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SafariDave

Mountaineers vs. WAC Basic Climbing Course

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I'm signed up for the Mountaineers basic climbing course and have recently heard that the WAC course is better. It may or may not be full, but this is beside the point. Can any of you offer me some guidance. Which course is more thorough, fun, and up to date.

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both are good programs and the clubs do a tremendous job teaching basic skills to get climbers on the right track.

 

I've helped out with the mountaineers and the wac, both classes are going to cover the same topics...rock climbing, snow climbing, glacier travel, basic navigation, snowcamping, etc etc.

 

I think the Mountaineers class format (beyond the regular classroom sessions and field trips) has a certain number of required 'basic' climbs that students must go on. They offer a rather extensive schedule of formal Mountaineers climbs over the year...students sign up for which climbs they want to do as it fits their schedule in order to graduate.

 

The WAC incorporates several basic rock and snow climbs into the springtime class schedule and then after the students have 'graduated' (class wraps up in early June), the students and instructors have a graduation party and organize their own climbing schedule for the remainder of the summer...wac students are free to particpate in as many or as few as they like and if they've got a particular climb they want to do (and its a reasonable climb for new climbers), odds are a group can get thrown together to go there during the summer.

 

The WAC is certainly a smaller club, so I think you're more likely to see the same faces over and over again and get to know your instructors better but the Mountaineers is a larger club that has a more formal schedule of events and climbs and offers more programs beyond just climbing and skiing.

 

I really enjoy how closely knit the WAC is thats why I continue to help out, but both programs are great, it just kind of depends on what club will fit your personality best.

 

(disclaimer....i'm NOT bashing the Mounties, they are obviously a good organization or they wouldn't be such a huge club)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This actually really helps. I'm not looking for anyone to bash anyone. Please don't. I want to get off on the right foot is all and it would be helpful to hear from people who have already taken one or the other course as to if they would do it again or take another approach.

 

I just heard the mountaineers may have too large of a group size, take too long in general, and not show the most up to date techniques. I would love to hear that is not true and this is why I'm posting.

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I think both groups offer courses that provide good general skills. The mounties are pretty big compared to the WAC. Take whichever one you want but try and spend a lot of energy meeting fellow climbers and setting up your own private trips.

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Like PeteA, there are a number of people who try both groups and both classes, and stay active in both clubs. In fact, if you don't have a mentor to teach you then that may be the best approach to learn all the necessary skills and meet potential climbing partners.

 

Because the WAC is much smaller their class size tends to be smaller, and thus somewhat more difficult to get into. If it were me, I'd apply for both and take the WAC class if I was accepted. If not, I'd take one of the Mounties classses....and apply for the WAC class again the next year.

 

You may also consider attending some of each club's public events to meet and assess them.

 

In any case, keep your wits about you and don't be lulled into accepting the 'herd mentality' as a way of life or the only viable approach to climbing activities.

 

 

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You also might want to check out the Boeing Alpine Club. Their classes are open to folks outside Boeing, and are just as comprehensive - while a little less rigid - than the mountaineers.

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Skip the WAC class. The're an elitest bunch of possers. After the class is over you would be hard pressed to find anyone of them you would enjoy climbing with let alone one that actually climbs.

 

The Boeing Alpine Club has a fine group of members. The're a very active bunch year round and have other great classes to offer. Network with them and you'll go way beyond baic climbing.

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The WAC is certainly a smaller club, so I think you're more likely to see the same faces over and over again and get to know your instructors better but the Mountaineers is a larger club that has a more formal schedule of events and climbs and offers more programs beyond just climbing and skiing.

If you take the mounties class with Everett or Tacoma, you'll get a better instructor to student ratio and get to know everyone better than in the Seattle mega-class. Then you can sign on to climbs with any branch.

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The WAC is certainly a smaller club, so I think you're more likely to see the same faces over and over again and get to know your instructors better but the Mountaineers is a larger club that has a more formal schedule of events and climbs and offers more programs beyond just climbing and skiing.

If you take the mounties class with Everett or Tacoma, you'll get a better instructor to student ratio and get to know everyone better than in the Seattle mega-class. Then you can sign on to climbs with any branch.

 

I second that, I had a fun time making up the Glacier field trip to Rainier with the Olympia branch. Fine bunch of folks. I wish had done the course with them vs. the "boy scout" camp.

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