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REI trips/ outdoor classes?

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REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby eric.fides » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:00 pm

Tried to search around for reviews on REI trips but can only see reviews on REI site.
Has anyone taken a trip with REI to Shasta? If so, how was it?

Are there any other guide groups that you would recommend for a beginner who wants to learn?
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:54 pm

Sierra Mountain Center. Most certainly more expensive than REI. Also most certainly better.
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby Kiefer » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:42 pm

I'd skip them. With the advice I've received and past friends have received,
you'll probably wind up hurt or trekking in a different country than advertised.

I ONLY go to REI these days for clothing. I know everyone's experience is going to be
different, but I won't go there.
Go with EB suggestion. Better to pay more for something that a company specializes in vs.
the same thing with a different company that treats it as a 'department.'
My .02¢
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby Jesus Malverde » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:40 am

eric.fides,

Judging by the date alignment, it looks almost certain that REI contracts with Shasta Mountain Guides for REI's Shasta trips.
With that knowledge, you can better compare Shasta Mountain Guides ($,dates,agendas,goals) with Alpine Skills International and SWS Mountain Guides.

http://www.rei.com/adventures/trips/wee ... _wend.html
http://shastaguides.com/climbs/

http://alpineskills.com/cat_shasta.html
https://www.swsmtns.com/
BTW, what EB said is correct. Sierra Mountain Center is a top notch group.
However, it doesn't look like they officially hold a use permit with Shasta National Forest to do guided climbing on the mountain. That being said, I'm sure many of the SMC guides have "company relationships" with the current three that do. So if you have a specific guide in mind, it's possible that that specific guide may work under the company holding the NF use permit. Usually, the best thing to do is call the guide service and tell them what you are interested in and see where the conversation goes.
EB-chime in if I've missed something or have gotten something wrong.

Best,
JM
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby LJBeck » Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:30 pm

I climbed Shasta's North Side with SMG last in August. (The company REI sub-contracts) The trip and guides were excellent.

I also used REI for an EBC trip last year and thought they did an excellent job.
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:43 pm

I took two courses with REI. No complaints about either.

The first was a beginning climbing class. I was actually more advanced a climber than the class was designed for, but I took it to learn knots and practice belaying since I don't have a reliable climbing partner here. Yeah, I could have learned both from a book, but it was nicer to actually get on the rock while doing so.

The second was on building anchors, a very useful course and something I would have had a much harder time figuring out well on my own.

I've never gone on one of the trips and can't imagine I ever would, so I can't give you any feedback there.
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:53 pm

Sort of like Bob did in the past... if you are a beginner who wants to learn then I would suggest taking a class and then climbing Shasta on your own. Use an REI trip more if you want to go with the group, rather than for the purpose of learning.

When I first climbed Shasta we did a half day self arrest and using crampons deal. That was plenty for the easier routes on Shasta. If you want to learn glacier skills then that is more of an outing and more like the sort of thing you might use as a learning trip.
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby mconnell » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:26 pm

The issue I with the REI course that I took was that you don't know who the guide is going to be. The guide for the original class that I was going to take seemed to know less about outdoor climbing than I did (this was a beginner class). That class got cancelled after too many people backed out. They put me in another class that was excellent.

I took a glacier travel/crevasse rescue course through Sierra Wilderness Seminars about 20 years ago. Excellent course. Dave is a great instructor. As Jesus mentioned above, look at the companies offering what you are looking for, and pick one of them.
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby Bob Sihler » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:06 pm

mconnell wrote:The issue I with the REI course that I took was that you don't know who the guide is going to be. The guide for the original class that I was going to take seemed to know less about outdoor climbing than I did (this was a beginner class).


Sounds bad, but I once witnessed something worse. While climbing one day last spring, I saw a class group come up to the crag and start getting ready. They were all, including the two guides, from a local gym. In amazement, I listened as one of the guides explained to the group that he had no prior outdoor climbing experience!
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby ROL » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:55 pm

War stories? My one and only trip up Shasta (Whitney Glacier) was with the local Sierra Club chapter, way back when. I think we all chipped in for gas or something. I and two other accomplished mountaineers, arrived at the base camp two days after the main group had set up, including another high school kid with whom I had previously been paired with for base camp and beyond. I found our A-line tent had been erected with one side on the ground and the bottom on a side (I never was able to figure out how that was even possible), and full of opened food and trash. After dumping out the tent's contents and righting it, I finished off the week under the guidance of the two seasoned fellows I'd come to the mountain with.
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:57 pm

Hey maybe it is worth going on an REI Shasta trip just to watch what situations the others create. Good for a trip report perhaps?
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby RickF » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:01 am

Eric.fides, when checking out prospective guide companies/guides I suggest you also ask about their guide to client ratio. What is their max group size? Will they turn the whole group back if the slower, less fit climbers can't make it? Will they allow faster climbers to go up ahead un-guided? If they turn climbers around does a guide stay with those climbers? I've heard that these things happen on Avalanche Gulch.
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Re: REI trips/ outdoor classes?

Postby eric.fides » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:34 pm

Thank you for all your posts! I'm looking for a guided climb to ask questions and learn the foundations of mountaineering. I might be leaning towards SWS after checking out their site
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