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Jens

Mountaineers Leaders?

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If you really wanted what you described yes you would pay more for it but you would better instruction from RMI.

 

You get what you pay for.

 

I disagree. You can't cram a year's worth of learning into a weekend or even a multi-day or even 2-week course.

 

Now, if you learn on your own first, and then take one of those course offered by AAI, for example, as a way to fill in gaps and progress, I'd say a 6 or 7 day course would fulfill the type of instruction that we are talking about much better than a club. But who can afford that anyways?

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If my memory serves, he took a two-week backcountry/climbing course. This was back when Paul Petzoldt was active in the organization.

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Selkirk: I don't like your poll (unless I am doing it wrong) as you can only vote for one thing... for a lot of us (at least me) almost all of those apply...

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If you really wanted what you described yes you would pay more for it but you would better instruction from RMI.

 

You get what you pay for.

 

I disagree. You can't cram a year's worth of learning into a weekend or even a multi-day or even 2-week course.

 

Now, if you learn on your own first, and then take one of those course offered by AAI, for example, as a way to fill in gaps and progress, I'd say a 6 or 7 day course would fulfill the type of instruction that we are talking about much better than a club. But who can afford that anyways?

 

blush.gifwave.gif

 

We need a silver spoon gramelin tongue.gif

 

Yes you can cram material. Just look at WFR courses.

 

But I partially agree with you... some initial exposure before a course will greatly improve mastery... which I believe is the case for almost all people as they make sure to personally confirm they truly like it before shelling out that much.

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Looking at this thread I think what it comes down to here is not the organization a person learned or didn't learn from but instead the individual... it just so turns out the mounties are the most accessible due to price and as a result attact a lot of people that frankly shouldn't be in the backcountry. And they are too nice to not turn anyone away...

 

Hence why the mounties have produced some great climbers... as well as some darwin nominations...

 

It's an individual thing... not an organization thing...

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exactly... hence the price difference

 

Food for thought: NOLS has had 6 deaths since it founding... of those drowning was the only "preventable" death... the others were from lightening strikes.

 

No climbing deaths.

 

EDIT: deaths during a course. NOLS graduates and/or instructors have died on non course activities.

 

John,

 

What made the Lightning strikes "unpreventable?" In other words, were the people near a summit in the afternoon, on an exposed ridgeline, in their tents in a meadow....to me, some of these examples might be more "preventable" than others. True?

 

Do you know details you could share?

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Food for thought: NOLS has had 6 deaths since it founding... of those drowning was the only "preventable" death... the others were from lightening strikes.

 

No climbing deaths.

 

EDIT: deaths during a course. NOLS graduates and/or instructors have died on non course activities.

 

I don't disagree with the premise of your argument, but this is not entirely correct. NOLS has at least one avalanche death that I know of--I took the backcountry ski course in 1993 and the backcountry ski course the week immediately preceding mine had a fatality during the course.

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I've said it before, but I'll repeat it again. My biggest complaint about the Mountaineers, Mazamaz, WAC, BoeAlps, and similar clubs is that they teach cookie-cutter "recipe" problem solving skills. "If you find yourself in X situation, then do Y."

 

Climbing is rarely so simplistic. That complexity was the draw for many of us when we started out. These clubs seem to churn out graduates who believe the know EXACTLY what should be done, and refuse to consider other options, possibilities, or alternatives.

Many club instructors I've spoken with don't seem to teach that nuance, that there are other ways "to skin the cat," and that good judgement is based on experience which is determined by days in the field. And they don't pass it on to their students. And so their students march out of their courses with uncompromising opinions gained with no more logical an explanation than, "That's what I was taught to do in the Basic Climbing Course this summer."

 

No course alone can teach judgement without adequate time spent practicing, succeeding, and sometimes making mistakes and failing. The goal is recognize and correct the small mistakes before they build into big mistakes that lead to unacceptable consequences. That's why NOLS courses last 30 bloody consecutive days.

 

And we must make a distinction between clubs, outdoor education, and professional guide services. The consumer demands are different and the services provided are different. I think if we want to start a discussion about NOLS/Outward Bound, or AMGA/RMI/professional guiding, those should be sperated from the clubs. If we want to compare them, that should be a seperate thread as well.

