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Mountaineering club for souther California???

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Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby Snowslydder » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:55 am

I am looking for a mountaineering course for southern California that is like the Mazama or the Mountaineers. But I have had no luck finding one. I have found a bunch of guides services but not clubs. Does any one know of any good ones?

On another note I was looking to take some classes to do a couple of things.
-Learn all of the proper techniques
-Crevasse and Avalanche basics
-these courses eventually leading to becoming a certified guide/mountaineer.

I was hoping you guys could point out who is the best for these classes and which ones would assist in a qualification.

I have done St Helen's multiple times and other local peaks up to 11,000 feet that are class 1-2. Just some basic scrambling one day trips. I have backpacked a lot but I have had the mountaineering bug for a while and I am looking to step up my game. Even though freedom of the hills has a lot of information I think it is time to learn some things from trained qualified individuals. Thank you for your time.
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby nicozone » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:25 pm

Check groups like California Mountaineering Club (http://californiamountaineer.net/). I believe they have links on their site to other mountaineering clubs in the area. The majority of clubs are smaller than the Mazamas or the Mountaineers, but take their queues from those guys when putting together their own training programs.

If you are looking for climbing partners in the Northwest and have specific peaks in mind, PM me. I've done several of the easy climbs in Oregon, and I'm always looking to partner up with new climbers that have a passion for the mountains.
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby Denjem » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:46 pm

Southern California Mountaineers Association
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby Snowslydder » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:22 am

Denjem wrote:Southern California Mountaineers Association

I checked these guys out but I am looking for more of a alpine style of climbing. I enjoy rock climbing but I am more passionate about mountaineering
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby asmrz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:57 pm

IMO, before you try any technical alpine terrain, learn how to rock climb. Take a rock climbing class, learn the "ropes", get comfortable on technical rock. After that, take a mountaineering course teaching snow travel, alpine rock and ice climbing, winter travel and avalanche training. That will get you the complete foundation to be able to safely enjoy anything mountains can dish out. This is true, especially if you are young (or youngish) and hope to play this alpine game for many years. Re your question, most Southern California clubs are not into the kind of classes you would like to attend (mountaineering courses) so guiding services might be the only answer.
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby Snowslydder » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:34 pm

asmrz wrote:IMO, before you try any technical alpine terrain, learn how to rock climb. Take a rock climbing class, learn the "ropes", get comfortable on technical rock. After that, take a mountaineering course teaching snow travel, alpine rock and ice climbing, winter travel and avalanche training. That will get you the complete foundation to be able to safely enjoy anything mountains can dish out. This is true, especially if you are young (or youngish) and hope to play this alpine game for many years. Re your question, most Southern California clubs are not into the kind of classes you would like to attend (mountaineering courses) so guiding services might be the only answer.


I have been rock climbing for a about a year now. I am comfortable bouldering, top roping and sport climbing. I am boulder around V-2/3, top rope 5.10/11, and I can lead climb 5.9 comfortably. I have not gotten into triad climbing yet because the gear is so expensive and I have only done single pitch so far.

As far as classes go, I wanted to take one that is worth the money and time so I could get the most out of it. I just wanted to find a club that I could climb with later on to hone those skills and learn from other seasoned climbers.

I went up St Helens when I was sixteen in bad gear with no training and I ran into the Mazamas. One of them told me "there are old climbers and bold climbers, but there are no old bold climbers because they are all dead." So after that lesson in life I bought freedom of the hills and studied it and climbed St Helens and other small peaks around the PNW with some friends. I later joined the Navy and I was deployed for 5 spring climbing seasons in a row. So every time I wanted to get back into it I was out to sea. Finally things are calming down and I am ready to buckle down and get the experience I need to be a competent mountaineer. That is why I am looking for a good class and clubs.

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this and offer me advice.
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby fatdad » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:18 pm

Alois is right. To be a competent mountaineer, you need to learn the fundamentals of trad rock climbing. Despite your ability, clipping bolts in the mountains just isn't an option. Also, trad climbing will teach you the basics of route finding, building anchors, which are essential to climbing peaks. This isn't the best analogy, but getting into mountaineering without a base in trad climbing is like spending alot of time learning how to surf when you're not a strong swimmer. If you never get separated from your board, you'll likely be fine. But if you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, that knowledge will carry you through safely.
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby kevin trieu » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:53 pm

Snowslydder wrote:
Denjem wrote:Southern California Mountaineers Association

I checked these guys out but I am looking for more of a alpine style of climbing. I enjoy rock climbing but I am more passionate about mountaineering


while the main objective of the club might not be alpine but there is where you meet people to go on alpine climbs. build that personal relationship. make friends. nobody in their right mind is going to post a technical alpine climb on a website to head out with someone they have not climbed with before.
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Norma R, Snowslydder

Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby mattyj » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:49 pm

Snowslydder wrote:-these courses eventually leading to becoming a certified guide/mountaineer.


This may be a bit OT, but:

1) Mountaineering and climbing do not have certifications in the same way that diving does. Closest you can get is for a few related disciplines: WFR, AVY 1, etc. There are courses which will teach you all sorts of useful stuff, but you will not walk away with any sort of paper that says "you are now capable of conducting a crevasse rescue".

2) I see a lot of people with limited skills aspire to become guides, and I think their energy is severely misdirected. Guiding isn't really like college - in college, you start out as a student, then become a grad student, and eventually work your way up to being a professor. Lots of newbies seem to have a similar impression of guiding - you pay a guide a bunch of money, they teach you what you need to know, and eventually the student becomes the master. In reality, most guides don't come from the guided-client pool. One prereq to becoming a guide is being a very solid climber, and it's hard to become that good without doing a lot of learning by experience. A guide can teach you the mechanics but you won't learn judgement until you go out on your own. Aspiring guides can take classes to get AMGA certification, but those classes teach the guiding (i.e. how to look out for someone else), not the climbing.

Sorry if this is doesn't apply to you, but it's important to know before getting heavily invested in expensive mountaineering courses.
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Re: Mountaineering club for souther California???

Postby Snowslydder » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:44 pm

Thanks for all of you input. I will start working on my trad climbing and continue practicing my mountaineering.
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