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plark42

Mountaineers

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Hey CC'ers

 

Would it be worth it to join the mountaineers? Is anyone out there a member?

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Okay, tell us what interests you in climbing. Are you into rock climbing and bouldering? Are into climbing peaks? What knowledge base are you starting from?

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do you like others to control your level of adventure? Do you use SuperTopos?

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There's a basic checklist, it has been worn like an old trail:

 

(the first option is Mtneers, the second finding a capable partner and just doing it)

 

Safety-oriented or risk-oriented?

Group or individual learning?

Controlled environment or uncontrolled?

Process or experiential?

Technical understanding or fear control?

 

Others?

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I'd say the mounties can provide some good general Mountain information for a reasonable price. If you're starting cold it's a pretty good option.

 

If you have some experience then refer to Mr E's list. Whether you stick with the club really depends on your personality.

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Second that.

 

When I was 14, 16, 16...the Mounties provided a wealth of experience and opportunity I would not have found elsewhere. In time I moved away from the club, a fact which does not detract from the good trips I had with them. I met a few good friends there.

 

I left the club not because af any shortcoming on its part but because I preferred smaller, less regimented trips with friends. YMMV

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Living in Eastern WA I did'nt join the Mountaineers when I began climbing in the 60's. I'll say, however, that they made a big difference in the sport whether you were a member or not. Just the book "Freedom of the Hills" was way beyond any other source for mountaineering technique in the Northwest. Out of their mandate to share the sport came equipment availability (spawning REI, a genuine coop back then), Northwest's mountaineering culture, and an organization that legitimized the sport and had influence with Park Service, etc.

 

I'm not a joiner and would gag at having to be part of the leadership of a club, but I tip my hat (even though I occationally lower my lederhosen in an enthusiastic moon) to the Mounties. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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Good points. It depends on when and where one starts. Being a later, non-conformist skewed my perspective.

 

Bouldering at the UW wall was my beginning, so I guess I would add to my list:

 

Mountaineering or Technical rock

 

Plark didn't specify his preference...

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Hey CC'ers

 

Would it be worth it to join the mountaineers? Is anyone out there a member?

I'll catch some heat for this and I don't mean to offend anyone but I have not seen a single situation in which you or any climber should join the mountaineers in my 20 years of climbing a shitload.

-flame away

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My background- I am a NOLS Alaska mountaineering Alum- I am knowledgeable in technical glacier mountaineering (I'm into peaks not rocks necessarily, though I might want to try 4 or low grade 5 peaks some time)..

 

What attracts me to the mountaineers (when I eventually move to the NW) is the length of time it takes to advance. Taking a 6-13 day intermediate alpine climbing course from AAI or MM doesn't teach you the EXPERIENCE you need to feel comfortable leading friends on mountaineering objectives. The intermediate mountaineering offered by the mountaineers takes 2-5 years to complete!!! Even the basic climbing takes a full year of experience. Don't get me wrong, I learned a shit ton of technical information on my NOLS course and would probably gain a lot from an intermediate guided course, but I still wouldn't feel comfortable out in front (I just wouldn't have the experience yet). It seems to me that the mountaineers expect experience to be the teacher and that's why it takes years to advance.

 

Another thing is the network of climbers with skill levels that are KNOWN and somewhat equivalent. People that have taken the Basic Climbing course have all been through the same time tested and prescribed sessions. I've partnered up with people from various climbing websites that have turned out to be totally inexperienced and I had to teach them about crevasse rescue and even how to set up the tent!! (Despite saying they knew how to travel on a rope team and had experience). I have a friend who was in the mountaineers for many years and he loved it. It takes the guesswork out.

 

Perhaps someday I'll branch out. (once I network and meet some interesting and competent partners)

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It sounds like you're looking for what the Mountaineers are offering.

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It's all relative.

 

 

I'm into peaks not rocks necessarily

 

I'm willing to make the generalization that most peaks are composed of rocks.

 

Taking a 6-13 day intermediate alpine climbing course from AAI or MM doesn't teach you the EXPERIENCE you need to feel comfortable leading friends on mountaineering objectives.

 

Again that's relative to the experience and mentality of your leader, or guide, and to a degree your mentality. If you're a very perceptive individual and are able to soak up all of the information that your guide has and is willing to offer, then you CAN learn a great deal more than another client.

 

Even the basic climbing takes a full year of experience.

 

Supposedly the basic course GIVES you a full year of experience. This is very much dependent on your instructors and the variability of information that you get from them.

 

I just wouldn't have the experience yet

 

Is this "experience" qualitative or quantitative? Again I would say it depends on your mentality and that of your instructors/guides.

 

Another thing is the network of climbers with skill levels that are KNOWN and somewhat equivalent. People that have taken the Basic Climbing course have all been through the same time tested and prescribed sessions.

 

That doesn't necessarily mean that they all went into it with the same mindset. In a sense it's just like many educational institutions, some will cheat and do whatever they can to "pass" the course for whatever reason while others have a desire to actually LEARN the techniques and processes involved.

 

I've partnered up with people from various climbing websites that have turned out to be totally inexperienced and I had to teach them about crevasse rescue and even how to set up the tent!!

 

In my opinion communication is the key there. Knowing the right questions to ask potential partners is crucial in that situation, whether those partners are club members or internet spraylords.

 

I took the mountaineers basic course for what it was, an introduction to climbing. I didn't pass the course, but I would bet that I still got more out of it than many who did pass. There are many sources of information available to you on climbing, it all depends on how you use that information. I'm very pleased with where my climbing is at right now. I have the skills and confidence to take me to technical and remote places with peace of mind.

