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I've got a gonzo (OK, his old fart dad thinks he's gonzo) 17 year old son who has been doing indoor climbing for about a year now who wants to start doing real rock climbing. Where or whom do I turn to get him some education and guidance? Are there available rock-climbing courses? Any suggestions or recommendations? And with Christmas right around the corner, what are some gift ideas for a fledgling rock climber?

Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

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i would recommend only getting instruction through a certified amga rock guide. there are many companies offering instruction. but my question to you would oyu want someone who wants to be a doctor operate on you or do you want a real doctor.

amga guides have to have high standard of ability and knowledge and put years into attaining their certification. amga guides work very hard and spend lots of their own money and time acheiving this level of expertise.

the professional guiding business in the u.s. needs to be legitimzed and as long as there are companies that intruct/guide within the country who use under qualified people can only do harm to the industry.(not to say these people are bad, but they are bad for legitimizing the guide profession)

the only real guide company in washington that i would say has high number of certified guides is north cascades mountain guides. these guys are awesome.


also martin volken rulz too!


these two companies seem to more interested in quality instruction and experience instead of a corporate profit.

a few good presents are a new adjustable leg loop harness, beley devices, cams, neutrino biners, nutz(not sure why cause smalls cams rule!!) a good 60m rope. guide books(to get the stoke going) a nut tool.

the gym is a good place to learn some technique though only a small amount of real practical knowledge comes out of a place with that much attitude and postering. remember versitility and humbleness(i'm still learning) and most importantly FUN are the keys to a strong successful.

wish my parents supported climbing!!??

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Originally posted by Bronco:
You should look into the classes offered at Cascade Crags for the youngun' if you haven't. They seem to tailor the ciriculum to the transition from the gym to the outdoors.

You can never have too many 'biners when you are starting out.


tongue.gif" border="0

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There is a difference between guiding and instruction.

Although some of the better guides do attempt to instruct their clients, for the most part, guiding is about managing people in the mountains and helping them to summit safely, while schools like Outward Bound or NOLS are more about instructing people to be self-reliant without necessarily being obligated to summit anything.

The benefit of going with a guide can be a small guide-to-client ratio, whereas at OB or NOLS you're usually part of a group of 8-10 students.

However, at OB or NOLS, you'll learn a whole lot more about climbing.

Check out the OB website at www.pcobs.org -- they offer rock climbing courses, mountaineering courses, and other courses as well.

Good luck! And if it were my kid, I'd want him to go with certified instructors who have medical training, self-rescue skills, and training in teaching skills -- and probably not someone I met through a website.

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Guide services(most) offer guiding and courses

(without all the granola and smearing your shit

on a rock nonsense!)and most of these "guided"

courses are at least,if not more,credible(AMGA

certified or accredited),better teacher/student

ratios and cheaper than a NOLS/Outward Bound

courses.I would agree it is better to send your

son to some sort of professional,either way>

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To add to Richard's points:

True, many guides are AMGA certified, whereas only some OB/NOLS folks have that particular certification.

One big difference between "guided" courses and OB/NOLS type coursesis that they can be very different in length, thus the curriculum can be different -- guided courses are often only a week long, typically, whereas OB/NOLS courses can be as short as a week or as long as three months. In other words, one might expect to learn a much deeper, wider curriculum over three weeks than over one.

That's a lot of granola!

The problem with these OB type courses, of course, is the cost -- but unlike any guide service I've ever heard of, OB and NOLS both offer scholarship opportunities and other types of financial aid. They do so because they are non-profit organizations.

By the way, smearing your shit on a rock is no longer taught or widely accepted as effective Leave No Trace waste disposal technique. Maybe you should take a NOLS or OB course, Richard, to update your understanding of what the schools teach?

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Search and rescue really worked for me when I was starting out. Met lots of cool people, both similar age with similar interests and similar (no) experience, and older hands that showed us lotsa things. It's free, you just have to put in your time, and the best part is that because search and rescue gets to pick up the pieces after climbing accidents, there is this whole emphasis on how to do things safely and not mess up.

I don't know a lot about SAR in the Seattle area (I was with Reykjavik SAR, http://www.hssr.is/, not very relevant wink.gif" border="0 but take a look at http://www.kcesar.org/. I know they take new recruits in fall, which doesn't help you much for next summer's rock season.

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I know about "leave no trace" camping/climbingand if I want to know about OB/NOLS, I'll sendfor a brochure. Guides services aren't only about"managing people and helping them summit safely";there courses are as good, if not better (someguiding orginazations), than OB/NOLS (AND w/ theAMGA cert, or accreditation!). Perhaps you shouldtake a guided course, to update your understandingof the courses they offer and the curriculum theycover, without being obligated to summit anything.


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Perhaps boring for you, Maxi-pad, but informative

for the person who asked the question, or anyone

else who is new to the sport. You live in Colorado

so why aren't you out climbing, instead of putting

in truely boring entries? Or maybe because you are

in the newbie section and can't seem to talk about

climbing, you CAN'T climb? Probably the case!


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