razz]

 

[ 04-18-2002, 02:59 PM: Message edited by: trask ]

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The Mountaineers:

 

First off, Kudos to Steve for kicking off a most interesting 6 page thread! I am sorry for the length I am about to contribute.

 

Who am I? I am a mountaineer for the past 5 years and came to the Mountaineers with about 5 previous years of backcountry skiing and climbing experience. -I too found my early days putting up with the Moutie dogma difficult, though in the end rewarding for my own reasons- My skills are very modest and my accomplishments, I am sure, pale in the shining light of most of your climbing trophy cabinets.

 

I like the idea of stating some basic issues and dealing with them.

 

The Mountie Herds and environmental impact:

-------------------------------------------

 

I agree, the size of the Basic Course enrollment seems outrageous. While the Mounties do things to limit field trip size, it is probably not enough. Interestingly though, many of the places named in earlier claims of Mountaineering hoardes are not even places that the Mounties hold there Basic course field trips. I.E. I don't think they (the Seattle branch) have ever been to Vantage, nor Peshastin in the recent 4-5 years. Yes there are other seminar courses and the crag climbing course that may venture to such places, including Royal Columns, but the group sizes of these courses are far less significant than the Basic or Intermediate course sizes - <20 people.

 

You have to acknowledge that the pass-time of climbing is growing in popularity and will continue in the future. Hopefully we will remember that we all have a common bond and should support all climber's interests in preserving and protecting the environments and facilities we use to our recreational benefit.

 

To second Steve's respnse, the mounties require that all basic students complete a conservation duty. In the past, I believe, a great majorty of these requirements have been accomplished through joining WTA work parties. How many of you have EVER done trail maintenance? How many do it on an annual, or more regular basis? - I am sure there are some of you... so I don't intend to generalize

 

I think the Mountaineers are being scape-goated a la big generalization to represent all organized group learning activities.

 

The Mountaineer's instruction and Leadership:

---------------------------------------------

 

I think we are hearing a confusion between "instructing basic course material" versus "Climb Leadership".

 

On Instructing -

I agree that there is some degree of inadequacy in having intermediate course students instruct the basic course field trips. In particular, I agree that certain Intermediate students may NEVER be comfortable with their abilities to instruct REGARDLESS of their skill , know-how or competency. Instructing is not for everyone. And poor instruction, or instruction with the wrong attitude is not beneficial. The mountaineers may need to rethink ways around this issue.

 

A couple things to clear up:

 

There is no requirement to instruct immediately upon entering the Intermediate course, the course participants are given 5 years to complete the course requirements and there is nothing forcing them to do anything they are uncomfortable with before they are ready.

 

As far as the purpose for having intermediate students instruct basic students goes... there are a couple worthwhile points to consider. 1. we have already acknowledged that the skills being taught in the basic course are not rocket science. Complexity is limited by focusing on singular, simple and safe methods to accomplish safe mountain oriented travel. This can be criticized as regimental, but it serves the purpose. 2. If any of you have taken a moment to instruct, tutor or mentor anyone else on any subject matter, you will have discovered that in the interest of doing a good job, you are required to brush up on the concepts and skills yourself. This, in effect, is using the act of instructing to re-train the "instructor" on the skills they should already have.

 

On Leadership -

There seems to be an impression that leadership is quickly and easily accomplished within the Mountaineers. Not necessarily so. There is a leadership committee that screens leadershi p applications, checks climbing resumes, follows up with in depth personal climbing references and surely applies a standard of acceptance that goes much beyond passing the Basic climbing course. Beyond the leadership committee's investigation and recommendation for leadership status, the entire climbing committee -proportionally as huge and unruly as the entire program itself- has an opportunity to review, approve or reject, the leadership committee's recommendation. I am sure the club house would be happy to share its policies on this matter to any who care to ask.

 

I am a leader myself, and I dare suggest that it has little to do with my all-star, world-class climbing skills. I think it has more to do with an assessment of judgement. Like you yourself must judge - to climb withing your own abilities, as the conditions of the climb permit, A leader will also judge which climbs to lead with a Mountaineer's party of varying -often unknown- degree of skill and competence. So rarely will you hard-core climbers find a Mountaineers party leading a group of any size up Willis wall, tying up Outer Space or free soloing the nose. Yes, climbing outer space is on an occassional agenda, but no doubt requires leader's permission - which means the leader has probably climbed with you before and knows your competence level.