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Courses offer very controlled conditions. The accident rates are so low that, from a statistical standpoint, it's hard to draw a conclusion from them.

 

A better measure would be accident rates within the first few years of climbing after the course...a statistic that would be elusive if not impossible to pin down.

 

Having said that, some of the best climbing students I've met have regrettably become fatalities. It happens. That might have more to do with how ambitious and active they are than their skill or judgement. It depends on the accident, and every accident is different.

 

There are other measures of leadership quality, however. Route etiquette, route selection appropriate to party size...these are areas where any large club, mounties included, could improve.

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exactly... hence the price difference

 

Food for thought: NOLS has had 6 deaths since it founding... of those drowning was the only "preventable" death... the others were from lightening strikes.

 

No climbing deaths.

 

EDIT: deaths during a course. NOLS graduates and/or instructors have died on non course activities.

 

John,

 

What made the Lightning strikes "unpreventable?" In other words, were the people near a summit in the afternoon, on an exposed ridgeline, in their tents in a meadow....to me, some of these examples might be more "preventable" than others. True?

 

Do you know details you could share?

 

I don't... sorry...

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I've said it before, but I'll repeat it again. My biggest complaint about the Mountaineers, Mazamaz, WAC, BoeAlps, and similar clubs is that they teach cookie-cutter "recipe" problem solving skills. "If you find yourself in X situation, then do Y."

 

Climbing is rarely so simplistic. That complexity was the draw for many of us when we started out. These clubs seem to churn out graduates who believe the know EXACTLY what should be done, and refuse to consider other options, possibilities, or alternatives.

Many club instructors I've spoken with don't seem to teach that nuance, that there are other ways "to skin the cat," and that good judgement is based on experience which is determined by days in the field. And they don't pass it on to their students. And so their students march out of their courses with uncompromising opinions gained with no more logical an explanation than, "That's what I was taught to do in the Basic Climbing Course this summer."

 

No course alone can teach judgement without adequate time spent practicing, succeeding, and sometimes making mistakes and failing. The goal is recognize and correct the small mistakes before they build into big mistakes that lead to unacceptable consequences. That's why NOLS courses last 30 bloody consecutive days.

 

And we must make a distinction between clubs, outdoor education, and professional guide services. The consumer demands are different and the services provided are different. I think if we want to start a discussion about NOLS/Outward Bound, or AMGA/RMI/professional guiding, those should be sperated from the clubs. If we want to compare them, that should be a seperate thread as well.

 

well said

 

that's all i got... less spraying more climbing! wazzup.gif

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I will address MtnFreak's point and only speak for myself. When I teach, I like to teach several different ways to do things. From a practical stand point, and time limitations, one can only ensure that the student has mastered but one method. I'll cover other ways of doing a thing with no expectation that they will learn it, but they'll at least know about it. The quicker ones will pick it up, the slower ones won't and others will go look it up in a book. The point is that they do become aware that there are multiple ways to do something and they have a choice.

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Question to any/all,

 

I don't know that I've seen a debrief on the sharkfin tower accident, but I recall some comments in the early articles that gave me the impression that the climber who was injured by rockfall, was hot hurt that seriously...

 

I can't find the article but I seem to remember that it was a combination of the injury and the deteriorating weather that caused the retreat.....that led me to wonder why they needed to do a rescue rappel in the first place.

 

Can anybody clear up the details?

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Didn't NOLS have a rock-fall related fatality a few summers back?

 

Outward Bound has had preventable fatalities in the past decade as well...

 

I don't think AA Institute has had any fatalities that I know of...

 

How many for the Mtneers? I know of 4 in the last 2 years...

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And they are too nice to not turn anyone away...

 

I heard that one of Jens's regular partners flunked outta da Mounties.

 

The Mounties regularly have a graduation rate of something like 1/2 to 2/3. And they do kick out people who have been warned about fitness, safety, etc., and don't get better.

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I've said it before, but I'll repeat it again. My biggest complaint about the Mountaineers, Mazamaz, WAC, BoeAlps, and similar clubs is that they teach cookie-cutter "recipe" problem solving skills. "If you find yourself in X situation, then do Y."

