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Spencer

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what about how to build anchors??? friends have come out of that class telling about some pretty spooky stuff...

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Word :tup:

 

gremlinjt.html

 

In 1976 I was a lonely young man, just out of school in Tacoma wondering how to meet friends, in particular female friends. Someone suggested the hardies and I signed up for their hiking class. I met several babes, and married the one with the best legs...and other attributes.

 

Three years later we were both in the intermediate class teaching the basic students stuff we'd learned the year before. In retrospect, I wasn't ready to teach, but the organization said I was. As a climb leader, I made some mistakes, but no one got hurt.

 

We soon dropped out of the club as we had met a circle of 10 friends who had integrity, but no desire to continue jumping through hoops for the club.

 

After a 24 year absence I rejoined the hardies this spring in hopes of meeting some partners who had more skills than the average gym rat. I've had mixed results.

 

In the Tacoma club, there are some very experienced hardies, truly nice people with a ton of alpine experience(willis wall). We've been on some climbs together and it feels good knowing they can build an anchor safely, know how to belay without a grigri, and have at least a vague idea of rescue techniques. My only problem with them is they are always in the mountains, where I just want to climb cliffs.

 

I think I've actually had better results meeting partners on this board. It does really help when people are honest about their abilities, and fitness levels.

 

Oh, did I mention, she was quite a babe? She and I, and our two grown kids will be in the valley this fall.

 

http://www.websterart.com/html/climbing.php

 

the mountaineers have their problems, but, unless you are lucky enough to find a mentor, for the money, no one teaches beginners better...

 

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what about how to build anchors??? friends have come out of that class telling about some pretty spooky stuff...

 

Basics aren't taught how to place pro, or in general how to build anchors unless it involves slinging an enormous tree. For snow anchors they are shown how to build a good dead man, and a bollard, and shown the limits of pickets. In the course of a basic climb the basic will never build an anchor, but only clip into an anchor built by a more experienced climber. Nor will they place pickets for running belays.

 

That said some of the more focused inquisitive ones do ask good questions, which I'm usually happy to answer, or refer to someone who knows more than I.

 

Intermediates are taught more on snow anchors, and ice screws (with the caveat that only with oodles of experience will you learn to evaluate ice.) For rock anchors the standard was a 3 point equalized coordalette, and they've transitioned to John Longs Equalette this year, with the caveat that every situation is different and you need to think about/evaluate your anchors for direction of pull, stability, etc.

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You go through a nine-month long climbing course without learning to place pro or build anchors?

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what about how to build anchors??? friends have come out of that class telling about some pretty spooky stuff...

 

Basics aren't taught how to place pro, or in general how to build anchors unless it involves slinging an enormous tree. For snow anchors they are shown how to build a good dead man, and a bollard, and shown the limits of pickets. In the course of a basic climb the basic will never build an anchor, but only clip into an anchor built by a more experienced climber. Nor will they place pickets for running belays.

 

That said some of the more focused inquisitive ones do ask good questions, which I'm usually happy to answer, or refer to someone who knows more than I.

 

Intermediates are taught more on snow anchors, and ice screws (with the caveat that only with oodles of experience will you learn to evaluate ice.) For rock anchors the standard was a 3 point equalized coordalette, and they've transitioned to John Longs Equalette this year, with the caveat that every situation is different and you need to think about/evaluate your anchors for direction of pull, stability, etc.

 

They learn to build belay anchors. The person who would suffer from bad / insufficient instruction there would be the leader who relies on that belay - not the student belaying from it. Hence, it is on the instructor to make sure the anchor is sound before he climbs a route from it.

 

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Basic students are taught how to make "basic anchors", which means how to sling a tree, a block, or a tunnel. Since they don't learn how to place chocks and camming devices, they aren't trained to build complex gear anchors.

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I must have a cookie I never deleted left on my computer from 2001. this simply must be the same thread that has given life an primary direction for this website since it's inception.

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I must have a cookie I never deleted left on my computer from 2001. this simply must be the same thread that has given life an primary direction for this website since it's inception.

 

No that would be the triumverate of Chestbeating, Bolting, and Mountie Bashing :grin:

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one of you says "no"...the other says "yes"...

 

hmmm...

 

Pretty much what CBS said.

They know enough to sling big stuff that won't move and to clove hitch into an pre-built gear anchor. They don't know how to place cams/nuts/hexes and hence can't build a gear anchor.

 

And Tanstaffl - While it may be a dozen days total, it breaks down to 3 days of instruction on belay/rappel/rock climbing stuff (cleaning and racking etc), 4 days of snow camping/glacier travel/crevasse rescue stuff and the balance of days are made up with days climbing. The course up til now has also assumed absolutely no technical background for the students coming in (which in many cases in accurate and in some cases underestimates the students, but levels the playing field for instruction).

 

As it's not all much rock stuff, I would say learning to place and evaluate gear would be premature for students with no prior experience. But again, for those students with prior experience who end up asking lots of questions beyond the scope of the course, I (and all the instructors I've worked with) usually do our best to answer them. So I often end up straying into finer details that the "official" curriculum, like placing gear, different anchor configurations, limitations of gear, alternate techniques etc.

 

As I've already stated, the current move is towards modularizing thing to allow people with more experience than backpacking to advance faster and test out of skills they already know so long as they are safe. So much of the group dynamics/instruction technique that is now, and has been in the past will be outdated by next spring as things shift toward much smaller mentor based groups.

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All I know is first year intermediates should not be instructing basic students. I've instructed with that much experience, and I find it disconcerting that I did this and dangerous too.

