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Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services,

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 10:16 pm
by AlexTR
First of all, the time honored newbie hello: Hey guys, its great to be here! =)

So, getting down to it.

I recently decided to take a mountaineering course in the summer of 2012. I've done some research,
and It seems that a great option would be the 13 day mountaineering course offered by two guiding firms,
Alpine Ascents International, and Mountain Madness.

Alpine Ascents Course: http://www.alpineascents.com/cascades13.asp

Mountain Madness Course http://www.mountainmadness.com/adventur ... escription


Having absolutely no idea how reputable either of these are, both courses seem quite similar, and I don't know which to take.

I would love if someone with some more experience with both or either of these companies/courses to help me decide.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 1:21 am
by ExcitableBoy
American Alpine Institute, Mountain Madness, and Alpine Ascents International all have solid programs and are well regarded.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 5:20 pm
by Dow Williams
Alex, unlike most of the free market capitalistic models in the US....guiding.....mountaineering, rock, canyoneering, paddling or otherwise for the most part is a non-profitable business. The non-capitalistic result is that the folks you typically find in the business are in it for passion, from the owners down to the guides. Neither make much money. In fact in many instances you will find the better known guides making more than the owners of the guiding company at which they guide at. This means that a bad apple does not exist for very long. Guiding is not a burgeoning competitive business attracting business entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and/or motives. The money is just not there, thus the small pool to choose from. Every guide service I know who has survived the recent recession is pretty damn dedicated and worthwhile. Pick a program and location suited to your own needs and you will be hard pressed to go wrong with the companies you have listed. Cheers.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 5:41 pm
by ExcitableBoy
I have another suggestion for you to look into should you decide on the Cascades. Pro Ski and Guding http://www.proguiding.com/trip/list/all/alpine is a smaller outfit, but has very experienced and talented guides. I personally recommend Chris Simmons http://climbskirun.blogspot.com/.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:59 pm
by IagosGhost
I took Alpine Ascents' 13-day course in July 2007. (Look up my page in the gear section.)I enjoyed it very much. We ran into a group from Mountain Madness on their similar course. We climbed the same mountian, Mt. Daniel, as our final climb and also shared a location for our final day of rock climbing. I was impressed with their guides. They seemed competent and personable, and their students seemed to have enjoyed their time with them. I don't think you could go wrong with either one of them.

Even though AAI was a little more expensive, I went with them for one reason--a reason that wasn't rational. For some reason I was biased against MM becauase their founder Scott Fischer was killed in the Everest Disaster of 1996. I know that sounds crazy, but that was what I was thinking at the time. And I was dropping over $2,000 of my hard-earned cash; I wanted to get my money's worth. YMMV.

Good luck and have fun. You will learn a lot and build a solid foundation for your future climbs.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:53 pm
by JHH60
The other AAI (American Alpine Institute) offers a 3 part, 12 days each, "alpine mountaineering and technical leadership" program, which sounds like a great class if you have the time and money. IIRC the 1st part focusses on snow, alpine ice climbing, and glacier skills, the second part focusses on alpine rock climbing, and the third part is a mini-expedition led by students but under supervision.

http://www.aai.cc/ProgramDetail/mountai ... adership1/

I did a 9 day version of this class in the Sierra ("Sierra Mountaineering and Technical Leadership") which was a really good class, but probably 80% focussed on alpine rock with only a couple days of snow and ice training. I liked the two days we got of snow and ice enough that I went up to the North Cascades tthe following summer to do AAI's 6 day Alpine Ice class on Mt. Baker. Had I known how awesome the Cascades were I probably would have signed up for at least the first two of the 12 day classes right from the start.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:18 am
by The Chief
Dow Williams wrote:Alex, unlike most of the free market capitalistic models in the US....guiding.....mountaineering, rock, canyoneering, paddling or otherwise for the most part is a non-profitable business. The non-capitalistic result is that the folks you typically find in the business are in it for passion, from the owners down to the guides. Neither make much money. In fact in many instances you will find the better known guides making more than the owners of the guiding company at which they guide at. This means that a bad apple does not exist for very long. Guiding is not a burgeoning competitive business attracting business entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and/or motives. The money is just not there, thus the small pool to choose from. Every guide service I know who has survived the recent recession is pretty damn dedicated and worthwhile. Pick a program and location suited to your own needs and you will be hard pressed to go wrong with the companies you have listed. Cheers.