 

Speaking of the Mountaineer's leadership climbing skills, I have heard and read a lot of criticism on this as well. I came to thinking about it a couple weeks ago. Yes, the skill level varies widely. The physical conditioning level does as well. Many climbers involved with the mountaineers are not considered gifted climbers like yourselves reading this -though some are-. But who cares? These people are more likely driven by, and have a greater sense of personal fulfillment teaching the course, sharing their FUNDAMENTAL skills and knowledge, and teaching safety by leading by example. Yes, they are more driven by their contribution to the growing climbing community than by achieving climbing trophys. Its NOT for everybody! Some of us climbing demi-gods even need climbing gods to look up to for inspiration. Sincere thanks!

 

As for leadership attitude, cockey-ness, rudeness, etc. I guess I have to submit that A-holes roam the planet wherever you go... lurking on this board, and some of them even slip through the Mounties leadership screen. Humans!

 

Enough said,

GS

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Originally posted by gschryer2:

[QB]The Mountaineers:

 

First off, Kudos to Steve for kicking off a most interesting 6 page thread! I am sorry for the length I am about to contribute.

 

Dude lighten up that post was way toooo long!! [Roll Eyes]

Don't be dismayed buy the spray on this board they trash everyone and everything. The mountainsterrs are not my cup of tea but if you are getting out and haveing fun making friends that is what it is all about, who climbs what and in what style ain't jack. [big Grin]

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hikerwa wrote

 

"I don't think that the all of the mountaineers suck, just the ones that I too have encountered with the "i own this (rock, crevasse, mountain)" attitude."

 

Agree agree agree.

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quote:

Originally posted by Rodchester:

hikerwa wrote

 

"I don't think that the all of the mountaineers suck, just the ones that I too have encountered with the "i own this (rock, crevasse, mountain)" attitude."

 

Agree agree agree.

This is the problem with being/belonging to an organization or identifiable class of folks. You may be unfairly branded with the worst of the worst that your group has produced. Many people think poorly of all Mountaineers because they once encountered some jerk or someone that somehow inconvenienced them who was identified as a mountie.

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But I have to often heard the "we have a class" as some sort of reason why I should get off a route or leave an area. To often I hear:

 

"Um, hi. I'm from the mountaineers, and we have a class using this area today."

 

Um, hi. I'm not from the mountaineers. I have no class. I am not in a class. I am climbing here. Have a nice day. [Roll Eyes]

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quote:

Originally posted by Rodchester:

But I have to often heard the "we have a class" as some sort of reason why I should get off a route or leave an area. To often I hear:

 

"Um, hi. I'm from the mountaineers, and we have a class using this area today."

 

Um, hi. I'm not from the mountaineers. I have no class. I am not in a class. I am climbing here. Have a nice day.
[Roll Eyes]

This is pretty ironic coming from a guide.

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quote:

Originally posted by Rodchester:

But I have to often heard the "we have a class" as some sort of reason why I should get off a route or leave an area. To often I hear:

 

"Um, hi. I'm from the mountaineers, and we have a class using this area today."

 

Um, hi. I'm not from the mountaineers. I have no class. I am not in a class. I am climbing here. Have a nice day.
[Roll Eyes]

My friend Rob and I used to have a standard line when arriving at the base of a climb to find someone else already queued up for it: "Excuse me, we have this climb reserved for today."

Initial reactioin was usually a "Fuck YOU!" look until they found out we weren't serious.

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scottp-

i did that on deirdre in squamish...the funny thing is it worked! [big Grin][Eek!] we told them we were joking....we souldn't have....it took them 30 minutes to get of the 5.0 slab start.... [Mad] we'll not even go into what happened after that.... [Mad]

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quote:

Originally posted by scott harpell:

scottp-

i did that on deirdre in squamish...the funny thing is it worked!
[big Grin][Eek!]
we told them we were joking....we souldn't have....it took them 30 minutes to get of the 5.0 slab start....
[Mad]
we'll not even go into what happened after that....
[Mad]

Yeah, there I remember a couple of times when the other guys looked a little befuddled like they were about to step aside. We'd just laugh, tell them to have fun, and head for a contingent.

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Chuck - Rodchester is not a guide. He can hardly get himself up most routes, including the Tooth.

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quote:

To second Steve's respnse, the mounties require that all basic students complete a conservation duty. In the past, I believe, a great majorty of these requirements have been accomplished through joining WTA work parties. How many of you have EVER done trail maintenance?

