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highangle

Mountaineers???

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I am wondering about the worthwhileness (wd?) of joining the Mountaineers for a while. Is the Mountaineer's a decent organization to learn/meet others?

 

I certainly have seen many disparaging remarks about the "mounties" and most folks avoiding their masses at any cost.

 

My family is moving from Southern Idaho to Mt. Vernon in late January.

 

I have climbed/toured/backpacked in Idaho quite a bit, and lead independent parties up Hood and Rainier in the past few years, but have no REAL experience in the Cascades. Did SAR for a couple of years out of Boise, and would also like to get back into that.

 

Any input/suggestions appreciated, as well as any other climbing club/group names!

 

 

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Lotsa people on this board are Mounties. Lotsa people on this board will shit all over the Mounties. Several Mounties will shit all over themselves for being part of the Mounties. It's all a matter of perspective.

 

That being said, I've never been a Mountie, but I hear that it's a decent place to meet some folks, but prolly not the best place from where you'd wanna take your instruction.

 

Given the experience that you have, it'd prolly be OK just to put an ad in the Climbing Partners forum to chum the waters and see what happens. Sometimes you have to be more persistent to hook up, rather than just throwing a hook and bait out there. There's plenty of folks here that'll take you out, no problems.

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I got involved for a bit with the Mounties as a teen. At the time they were just about the only show in town. All and all I'd say they're a mixed bag. I've met some of the instructors from the Everett branch of the Mounties, and they're a decent lot.

 

In general I'd say they might be good since this is your first season out here. You might also consider signing up for some individual classes from the private guides then just look for climbing partners on this web site. That is as long as you're sensible enough to know your own limits and start out easy and gradually work your way up.

 

You can also check out the Washington Alpine Club and the BOALPS (Boeing) they let non Boeing employees sign up from time to time.

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If you know who I am, then you probably know how I feel about the Mountaineers. They are not all bad...If you are a real beginner, it can be a place to start. It all depends on the Branch When I was in high schoo I was a member of the Tacoma Branch and they were great. However, when I went to college I joined the Bellingham Branch and they were a bunch of cocky, rude mother f$%ckers. In general, I agree with what people have said already, look for a climbing partner on here. You can learn a lot more by climbing with some friends than with the moutaineers (in my opinion). This is all my opinion, from my own experiences and the mounties suck.

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You might consider joining a SAR organization since you have that background. You will probably meet quite a few potential partners there and get to know a lot of folks. I'm letting my mountaineers membership lapse as I've found it's more fun to go climbing without the club, and often safer with a small party. But some of my partners are people I met there. This board can be good to. I found I had better luck responding to posts than posting in the climbing partners forum.

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For me the 20% books and maps plus the library, the ski huts and use of the lodges far makes up for the little cost. I save that in books alone.

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Any input/suggestions appreciated, as well as any other climbing club/group names!

 

Forgot to mention Skagit Mountain Rescue, since you were once a SAR/MR guy. They's good folks. So too with the Everett MR guys. And the Seattle MR folks, and the Tacoma MR peeps. And the... shit, they're all good people!

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I'm with Skagit Mountain rescue and we welcome anybody to come to a meeting and check it out. If you have experience with mountain rescue already, that's better still. A few of us still climb and one or two of us get out quite a bit. The meetings are in Mt Vernon. PM me for times and location.

 

I was in the Skagit Alpine club years ago and met a few partners that I still climb with. I haven't been in contact with them for some time so I don't know if it's mainly hikers or climbers now...they seem to go in cycles. They meet at the college.

 

And as everybody has stated, I've met some great partners(and maybe one or two not so great :crosseye:) here on the partners board.

 

Good luck!

 

 

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The Mountaineers tends to be oriented towards mountaineering, not surprisingly, and not so much towards rock climbing and ice climbing, but that is gradually changing. Most Mountaineers members do not climb at a very high level, but there are some that climb at a solid intermediate level.

 

If you are just starting out, the Basic (Alpine) Climbing Course might be a good choice for you. If covers clothing and equipment, rudimentary rock climbing, wilderness travel, navigation, glacier travel, rudimentary crevasse rescue, handling emergencies, etc.

 

Party sizes of Mountaineers trips have been shrinking these days, and there is continued pressure to reduce group size. Trips I lead are typically 4-6 persons, which is still large compared to the typical 2-3 that would comprise a private climbing team.

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It sounds like you already have experience so you don't need the courses. It depends on how much you want to get out, and how much effort you want to put in. Whats good about the mounties is you sign up and go. Whats bad, there not partners. But in time could be. I helped start the Wenatchee branch but got burnt out spending all my time teaching and not doing the climbs I wanted to do. But its kool for a while. Good luck.