Well said DOW.

BUT!!!

The monopolized CERT PROCESS Business out there is in fact out to make big bucks, charging well over $15K ( over 50% the avg guides annual salary) for any aspiring guide to get fully cert'd. Funny how they charge the dirt bagging guides so frkn much so they can return to their employer and get minial pay and NO bene's in most services cases. But by god, they are cert'd and the service they work for is accredited.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:03 pm
by minimalistix
American Alpine Institute, Mountain Madness, and Alpine Ascents International are all great outfits. Seen most in action and pretty much all of them have safety and welfare of the client as their top priority. It's pretty much drilled into the heads of most of the guides who they employ.

Dow Williams wrote:Alex, unlike most of the free market capitalistic models in the US....guiding.....mountaineering, rock, canyoneering, paddling or otherwise for the most part is a non-profitable business. The non-capitalistic result is that the folks you typically find in the business are in it for passion, from the owners down to the guides. Neither make much money. In fact in many instances you will find the better known guides making more than the owners of the guiding company at which they guide at. This means that a bad apple does not exist for very long. Guiding is not a burgeoning competitive business attracting business entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and/or motives. The money is just not there, thus the small pool to choose from. Every guide service I know who has survived the recent recession is pretty damn dedicated and worthwhile. Pick a program and location suited to your own needs and you will be hard pressed to go wrong with the companies you have listed. Cheers.


Definitely, with a couple of caveats. Some people claiming to be guides & even some guide services that are offered on the web, don't have a freaking clue how to properly guide a client. They may have lied about being certified and have a spotty, at best, track record. Luckily, with the internet, it's fairly easy these days to get information of these service. Best piece of advice, before signing up with a guide service, just do a little research on the guides that would lead a particular course. If they have some skeletons in the closet, they're usually easy to find since the professional mountaineering community is a fairly small one and people generally have big mouths when stupidity pops up on a mountain

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:54 pm
by elichten
I haven't taken that course, but I did just finish Alpine Ascent's 8 day Denali Prep class. I thought they were well organized, highly knowledgeable, and easy to work with. The guides were top notch and friendly and the schedule was flexible but comprehensive. The course was organized so that even though we had 7 clients, we had plenty of time for all of us to get hands on individual training on all the topics. I took the course to learn, and they definately delivered.

The pace of the course was a little slow for me. It felt like we had too much downtime. At the end of each day I was still ready for more, but pretty much everyone else was exhausted. That might say more about the level of individual preparedness than the course though.

The ultimate measure though is that I would take another course with them, and probably will. :)

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:09 pm
by Tomash
Hello all

I would like to know how essential some basic rock climbing skills are in relation to mountaineering. I'm in the process of shedding extra weight as I would really love to take on mountaineering next year. I hope I'm not too late as I'm almost thirty.
Do you think I should sign up for some indoor rock climbing classes in the winter?

I haven't decided on the school yet but MM looks pretty good to me.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:42 pm
by Buz Groshong
Tomash wrote:Hello all

I would like to know how essential some basic rock climbing skills are in relation to mountaineering. I'm in the process of shedding extra weight as I would really love to take on mountaineering next year. I hope I'm not too late as I'm almost thirty.
Do you think I should sign up for some indoor rock climbing classes in the winter?

I haven't decided on the school yet but MM looks pretty good to me.


Man, you're way too old! :lol:

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:34 pm
by Hotoven
Tomash wrote:Hello all

I would like to know how essential some basic rock climbing skills are in relation to mountaineering. I'm in the process of shedding extra weight as I would really love to take on mountaineering next year. I hope I'm not too late as I'm almost thirty.
Do you think I should sign up for some indoor rock climbing classes in the winter?

I haven't decided on the school yet but MM looks pretty good to me.