Look, Steve only brought that up because I said that the mounties only promote restoration of thier own cabins/clubhouses, etc. I still get the monthly newsletter and have yet to see a front page or any page for that matter, article about cleaning up trails, approaches or anything like it. They may require it but they don't promote it. All Steve did was take my post and make it his by saying that we should support the WTA and the Access Fund by supporting the mountaineers. What the hell does that mean? If I'm going to support the WTA, which I do, I'll go to the WTA, not the mountaineers.

 

His invitation to help support other organizations through his was idiotic. He was just covering his ass because what I said is essentially true. The concept of conservation and restoration of the areas they use is NOT something they promote.

 

If any of you are mountaineers and tell me that you are using "that route today for a class" you can expect to see the gleaming white asses and the rusty sherrif's badges of me and my climbing partner many times as we ascend the route you claim as yours.

 

Anyone else will just see the cheeks and no chocolate starfish.

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quote:

Originally posted by beefcider:

Look, Steve only brought that up because I said that the mounties only promote restoration of thier own cabins/clubhouses, etc. I still get the monthly newsletter and have yet to see a front page or any page for that matter, article about cleaning up trails, approaches or anything like it. They may require it but they don't promote it.


I guess it depends on what you mean by promote. I would agree that these are not written up on Mountaineers external promotional literature. However, the basic classes have a direct component on promoting leave no trace ethics. They then go on to suggest and promote various opportunities where their conservation requirement can be satisfied. Yes the promotion of WTA is internal and directed to the students that are most likely to take part in the effort.

 

quote:

All Steve did was take my post and make it his by saying that we should support the WTA and the Access Fund by supporting the mountaineers. What the hell does that mean? If I'm going to support the WTA, which I do, I'll go to the WTA, not the mountaineers.

 

His invitation to help support other organizations through his was idiotic. The concept of conservation and restoration of the areas they use is NOT something they promote.

 


On these points, I suggest you re-read Steve's post. Steve wrote:

 

quote:

{.. WTA and Access Fund praise...}

We invite you to join us in providing them the support they deserve.


Try reading this with the idea of offering a toast at someone's wedding... If I say, "please join me in raising a pint..." I am not asking you to join my club, I am asking that you join in the spirit of the recognition offered. I really do not think you can read into any of Steve's messages that he is on a membership drive.

 

But if I can read more clearly into some other things you have written... I think your real point is: "how can someone contradict themselves in promoting leave no trace ethics, while supporting an organization that promotes driving hordes of people into the hills." I see your point (if that is your primary point).

 

One might take solace in this position by presuming that it is better to send the inevitable hoards to the hills with SOME notion of environmental ethics than to allow the same hordes to descend without. Same position taken in terms of safe mountaineering basics. Going beyond what the mountaineers teach in terms of both climbing skills and envirnmental ethics requires the individual to take responsibility themselves in their continued growth... The Mounties don't/won't/can't/shouldn't hold your hand forever.

 

Just hoping to clear the air,

GS.

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Guest

This is Gaper_#1,

 

I am the Uli Gaper. I am as technical as the largest girth bellied mountaineer you have sighted. I siege short alpine routes with fixed lines and basecamps. I do not bother other parties unless they deserve a chop in the neck they will get if they are belligerent. I do not mob Castle Rock with crowds on the classic lines. Maybe the Mountaineers should learn from me? [Moon] I will teach them that drinking beer and partying on routes is the key and fulfills all ten essentials if you got 10 beers on your climb [Cool]

 

They stress students by making 4 pitches out of Castle Rock therefore making more of a backup on those routes they climb. This is an access issue for relations with fellow climbers out there wanting to climb these moderates. Why make such a stink of 4 pitches and fuck up the day for someone like me? If you want to climb 4 pitches then go and do a 4 pitch climb you Mounties [Mad] You have foiled my onsight of Midway by clogging the rock. You are not the only ones out there learning. [Mad] Quit contriving 4 pitches at Castle Rock and think about others wanting to access these lines. Next time I will bring beer bottles and throw them from the top as to clear the route for me to climb if you create such a zoo.

 

Gaper_#1 Has spoken. [Cool]

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quote:

Originally posted by Gaper_#1:

[QB] Next time I will bring beer bottles and throw them from the top as to clear the route for me to climb if you create such a zoo.

QB]

I don't appreciate these threats of violence. [hell no]

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quote:

Originally posted by Wopper:

Chuck - Rodchester is not a guide. He can hardly get himself up most routes, including the Tooth.

Thats what Carlos and Kitty are for. [Roll Eyes]

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Dru - A great example of one sarcastic comment leading to another.

 

[ 04-22-2002, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: Wopper ]

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