 

Wasn't trying to be an asshole, just to give you another perspective. Good luck and I hope that helped somewhat. yoda.gif

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no worries- you're not being an asshole- I can see where you're coming from. The mountaineers has a huge basis of members.. some of whom might be competent climbers and others who may have "cheated" some how.

 

However, I still think the MOST attractive aspect of joining the mountaineers is how cheap the training courses are, relatively, to other programs... the Basic climbing course lasts from January until Sept, and it costs $350- where as your basic climbing course offered at AAI or MM is at least 495 at a minimum- plus I'd have to take time off from work. The way I see it, I would like to join the mountaineers to gain a network of courses and partners for a few years- mainly until I finish the intermediate program.. and at THAT point reassess my climbing goals and find partners and/or courses that fit my needs.

 

 

I can always climb on my own anyhow.. I could just take the coursework that is prescribed..

 

who knows?!!?

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Cost is always a concern but generally you get what you pay for.

 

Some of the skills (knots, LNT, etc) are fundamental and the mounties would likely be a good venue for that.

 

But I have a hard time recommending a group that has their students do introductory multipitch trad in rain gear with the ten essentials on their back... Maybe the mounties don't officially require this but something is going on as everytime I see them at Castle the poor kids are thrashing around in some 5.6 chimney sewing like crazy scared to shit in full rain gear with a 1000 c.i. pack on their back.

 

Why?

 

If you can afford it go with AAI, MM, etc as you will get a more realistic alpine education... if not go with the mounties but do sanity checks on what you learn as much as possible.

 

And trying to connect with people on this board would be wise too.

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And jesus if you are NOLS alum you are well set on the basics already... if anything you could teach the basic course. Shoot me a pm and lets get climbing.

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dont they make you take a MOFA course $$$ ? It takes forever to get through intermediate because you have to lead a bunch of successful beginner climbs. you should check out their scheduled intermediate climbs and if doing them in large groups of people you dont know appeals to you, do it. Or if you are middle aged and single.

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I started out climbing when I was in Boy Scouts and a group of us youngsters went out and took the Mtnrs Basic course through the Tacoma Branch. After completing it I moved on to climb with friends rather than the structured nature of the Mounties. It just depends on your preference, for some people they work, for me it was like being a climbing Nazi.

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It can't be denied that you will encounter a few Mountaineers instructors who seem like martinets, but speaking for my own branch (Everett), we have been working to be as laid back and as flexible as possible. We're trying to change our ways, and as Toast likes to say it, get rid of the "pointy helmet" behavior.

 

These days the largest group you would expect on a Basic Climb is 6 for glacier and usually 4 on a rock climb. On an Intermediate climb, you'll find 2 to 4 in the party.

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John Freish- I wish I lived in the NW right now... I would look for ptrs to climb with. I do think my NOLS mountaineering exp goes a long way.. but there are a few things that I didn't learn on NOLS- I was in Alaska on HUGE glaciers with no rocks in sight. Rock anchors are a mystery to me. Same with setting up a rappel on rock. Now I know how to set up and make sound snow and ice anchors, but I want a sound background in rock too! Why not work from the ground up and refresh all the technique? In my opinion I would seek joining the mountaineers to learn over an extended period of time- which seems more beneficial than a crash course in a week or so..

 

Though I do want the freedom to climb whenever and where ever I want.. and not have to "sign up" to go climbing.. we'll see.

 

Could I place out of MOFA with a WFR? I'd have to get the recertification!

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Good points dude.

 

Time wise it is completely your call... I am slightly impatient so for me I would want to saturate over a couple weeks so that I could start practicing my skills immediately. But that is just me...

 

My thoughts are this... your NOLS course gave you a good background in rope management, knots and general "don't do this in the backcountry".

 

You'd be surprised how quickly you can pick rock up from this background... all you need is some initial instruction (whether it be a crash course or w/ the mounties) and then just need to practice practice practice it just like Gene said.

 

I think the mounties would be a great option for you as you have a baseline for what you consider essential so you won't take everything they preach (20 essentials) as gospel and...you'll find some good partners thumbs_up.gif

 

For what it's worth I did a crash course with a guy for two weeks at skinnners butte in Eugene, OR (nothing over 40') and for his first multipitch trad climb was Monkey's Face (first time to Smith), his second multipitch was Outer Space (first climb in the state of WA ever), and his third multipitch climb (second climb in the state of WA ever) was Liberty Crack. And all with in the length of 2 months.

 

He wasn't in over his head (though the exposure on LC was a bit unnerving) because we did things over and over and over and he learned speed is essential. So yeah... it all depends on how fast you want to get into it...

 

Have fun out there! thumbs_up.gif

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John Freish- I wish I lived in the NW right now... I would look for ptrs to climb with. I do think my NOLS mountaineering exp goes a long way.. but there are a few things that I didn't learn on NOLS- I was in Alaska on HUGE glaciers with no rocks in sight. Rock anchors are a mystery to me. Same with setting up a rappel on rock. Now I know how to set up and make sound snow and ice anchors, but I want a sound background in rock too! Why not work from the ground up and refresh all the technique? In my opinion I would seek joining the mountaineers to learn over an extended period of time- which seems more beneficial than a crash course in a week or so..

 

Though I do want the freedom to climb whenever and where ever I want.. and not have to "sign up" to go climbing.. we'll see.

 

Could I place out of MOFA with a WFR? I'd have to get the recertification!

 

You could take the mountie's basic course and then just go off an climb whatever you want w/o worrying about "graduating". Graduation is geared towards continued participation - in advanced courses, becoming a volunteer/leader, etc. But many people just take a class to learn what they can and move on.

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