 

Chris, I agree. And if you have any advice for how to address this issue for when we're teaching in winter/spring, I'm all ears.

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It would be interesting to know the number of injuries/deaths per person days climbing (rock, ice, alpine, sport, cragging) in a year for say, RMI or another guiding service, the Mountaineers, and climbers as a whole. And statistics wizards running around?

 

Or by branch? The Mounties record lately is much better if you knock out Tacoma from the stats.

 

Or what about stats on accidents/close-calls of CC.com folks vs. non-CC.com folks?

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Gary....have you heard the findings of the committee that investigated the sharkfin accident?

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I can't find the article but I seem to remember that it was a combination of the injury and the deteriorating weather that caused the retreat.....that led me to wonder why they needed to do a rescue rappel in the first place.

 

The initally injured member was not in that bad of shape but was unable to rappel unassisted.

 

The collective experience in the group was quite high, and they made the decision to rappel off a boulder, which I won't second-guess. Certainly hindsight has pointed out certain things, but we've all made those sorts of mistakes before and gotten away with it. Hell, didn't the late Todd Skinner have a boulder anchor atop El Cap fail but didn't get the axe then?

 

This incident has been investigated into submission by the Mounties, and a whole list of recommendations and teaching points resulted from it.

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Gary, I think one of the biggest problems associated with these organizations is that they don't teach self trust. There is no "textbook" to climbing. Every situation is different. For me, my big problem was leading. I knew all the safe things to do but couldn't push myself therefore I got into bad situations. A short, bald, fatman (aka RUMR) took and put all my gear at the top of a route that was over my head. The route was safe but I had to force myself to go get it. I fell quite a few times but after that I was comfortable leading and could get myself out of bad situations because I was confident in myself and my knowledge. That is the problem I have with these groups. They are so worried about curriculum that they fall short of teaching the things that are really going to save you. That is problem solving skills and self confidence. What I focused on when I taught is giving people a base of knowledge but allowing them to hone their skills in such a way that they can utilize them in many different situations. An example is, teach somebody the proper way to build an anchor but then ask them what they would do if they came across a situation where they do not have the right gear to build a perfect anchor. We all can read a book and figure out how to equalize an anchor with perfect gear, but the true test comes when you have to get yourself out of a situation that doesn't have a textbook answer.

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Is the debrief/learnings available to the general public?

Edited by ericb

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EricB, yes, I've heard he findings. If you have specific questions, PM me and I'd be happy to answer them. There are a lot of Mountaineers who'd like to lay this accident to rest, not because they're trying to hide it, but because it's been such an emotional ordeal. They had a committee, including esteemed outsiders, do a very detailed review, and they presented their findings probably at least a dozen times to different audiences, both experience-wise and geographically.

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Gary....I don't need to waste your time. Just let me know how I can get my hand on the findings.

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The write up in ANAM is pretty much the same as our report, minus the engineering analysis of the mechanics of the anchor failure. Pretty much the boulder rolled off the ledge rather than slid, assisted by the fact that the ledge had a 10-15 degree downslope. That fact was probably masked at the time of the accident by the fact that the ledge was covered in snow at the time. A week later the ledge had melted out and the slope of the ledge was plain.

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Hmmm...so I understand that there is a 130 page report...(see thread)

 

http://www.xsorbit6.com/users/stevefirebaugh/Printpage.cgi?board=GeneralDiscuss&num=1141157871

 

the contents of which have not been made public, and a summary of which has been given verbally within the Moutaineering Org.

 

Here's my gripe....

 

I've not been climbing long, but in my brief climbing career, I've been chastised by a Mountie for rapping of a single tree/sling on SEWS (unsolicitated). I've also had a Mountie make snide comments about my poorly coiled rope, and offer to "clean it up" for me while demonstrating for some beginner students in Icicle Canyon. Bottom line, I've been offered unsolicited advice in the field in a condescending tone by "experts", and it as left me generally negative towards the organization. But now, following an incident that could offer some learnings to the greater climbing community, it's smoke, mirrors, and secrecy....it just seems a bit hypocritical based on my personal experience

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