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rockymountainboy

Opinions on The Mountaineers?

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I saw them on the trail through oaks bottom. The PAVED and flat trail.

If you can't see a starbucks, it's graduate level.

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I saw them on the trail through oaks bottom. The PAVED and flat trail.

If you can't see a starbucks, it's graduate level.

 

jeezus, trial by fire!

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Some great information in this thread. My own experience is that The Mountaineers, Mazamas, and WAC are all revolve around the same experience level and same type of experience. When you start talking about individuals, however, there are many exceptions.

 

Someone here mentioned that BOEALPS (boealps.org), and I also have some experience with that group notably the teachers and some of the graduates, all whom I hold in very high regard. As a teaching organization, I believe the BoeAlps folks are much more progressive than The Mountaineers or Mazamas. Their experience is marked by smaller numbers in a "class", and much less needless structure because of it.

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Class size varies tremendously within the Mountaineers depending on which branch. For the Basic Course, class size in Seattle is about 200. In Everett, it is about 40. For the Intermediate class in Seattle it is about 40 (I'm not certain), whereas in Everett it is 10-14. Crag course in Seattle is 24 students, but only 8 in Everett. So as you can see, if small size is important to you, there are options.

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Basic Course in Seattle is about 200. Intermediate class in Seattle about 40...Crag course in Seattle is 24

 

So as you can see, if small size is important to you, there are options.

 

hellno3d.gif Damn dude, there ain't nothin small about those numbers. Even 8 in a class is really pushin' it. I hope I never run into a class of 24 at one crag, that's completely ridiculous.

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Basic Course in Seattle is about 200. Intermediate class in Seattle about 40...Crag course in Seattle is 24

 

So as you can see, if small size is important to you, there are options.

 

hellno3d.gif Damn dude, there ain't nothin small about those numbers. Even 8 in a class is really pushin' it. I hope I never run into a class of 24 at one crag, that's completely ridiculous.

You wouldn't ever see them all at one crag or even on the same day. 6-8 is the most that would be on any given crag at one time. Still, that might be four top ropes.

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catbirdseat, do the different branches run essentially the same trips (like, go the same places, same basic training for the basic and intermediate classes)? are the instructor to student ratios different depending on branch? just curious.

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RBW, I really don't think I ever said I was TEACHING it. I went for a hike. Women followed. Can you possibly argue with that?

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catbirdseat, do the different branches run essentially the same trips (like, go the same places, same basic training for the basic and intermediate classes)? are the instructor to student ratios different depending on branch? just curious.
The field trips cover roughly the same material but locations can vary. Some locations are used by several different branches- Leavenworth for example. Student ratios can vary too, but are usually about one instructor for three or four students.

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I went for a hike. Women followed. <Insert Joke about RPI here> Can you possibly argue with that?

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My name is fenderfour and I am a Boealper. There are more of us lurking around here, but it wouldn't be polite to expose them.

 

Another group offering classes is BOEALPS (boealps.org). While they are a Boeing organized group, last I remember they still let "outsiders" in to take classes. (I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, as I see a few closet BOEALPers floating around on this board!)

 

Any organized group offering instruction will be... well... organized. As many have noted, depending on what you're looking for, this could be a drawback. From what I've seen, Boealps groups are a little more laid back versus the mounties. The instructors are there teaching because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. The offer both a basic (basic skills) and intermediate class (leading)- pretty much mirroring the mountie's classes. Depending on your skill level, from what you describe for experience you could *probably* get into Boealps Intermediate class without going through the basic class. Maybe. With the mounties, pretty sure that wouldn't happen.

 

Anyway, there's another option to look in to. Their basic class starts up late Feb/early Mar and I'm thinking the Intermediate class starts in late April. Watch their website for more details...

 

-Kurt

 

 

Boealps does allow non-Boeing people in. If you are interested, IM me and I can give more info.

 

The Basic Class runs from late February through late May, with Wednesday night class sessions and an outing almost every weekend. We focus on glacier climbing, but we do a little work on rock climbing. The class is organized by teams that climb together throughout the class. Hopefully this will give the students a base of climbing partners for the inevitable attempts on Rainier and the other area volcanoes after the class. Climbs are usually at Mt Erie, The Tatoosh and on Baker. Total class size is usually around 35.

 

The Intermediate Class focuses on leading mid fifth-class rock in an alpine environment. The class starts in March and lasts through mid-Setember with a class meeting and outing every other week. The ICC outings are more realistic alpine outings than you will find in the basic class. Usually an outing will have two students and two instructors. Climbs vary greatly. Students will usually complete at least one difficult carry-over in addition to a few alpine rock outings. The class culminates with a grad climb which is fully organized and lead by the students. Instructors tag along t omake sure that the students don't kill themselves. Total class size is usually around 12.

 

You can get into the Intermediate Class without having taken the Basic Class. You must show proficiency with the skills covered in the basic class (no formal test).

