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fhf3723

Is the BOEALPS alpine class worth the time?

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I have climbed with many survivors of the BOEALPS course over many years, and in my opinion they are better than the mountianeers, but they have a smaller group to cater to, which makes this easier .

I say if the opportunity is in front of you and the best option , go for it .

-J

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i took the boealps intermediate class and liked it a lot. i think the basic class is pretty basic. if you have some experience already you might consider that instead. if you're a sport climber looking to get into the mountains the intermediate class might be perfect for you.

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I have an anecdote about the Boealps. We were climbing Shuksan by the Sulphide route. At the trailhead we saw a large number of Boealp students. One of the group were made to wear their climbing helmets on the approach (why?).

 

On summit day. We caught up to a large party of Boealps Basic Students parked below the summit pyramid waiting, and another large group stalled 1/3 of the way up the gully. They were all bunched up attached to a fixed line using prussiks. We asked them why they weren't moving and were told that they didn't have enough rope to fix the entire distance to the summit! Our group passed on the left placing snow pickets with a running belay. We got our summit and they ended up backing off.

 

Later, I heard second hand that the Boealps leaders thought we were taking a big risk with running belays, that they didn't trust pickets to hold a fall. The snow was very hard and the pickets had to be hammered hard to go in. We placed seven. After our hour on the summit the sun was out and had softened the snow so that the pickets were loose, but then also the chances of falling were also much less because you could kick steps and plunge the shaft of your axe in to the hilt.

 

I am not criticizing the Boealps. It seems that they are very conservative and highly safety oriented. If that is important to you than go for it.

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Here is a photo from a similar boealps (or mounties) day. We were the first on the top (thankfully)using a running belay of about 2 pickets.

15487.jpg

 

There were 3 times more people than you see in the photo

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It is not a good situation to have so many people in the gully at once. One day someone is going to slip at the top and take out half a dozen other people like in a bowling alley.

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It is not a good situation to have so many people in the gully at once

That's what happened on Hood. Guess you just have to go on these routes on weekdays to get away from the crowds. Even being the first ones up doesn't help on the downclimb with all these folks above you.

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Here is the line someone skiied on the summit pyramid.

 

3167_shuksan.jpg

 

If you can ski it does it need the roped together and 15 pickets seige mentality or what? I suppose it does under certain conditions for certain experience levels but it seems the potential for bowling alley wipeouts a la Hood last spring, is high. Actually if you had that many inexperienced people in the gully NOT roped together there would still be thesame probability of "bowling for newbies" and mass wipeouts sliding down to the bottom of the gully. So whatever tongue.gifbigdrink.gif

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I met some good skiers heading up that gully, but they had the good sense to cache their skis at the point where the gully narrows. Seems to me you'd have to be pretty extreme to ski it from the top.

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I just noticed this post, and feel compelled to respond. I've climbed quite a bit with the Boealps class grads, and have a pretty good idea of what that class is all about. Apparently, the catbird is right. They are extremely safety oriented, that being their first priority, with learning, fun and bagging your peak falling somewhere below. The consensus I've heard, is most people enjoyed the class, but it's probably way too tame for the more aggressive outdoors person, people with some experience, guys in their 20's etc.

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I just noticed this post, and feel compelled to respond. I've climbed quite a bit with the Boealps class grads, and have a pretty good idea of what that class is all about. Apparently, the catbird is right. They are extremely safety oriented, that being their first priority, with learning, fun and bagging your peak falling somewhere below. The consensus I've heard, is most people enjoyed the class, but it's probably way too tame for the more aggressive outdoors person, people with some experience, guys in their 20's etc.

 

I've climbed with many "graduates" from both the Boealps and Mountaineers courses. I haven't found one group to be any more or less safe than the other (aside from the fixed line thing, ha). It really depends on the person not the group, as to their level of safety. I've also climbed with some who haven't taken either course, and found them to be less safe in general. That could just be my perception of a more experienced climber though, taking fewer precautions because they feel comfortable with that. Generally speaking, if I have to tie into a rope with a beginner (for the first time), I'd prefer someone who has graduated from one course or another over someone who learned from an "experienced friend". Just my 2 cents.

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Not that I'm objective about this subject (I took the basic class through them), but I think the Boealps basic climbing class is a great way for the beginner to get introduced to climbing. Suck in your manly-man pride, take the class, wear your helmet from the car, don't summit... but by the end they'll have taught you enough to where you can go out on your own and do stupid things, hopefully safely. The class is pretty darned fun too.

 

I was up there on 1/1/01 and some insane dude had put in those sideways ski steps all the way up to the shoulder beneath the summit. We went up that thing without a rope on a rising traverse, intersecting Dru's red line at about the middle. From there it was pucker factor +100 to the top and back down. It was a nice crust that offered support when punched through but it was also if you slipped/tripped a "catch yourself in the first ten feet or not at all" deal. Pretty stupid but thankfully it panned out. One of the skiers was backing off as we were coming up. Granted this dude was smart enough to leave the skis down at the base, but he still wasn't too keen on going to the top. I guess he figured he'd try again when he saw us but then decided against it. There's some quote out there... "Prudence is the better part of valor."

 

Take the Boealps intermediate climbing course if you don't need anyone to hold your hand. The intermediate class is essentially designed to give you more confidence leading and to subject you to climbs within your ability in the alpine setting. They go to Smith Rock, Squamish, two other group outings and then disperse into a 1:1 or 2:1 student/instructor ratio for their alpine climbs. The intermediate class is a butt-load of fun.

Now's the time to apply for either, both classes start in March. The basic class is three months long and the intermediate is six months. Boealps website

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I like it when beginninger classes climb a peak a day or two before you. I tmeans nice booty smile.gif skisports and I climbed shuksan by the line in dru's picture (I have several pics that look identical) and collected 4 pickets, all complete with good looking spectra runners and biners on the way down. I guess they decided to rap of it. Fine by me, but I much prefer the "downclimb and get free stuff" approach. bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif

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Thanks for the insight. My dilema is I have climbed Adams(south easy route),and attempted Rainier Twice (DC and Emmons) turned back by bad weather. Each trip was with a very experienced climber who did teach me some of the basics. I would like to learn alot more. Rescue techniques,Protection,route finding,first aid,etc. I am comfortable with the elements but not comfortable with my mechanics. Not sure if I would be able to keep up with the Intermediate class. any thoughts. Thanks in advance. laugh.gif

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You'll get all of that in the basic class. They'll drop you into a crevasse, you'll get to yank others out... all the stuff you mentioned. Two months after graduating, six of us "classmates" went off and climbed the Emmons route together. We were happy enough that we pulled it off by ourselves, albeit an easy route. That's right on par with what most folks do upon completing the course... a Rainier ascent.

 

On a separate note, when I mentioned the intermediate class has the student climbing at their ability level, that's in the true sense, whether it's 5.4 to (as far as I know and I climb nowhere near this so not sure) 5.11. I think a student and instructor went up Thin Red Line last year... because both were capable of such. Fuhrer Finger and N Face Shuksan were a couple of the snow routes they did last year too. The graduation climb is one planned and approved ( madgo_ron.gif) by the instructors. Goode, Triumph, N Ridge Stuart were some of their climbs.

 

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