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Feck/Sobo/Cfire- Thanks. I'll be looking up Skagit MR, PM sent. I'm going to be up pretty much full time on the 12th of Jan. It's been 15 years since being in IMSARU, so I've probably lost more than I ever learned.

 

I'm pretty comfy with my rock/rope work, mostly uncomfortable exploring a diff. climactic environment on my own... weather patterns, local avy stuff, route suggestions, etc.

 

Sounds like support for the Mounties is not too bad, and will probably hook up for a year and take it from there... The huts look like they might just be worth the membership, esp with my family.

 

Thanks to all! - look forward to getting involved in and getting to know everyone! Will be checking out the partners board as well!

Edited by highangle

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The Mountaineers, like any other good sized group of people is a mixture of great people, ordinary people and lame people. There are several different branches of the club and many varied activities involving separate groups of people within each branch. You shouldn't generalize about the club as a whole; it is better to look around until you find people you get along with. Many climbers meet through the mountaineers and then climb regularly together on their own. The how-to classes have had good points and bad points, but a number of the volunteer instructors and climb leaders are experienced people who are a lot of fun to climb with. The Basic Climbing Course as taught by the Seattle Branch of the Mountaineers has just been radically re-organized this year. The big lectures and massive field trips have been done away with in favor of instruction in small close knit groups. The Tacoma branch has also overhauled their basic climbing class. The Everett Branch has always been smaller and more close-knit. The best thing about the mountaineers is that they make it possible to choose from a large number of trips every single weekend, so if none of your climbing buddies are available you can always get out and climb something.

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I was in the Mounties in the 70s. I got a bit of experience with the Basic and Intermediate classes. The biggest downside was the hundreds of students that would go down to Rainier to practice crevasse rescue. Not to be too negative, but they used to have experience climbs with 12 people in a group. I remember one trip where the, "leader," basically couldn't climb for shit. We got home from our trip at 6AM on Monday after the, "weekend," climb. I hear they have restricted group sizes in modern times. I hope they have at least half way competent folks to lead trips.

 

My best experience with the Mounties was using the ski lodges. They used to have a lodge where I learned to ski at Snoqualmie Pass (sadly that's mostly gone :cry: ). Right now they have a lodge with their own rope tow (500' vert) at Meany (Stampede Pass sort of). They used to have folks who would come up for Polka dancing in the evenings there. That part would piss me off, but fortunately there were always a bunch of teens there who would all sneak off to party in nearby shacks. :eveeel:

 

There's also a lodge at the Baker ski area that's pretty cool. No partying, but on the upside no polka people.

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I'm a member of the Seattle Branch... I just finished the Basic Course and have moved on to the Intermediate. The quality of instruction exceeded my expectations. It can seem tedious and repetitive, but they make things simple and drive it into your head. With that said, there are probably more efficient modes of learning if time or commitment is a concern. Cost is low.

 

I'd be more concerned with the high numbers of nincompoops who sign up for the course... Some people hardly know how to hike... but they usually get weeded out in the first few weeks.... They've made the program more selective since, so I think this will be less of a problem in the future.

 

85% of the instructors are friendly and highly knowledgeable and have great stories to share. The other 15% are power-tripping, bureaucracy-loving goons. Sometimes the class (basic course) feels too paternal.

 

Overall, the Basic Course does the job and it does it very well. The length of the course insures that the skills solidify. You are tested over and over and over. I feel incredibly confident and self-reliant with my knowledge. I can't imagine trying to learn these skills in any period less than a month, let alone for one of these 3 or 4 day prep courses that guide services offer... There's a difference between committing things to short-term memory and regurgitation of skills in a controlled environment versus gaining experience and developing "second nature" skills ...

 

The Basic Course is great if you're a beginner. Others might be bored. As for the club as a whole, it's great place to learn and meet people. Climbing outings, as with any group, can be tedious and slow. Depending on the leader, it may feel like grade school. My advice, find the right people, and you will have an amazing experience.

 

 

Edited by andret

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...sort of like Outside Magazine is for people who can't figure out how to have their own adventures, the Mountaineers are made up of people who for the most part can't get it together or aren't motivated to organize heir own climbing trips, etc. On the other hand, it is a good way for young beginners to get introduced to the mountains and mountaineering. Their publications and their library is great! Every update of Mountaineering - Freedom of the Hills is well done and better than the last. Their influence on environmental issues is wonderful. They are a very worthwhile organization, but membership is of little value to the NW climber of today with much experience.

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Thanks all! Was up there for New Years, and was drooling pretty good when things cleared and could see the Olympics and Cascades from the freeway...

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