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porter

Mazamas Advanced Rock Class

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Hey Folks,

 

Just wanting to get some opinions on the Mazamas Advanced Rock Climbing class (i.e., trad class). I'd like to hear everyone's opinions? Have you taken it? What are the pros and cons? Would one feel competent to put up some moderate trad pitches afterwards? I've been sport leading for awhile and have increasingly been feeling the desire to get into the trad world. That said, I've pretty much failed at finding a good mentor to take me out consistently.

 

I really have no preconceived notion about the Mazamas or the class and just came across the class the other day. It's something like 350 for Mazamas and 390 for non-Mazamas. I know the AMGA 2-days at Leavenworth are something like 1100 bucks.

 

That's it....just want some info/thoughts/rants/etc.

 

Thanks.

 

Oh yeah...not sure if this is the right forum...move as necessary.

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It is a 10 of 10 in terms of things I'd suggest a person do if they are getting into climbing. The intermediate is also good. I wouldn't give the basic the time of day, yet one of the guys I currently climb with just took it and recommends it - so Your results may vay I suppose. I helped teach the Mazamas Advanced back @ 1982 and 1983 or so. Then it was THE most through and complete thing I'd seen before or after. However, I know that since then they have split the class into 2 separate entities: high angle ice and rock -where before it was just the Advanced program. Furthermore, I do know that one of the most solid climbers in the state was asked NOT to help teach the class when they discovered he wasn't a Mazama. This was after doing it for perhaps (I'm guessing the number) 10-12 years. To me, this shows a huge disdain for the end product, which is having the best, most through, complete way to convey that kind of thing to folks who want to learn.

 

So it might be a crap shoot on the quality of the thing. I'm just saying that I have not direct recent knowledge. Of course, it's better to learn this way if the alternative is fu*king up and dying. Many of the old time climbers had some kind of "come to Jesus" moment on the rocks which, if they survived it and continued climbing, helped them figure out the mentality needed to learn and live. The alternative, a class like this, is a much better way.

 

Also,I would touch base with them and verify that you have the skill level going into it, or get that knowledge ASAP. I'm not trying to guess your skill level/knowledge base: but just saying that I don't know what they cover in the intermediate, things like anchor building etc, which might not be done in the advanced -just saying I'd try to figure that out ASAP.

 

Furthermore, or if you miss the Advanced thing, I have met a couple of graduates of the Clackamas Community college rockclimbing class and whoever the heck is doing that should be very proud as he's turning out some pretty solid climbers. I've met 4-5 so far. One of my prime current partners wandering around the rocks and the dude had it together at least 90% of the way, and he knew that he had a very gaps in his knowledge he needed to fill. That last thing is very critical: ie, knowing that there are shitloads of things you DON'T know and yet still need to learn or figure out on the fly.

 

Would one feel competent to put up some moderate trad pitches afterwards?

 

Oh, absolutely and you will be climbing "trad" as part of the class. It's not like a "classroom" thing although they do that, but more like a field trip thing where you go to Smith rocks and places and climb stuff. Back then it would culminate in a week (or 2?) long trip to Yosemite which was awesome!

 

Do the class for sure.

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Hey, Porter-

 

I had taken the class in 2003. I had also been sport leading for some time before taking the class. That definitely helps you, as several of my classmates had never been on the sharp end before the class. I know that they have changed the class ( for the better, I've heard). There are some really great "mentors" that you get connected with at each session and many can really help you lead some of the more challenging climbs around the area. You'll have no trouble finding a mentor in the class if you want to lead Moscow, Spiderman, Lion's Jaw, and some of the other classics at Smith. I think some folks had gone up Monkey's Face, too. Other field sessions have gone to Tieton and Horsethief ( earlier on in the class), and there are options for the whole class to go to City of Rocks and Tuolumne at the end of the class.

 

You do get some good rock rescue skills, and they did have an "aid" day. Escaping a belay is probably something that every climber should know how to do. The class is also often small enough ( 20 or so students) that you'll get to meet some new climbing partners.

 

I'm not a Mazama anymore, but I did have fun with it and was happy that skipped the Intermediate Class. I lost interest in the snow and ice aspect of climbing, and the ICS class had more focus on those skills.