Almost 30! haha your not to old, its not about getting to be the best mountaineer and being competitive, its about having fun and enjoying it. When you start comparing yourself to others, you should question your whole motive for getting into the sport. Its a self achievement goal oriented sport, the satisfaction one gets from completing a hard task for the individual. Not the Hardest task that no one else you know can't do.

Mountaineering involves roped glacier travel and long snow slogs. Most mountaineering routes do not require much if any rock climbing techniques, although they do require rope skills, which you use in rock climbing. Alpine climbing is more focused on difficult routes and completing them quickly (mostly for safety reasons and traveling light). That involves more rock climbing skills because you may be climbing a vertical wall for half the route.

If you want to become a more all around climber and know more aspects of the sport, then I would recommend taking a basic rock climbing course.

If you only want to do mountaineering, its not as important that you know rock climbing skills. They are still relevant and its good to have knowledge on the topic.

Given your location and where you live though, I would recommend the rock climbing course because it would get you familiar with belaying and basic rope skills and knots. Do you have goals of what you want to climb? Once you narrow down your goals, it will be easier for you to figure out what is most important for you to learn first. Its good that you plan to take a course next year too. Knowing knots and basic rope skills will enable you to learn other aspects of the sport quicker, not bogging you down with to much new stuff since you already know the basics.

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:39 pm
by CClaude
Dow Williams wrote:Alex, unlike most of the free market capitalistic models in the US....guiding.....mountaineering, rock, canyoneering, paddling or otherwise for the most part is a non-profitable business. The non-capitalistic result is that the folks you typically find in the business are in it for passion, from the owners down to the guides. Neither make much money. In fact in many instances you will find the better known guides making more than the owners of the guiding company at which they guide at. This means that a bad apple does not exist for very long. Guiding is not a burgeoning competitive business attracting business entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and/or motives. The money is just not there, thus the small pool to choose from. Every guide service I know who has survived the recent recession is pretty damn dedicated and worthwhile. Pick a program and location suited to your own needs and you will be hard pressed to go wrong with the companies you have listed. Cheers.



Come'on Dow. The owners of the companies gotta be pulling in three figures, four figures max. With that kind of dough they could probably buy a pizza, and the pizza does feed a family of four which the former often has a hard time doing.......just kidding......

American Alpine Institute has a good reputation and have a group of well known guides. When looking at services, programs and guides look for
1) programs that are about teaching and not just achieving some summit with the learning being secondary
2) guides that have extensive experience
3) guides that have good client skills

Re: Mountaineering course-Differences between guide services

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:26 pm
by Tomash
Hotoven wrote:
Tomash wrote:Hello all

I would like to know how essential some basic rock climbing skills are in relation to mountaineering. I'm in the process of shedding extra weight as I would really love to take on mountaineering next year. I hope I'm not too late as I'm almost thirty.
Do you think I should sign up for some indoor rock climbing classes in the winter?

I haven't decided on the school yet but MM looks pretty good to me.



Almost 30! haha your not to old, its not about getting to be the best mountaineer and being competitive, its about having fun and enjoying it. When you start comparing yourself to others, you should question your whole motive for getting into the sport. Its a self achievement goal oriented sport, the satisfaction one gets from completing a hard task for the individual. Not the Hardest task that no one else you know can't do.

Mountaineering involves roped glacier travel and long snow slogs. Most mountaineering routes do not require much if any rock climbing techniques, although they do require rope skills, which you use in rock climbing. Alpine climbing is more focused on difficult routes and completing them quickly (mostly for safety reasons and traveling light). That involves more rock climbing skills because you may be climbing a vertical wall for half the route.

If you want to become a more all around climber and know more aspects of the sport, then I would recommend taking a basic rock climbing course.

If you only want to do mountaineering, its not as important that you know rock climbing skills. They are still relevant and its good to have knowledge on the topic.

Given your location and where you live though, I would recommend the rock climbing course because it would get you familiar with belaying and basic rope skills and knots. Do you have goals of what you want to climb? Once you narrow down your goals, it will be easier for you to figure out what is most important for you to learn first. Its good that you plan to take a course next year too. Knowing knots and basic rope skills will enable you to learn other aspects of the sport quicker, not bogging you down with to much new stuff since you already know the basics.



Thanks that's the answer I was looking for.