 

Yes and no, Feck, isn't there a thing in the medical profession about see one, do one, teach one? If you've been belaying, rapelling, or self-arresting for a fairly active year, and are not visibly incompetent, aren't you maybe qualified to show others how. Whole buncha other stuff, judgement issues & such takes years to learn. On the other hand others have wisely made your same point and I, as a 16 year old first year intermediate, should probably not have been teaching others much or should at least have been monitored much more closely.

 

My own experience with the Mounties has parallels with your own, beginning with ski tours and the Basic climbing course before I could drive. That was the only way I could get out and it worked for me; I had a number of very good trips with the club and met many cool people and a handful of lifelong friends. After two or three years I gravitated to private trips with friends & shortly thereafter left the club (to ultimately become the misanthropic wreck I am today) but I still value those beginnings. I think that some sort of group beginning like that offers people not only necessary learning but also a body of acquaintance with like-minded people with whom they may choose to move on to private trips with.

 

As with any large grouping of people there were various regrettable souls who flock to clubs: control freaks, the needy, the inept, the obnoxious and so forth but I wouldn't damn the organization for them since those sorts can be found anywhere.

 

Anyhow...to the original poster...If I were to want to start climbing today I'd give their program a look at least.

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I agree with Mo.

 

I've never joined the Mountaineers, because I never have thought I needed them. But they surely offer as good of a program as I had (read: none), and even today I'm sure I could learn something from one of their classes.

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I'm sure I could learn something from one of their classes.

 

I doubt the climbing portion, but the horizontal extracredit with some of the ladies would be well worth it :tup::tup:

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I would like to see the Mounties get to a point where they had a good program to offer, but right now they are hit and miss.

 

I think a new intermediate student is qualified to act as an assistant instructor under the direct supervision of somebody with a lot of experience, but I wouldn't cut them loose with a crew of basic students.

 

In a lot of ways I relate how one should progress to my experience learning to work in trees. You start out doing simple things and then slowly build your way up. I would never cut an employee loose with a saw and instructions to hurry up and cut that tree down while I look at some other work on the other side of town...btw don't drop a log on that house.

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All I know is first year intermediates should not be instructing basic students.

 

It took several years of apprenticeship under very experienced climbers/teachers before I had the audacity to call myself an instructor. When I was guiding, I was often asked about the difference between a professional (and more expensive) mountain guide and signing up with the Mountaineers. Without bad-mouthing the Mounties too much, I would note that mountain guides have a wealth of real experience and instructional ability while some of the Mountaineers courses are taught by the "graduates" of the previous year's Basic Course (complete with commandants holding clipboards with checklists). Ja wohl!

There is also the matter of small groups and individual attention with a guide verses a herd mentality with the club instruction. On the other hand, the Mountie's paramilitary-like organization with all of its many rules and regulations tends to keep their courses and many of their group outings relatively safe, although perhaps mundane. A comment I recall hearing once was that they do us all a service by keeping otherwise dangerous people out of the more serious mountains. At this point, I don't really care, although I've experienced plenty of my own goofy Mountie encounters including some with their so-called "mentors" program, a.k.a. "the blind leading the blind".

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All I know is first year intermediates should not be instructing basic students.

 

It took several years of apprenticeship under very experienced climbers/teachers before I had the audacity to call myself an instructor. When I was guiding, I was often asked about the difference between a professional (and more expensive) mountain guide and signing up with the Mountaineers. Without bad-mouthing the Mounties too much, I would note that mountain guides have a wealth of real experience and instructional ability while some of the Mountaineers courses are taught by the "graduates" of the previous year's Basic Course (complete with commandants holding clipboards with checklists). Ja wohl!

There is also the matter of small groups and individual attention with a guide verses a herd mentality with the club instruction. On the other hand, the Mountie's paramilitary-like organization with all of its many rules and regulations tends to keep their courses and many of their group outings relatively safe, although perhaps mundane. A comment I recall hearing once was that they do us all a service by keeping otherwise dangerous people out of the more serious mountains. At this point, I don't really care, although I've experienced plenty of my own goofy Mountie encounters including some with their so-called "mentors" program, a.k.a. "the blind leading the blind".

:tup: :TUP: best expression of what i was trying to say yet...

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Ok Ok, Pictures are worth a thousand words......I think I have enough info to make my own decision now. Thanks

(very funny pics though) are they real?

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I will add one thing about the Mountie program - those that climb with them (those that have been through the program) know what they're in for. In other words, the program is uniform, so all Mountie climbers know what others that have been through the program have been taught. And if people in the program don't get it, they're OUT. I've been through the Mountie program myself, and taught parts of it a few years, and persoanlly kicked people out of the basic course each year that either just didn't get it or didn't bother to. They know what they are supposed to learn, they know what they will be tested on and when, and if they don't pass by the deadline - GOODBYE! I don't see why some people bother to sign up for the course. They have literally MONTHS to learn this stuff, and some of them don't bother. Someone may have an evening class on knots, and be told they have to have them down by the next feild trip in 4 weeks, and they show up and know none of them. And what do they do? APOLOGISE! What do I do? SEND THEM HOME! I ask them "If you were me, would you put your life in my hands? I sure wouldn't put my life in yours. Goodbye." Similar things happen every year.

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Damn! The Mountaineers sound like they are ripe to become a reality TV show.

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You should attend some of the feild trips. I don't know what your impression of the Mounties is but, you should see the ones that DON'T MAKE IT THROUGH THE COURSE! Imagine some of the people in the world that want to be 'climbers', and sign up for the basic course. We get to deal with some real delusional people. Just look at those pictures. Some people sign up for the course that are so out of shape it is pathetic. And some get vertigo just climbing up Sherman Rock. Not all of them are like this, mind you. Most of them are very average people. But a few are real gems. We get a couple each year that we remember for years. Good and bad.

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Well, you can't fault people for dreaming or for trying either for that matter. Or at least I can't.

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