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Hi Porter, I took the AR in 2007. I have previously taken BCEP and ICS too. I think BCEP is a great intro to those who have absolutely no idea about mountaineering. It gives you a taste to come back more in ICS. ICS is a great course that teaches you more on mountaineering but gives you a little taste on rock. In AR, you get to learn more about rock climbing. It is not a class that will teach you how to climb 5.12 but concentrate more on rock skills such as gear placement and evaluation, rock rescue, aid skills, niffy tricks, etc. It is a very time taking class so if you plan to take it, you have to be committed for a lot of weekend to AR. If you do take the class you will get to meet some of the most skilled climbers in Portland and learn from them. Good luck in making the decision, have fun!

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Hi Porter, there are 10 of us applying for AR this year because of one thing. Its being led by Eugene Lewins. This amazing, humble, experienced climber climbs like water flowing uphill. You will spend 1 week in lecture and many weekends building bomber anchors and then leading trad, locally and optional planned trips to City of Rocks and Yosemite. You will not be dissappointed!

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Thanks to everyone who responded. I really appreciate the insight. I had already filled out the application, and this definitely solidified my decision. Mucho appreciation.

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Porter,

 

Thanks for the question, and thanks to the Mazamas bashers out there who have yet to chime on on this thread. =^)

 

I've been an instructor and lecturer for about the past 8-10 years. The class will give you solid skills for moderate trad climbing. A big change in the last few years is that more time is spent on firming up your skills with more controlled practice sessions before turning you loose at Smith. This has resulted in more safer and more confident (but maybe impatient!) students.

 

Eugene is indeed a master teacher.

 

(BillCoe, a point to clarify, non Mazamas are welcome to teach/lecture any portion of the class. I am glad this limitation has been removed, sorry you had to deal with it.)

 

Feel free to PM me if you want more details.

 

Cheers,

John

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Porter. I help teach the AR class at Smith every year (although that is being put on hold, due to small kids at my house, for a spell) since 2004. I have found the experience to be fullfulling to say the least. Helping new climbers learn to place gear and have the head space to lead climb is great. Any amount of learning you can get from more experienced climbers is good, IMO. You will simply go out and rock climb with good hearted folks. I give a big thumbs up to the Mazamas.

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Thanks Johngo, good input. Small point, I didn't have to deal with it, the story I mention was another's and not my personal experience, that dude I mention is a significantly better climber and teacher than me.

 

Does what you say mean that non-Mazamas can show up for field sessions, or just classroom?

 

Hey, your little boy is still in your avatar pic, didn't your son grow up some?

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Bill,

 

If Lynn Hill showed up at Smith and said she wanted to take out a few Mazamas AR students to teach for the day, we'd say yes.

 

If a skilled non Mazamas climber, not name brand, but known to the class leader, wanted to teach, he/she would be welcome too. Key is, please contact the class leader in advance so he/she can plan their instructors.

 

I have a 5 yo girl (she's about 2 in this photo) and a 2 yo son. My son sorta looks like your classic avatar. ;)

 

John

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One follow-up question: My partner and I are not currently Mazamas. Do we realistically have a chance in hell of getting into this class? I'm definitely crossing my fingers.

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Being a member helps but even as a non-member you still have a chance on getting in. They really want to see if you are an active climber and be sure to sign in early as they will use this as well.

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You say you can't find a consistent trad mentor. There are several ways to do this, but any easy one is:

 

Go to any trad climbing area, bring lots of beer and smokables, and porno, sit by the trail, you will find a partner that is probably highly compitent in trad climbing but lacking any moral character. It is probably likely that these such trad climbers would not be teaching the Mazama class, although I don't know.

good luck

Edited by shapp

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You say you can't find a consistent trad mentor. There are several ways to do this, but any easy one is:

 

Go to any trad climbing area, bring lots of beer and smokables, and porno, sit by the trail, you will find a partner that is probably highly compitent in trad climbing but lacking any moral character. It is probably likely that these such trad climbers would not be teaching the Mazama class, although I don't know.

good luck

 

this worked for me! Saved some coin and meet some really cool people :tup:

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Porter,

Make sure you know your knots for the skills test. Competition is fierce to get into AR. And the skills test at Clubsport helps them decide who gets in(over 50 apply, only 20-25 get accepted). Those who don't tie the knot right the first time show a weakness. What you need to know is online. Also, if you can get references of friend climbers who endorse you, and send that in, it helps.

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