 

There are some major differences between the Boealps and the Mountaineers - Boealps does not require summits for class completion, all Boealps instructors are volunteers, none are required to teach for class completion.

 

Someone pointed out that some instructors are the "experts" from last year's basic class. This is true to some extent. Each team is lead by a very experienced lead. They have a team of other instructors backing them up, some inexperienced, some very experienced. Being a volunteer organization, we don't want to discourage anyone whoo might want to help out, but we make sure that people are doing things within their capabilities.

 

If you want to know more about the Boealps, drop me a line. I will be happy to help.

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i still don't understand how someone can be an expert in one year and qualified to teach a class just cuz they got through a class the year before taught by an "expert"... hahaha.gifconfused.gif

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New graduates are not experts when they come back to help teach classes. They are assistants. That is why fenderfour put the word in quotes. Assistants are all under direct supervision by those who are experienced.

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In general the field trips are run by very experience climbers (I've been learning from guys climbing since before I was born) while your "experts" are teaching real basic stuff. i.e. How do you belay. How do you tie a prusik, how do you start a rappell. A lot of it's stuff you could teach yourself in all reality, and the "experts" you keep referring to are really just making sure your doing it properly and double checking everything. The basic classes are just that basic. How long did it take you to learn to tie into a rope and belay someone with an ATC I'd bet all of 10 minutes, and you could probably have taught in 30? The basic students aren't being taught to evaluate or build anchors beyond clove hitching into a pre-built one or wrapping a sling around a tree, no placing pro (only cleaning), almost no actual rock climbing technique. Mostly it's just lots of supervised practice of fundamental techniques.

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...so is there an exam to become "experienced"? Can you check out a resume???

 

Are you considered an expert there?

 

Just asking questions...i don't know anything about the mounties or boealps...

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when learning from inexperienced instructors, one learns very quickly to think for oneself instead of doing it the way the instructor said to - especially when the instructor is clueless. this is a good skill to learn!

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...so is there an exam to become "experienced"? Can you check out a resume???

 

Are you considered an expert there?

 

Just asking questions...i don't know anything about the mounties or boealps...

 

The Intermediate Class requires that you have the skills taught in the Basic Class, but there is no exam. You just have to convince the lead instructor that you know what you are doing. This shouldn't be very difficult if you have been doing any climbing before the class.

 

I would say that very few people in the organization are considered an "expert" for any given subject. We find the most experienced people we can to teach the different aspects of climbing. Gary Brill gave a very nice lecture on avalanches this year to the ICC.

 

Climbing resumes are reviewed for the Intermediate Class. You don't need any spectacular climbs in there, just some evidence that you have taken the initiative to push the envelope beyond what would be learned in the Basic Class.

 

There are other benefits to classes - We teach all of our Basic Class students how to escape the belay and how to get back in. We also teach all of the Intermediate Students basic vertical rescue tehniques. Both are things that are frequently missed when learning from a friend.

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when learning from inexperienced instructors, one learns very quickly to think for oneself instead of doing it the way the instructor said to - especially when the instructor is clueless. this is a good skill to learn!

 

The most important skill of all.

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Mounties cover the same info, though yes there are some actual experts. For the vertical rescue techniques trip in addition to 1 instructor (someone who's been climbing at the intermediate level for at least 2 or so years) for every 3 or 4 students there is typically at least one Seattle Mountain Rescue individual to every group or every other group. Learned one hell of a lot from them.

 

And yes there is a bretty basic "exam" to get into the intermediate class.... Belaying, rapelling, z-pulley settup, etc. Pretty much all the information you should have learned as a basic.

 

Am I an expert? Hell no, but I learn fast, I'm one of those poor engi-nerd types and a bit of a gear-head to boot.

 

As for climbing resumes, I know the mounties have kicked the idea around, but it's typically shot down as it's one more burden on the already overworked volunteers, after all it's a club not a guiding service. Typically though through word of mouth you can figure out who's worth climbing with and who to avoid.

 

And Dru's right, you do learn to think for yourself. If one of the instructors doesn't know something then typically they go ask someone more experienced and get it figured out. In my experience everyone ends up learning more from this process than from just getting it right the first time anyway. That's the purpose of the field trips as opposed to just taking everyone to the Tooth and saying climb.

 

Yes, to some degree there are ego's running around saying my way is the only way, but 90% or better of the instructors and climbers i've learned from will tell you "Well, this is the Mountie party line, so it's what you need to be able to do on your basic climbs.... but there are also other good ways to do things...." I've really come across very few of the dogmatic rigid people in the program. Mostly lots of people who have been climbing from 2 to 40 years, enjoy it, enjoy teaching climbing.

 

And I have yet to run across an instructor who is completely clueless, if they're that bad they don't graduate the basic course, or pass the intermediate review. (and yes it does happen, though not very often.)

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