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jvitti


May 8, 2012, 8:00 AM
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Saturday Night Live; Free clinics in the Gunks.
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The death of Stephanie Prezant is one of the saddest things I can imagine. It is one of a number of tragic events that have occurred in and around the climbing community this spring. I find myself wanting to contribute something positive, something useful to honor Stephanie and others that have died this spring and might somehow help to prevent maybe one accident, even just one life altering or ending incident.

Over the years various guides have offered free clinics during the course of the season and in conjunction with the Mohonk Preserve. There is also a tradition of free clinics on a variety of topics during the Film Fest. Unfortunately, the litigious nature of our society makes it problematic for the Preserve to directly offer clinics, but there is no reason why individual guides can't offer some free advice.

The idea is to provide an opportunity for climbers to get together with a certified guide on Saturday evenings to "learn what you don't know" for free. Spend an hour or two talking about some of the things critical to climbing more safely and debunking wrong headed ideas about what works or doesn't. Topics covered can range from the basics like knots and hitches to more advanced skills.

The goal here is not to take the place of full on professional instruction or other mentoring, rather to help a climber look at their skill set in a critical and objective manner and see the forest despite the trees, to get some reinforcement that they are on track, some tips that fill in some blanks or perhaps a wake up call to the fact that their skills need work.

It is my feeling that it is not just beginner climbers that are time bombs, but that a lot of intermediate climbers who have been at it awhile have significant gaps in their knowledge and are under the false impression that time equals competence, that because they've "always done it that way" and have not had problems means that they've got it down pat. This is just anecdotal but it appears that the preponderance of accidents happen with folks who are more than just beginners, who are starting to lead things, are pushing their limits and yet have not quite filled in gaps in their technique (apparently the climbers that Stephanie was with had some experience and had been at it for at least several years). Climbing is incredibly dangerous and to humbly appraise one's own skills critical.

I have talked with Hank and several other guides and we will have a flier up at Rock and Snow, EMS and The Preserve offering clinics on Saturday at 5pm in the Uberfall. Please contact joe@alpineendeavors.com, Rock and Snow, or EMS to get further details or to let us know that you will be coming out for a clinic. I'll be out on Saturday the 12th, hope to see you then for clinic or just to gab.

Cheers, Joe.


wonderwoman


May 8, 2012, 8:05 AM
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Will this be an ongoing effort or just a one shot deal on the 12th? This is very generous and kind of you to volunteer your time to help the newer folks.


jvitti


May 8, 2012, 8:10 AM
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This is an ongoing program. I have talked with four other guides that are willing to be involved as well some extremely experienced and expert climbers. I think that we can muster enough energy to see this go on all through the season. That's my hope.


blueeyedclimber


May 8, 2012, 11:06 AM
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Sounds like a good idea. Thanks for doing this. Is your hope that it will be more of a discussion/question and answer, or more hands on?

Josh


jvitti


May 8, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Hi Josh. The idea is to offer tips based on what makes sense, a conversation about where a given climber is at with their development and what is relevant to them. I don't have any desire to burn time debating whether or not a "back up" is critical to a figure eight. On the other hand we could talk about the advantages and disadvantages of different materials like high density polyethylene (dyneema etc.). We could go over how to escape the belay or what constitutes an adequate toprope anchor and how to build one in different situations. So, to answer your question, it depends. I just want to give people an opportunity to ask questions and get them answered face to face with a demonstration thrown in for good measure.


blueeyedclimber


May 8, 2012, 11:23 AM
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Cool. If I happen to be there in the near future, maybe I'll stop by to see how it goes. I am hoping to get out there Memorial Day weekend.

Josh


gblauer
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May 8, 2012, 12:02 PM
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You guys rock!


Gmburns2000


May 8, 2012, 6:02 PM
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jvitti wrote:
The death of Stephanie Prezant is one of the saddest things I can imagine. It is one of a number of tragic events that have occurred in and around the climbing community this spring. I find myself wanting to contribute something positive, something useful to honor Stephanie and others that have died this spring and might somehow help to prevent maybe one accident, even just one life altering or ending incident.

Over the years various guides have offered free clinics during the course of the season and in conjunction with the Mohonk Preserve. There is also a tradition of free clinics on a variety of topics during the Film Fest. Unfortunately, the litigious nature of our society makes it problematic for the Preserve to directly offer clinics, but there is no reason why individual guides can't offer some free advice.

The idea is to provide an opportunity for climbers to get together with a certified guide on Saturday evenings to "learn what you don't know" for free. Spend an hour or two talking about some of the things critical to climbing more safely and debunking wrong headed ideas about what works or doesn't. Topics covered can range from the basics like knots and hitches to more advanced skills.

The goal here is not to take the place of full on professional instruction or other mentoring, rather to help a climber look at their skill set in a critical and objective manner and see the forest despite the trees, to get some reinforcement that they are on track, some tips that fill in some blanks or perhaps a wake up call to the fact that their skills need work.

It is my feeling that it is not just beginner climbers that are time bombs, but that a lot of intermediate climbers who have been at it awhile have significant gaps in their knowledge and are under the false impression that time equals competence, that because they've "always done it that way" and have not had problems means that they've got it down pat. This is just anecdotal but it appears that the preponderance of accidents happen with folks who are more than just beginners, who are starting to lead things, are pushing their limits and yet have not quite filled in gaps in their technique (apparently the climbers that Stephanie was with had some experience and had been at it for at least several years). Climbing is incredibly dangerous and to humbly appraise one's own skills critical.

I have talked with Hank and several other guides and we will have a flier up at Rock and Snow, EMS and The Preserve offering clinics on Saturday at 5pm in the Uberfall. Please contact joe@alpineendeavors.com, Rock and Snow, or EMS to get further details or to let us know that you will be coming out for a clinic. I'll be out on Saturday the 12th, hope to see you then for clinic or just to gab.

Cheers, Joe.

Great idea Joe. I hope you find a way to make it work. Good luck!


dbogardus


May 8, 2012, 8:36 PM
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This is awesome.


sknowlton


May 9, 2012, 11:10 AM
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Thanks, Joe for doing this for our community. This is a terrific idea.


Partner rgold


May 10, 2012, 4:35 PM
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Thought I'd give this a bump since the first Saturday is coming up...


jvitti


May 11, 2012, 3:42 AM
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Thanks RG. I will be at the Uberfall by Ken's Crack at 5 to talk about sound anchoring principles and whatever else folks want to discuss (like; The Knicks, future contenders or terminal pretenders?)


blueeyedclimber


May 11, 2012, 5:07 AM
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jvitti wrote:
Thanks RG. I will be at the Uberfall by Ken's Crack at 5 to talk about sound anchoring principles and whatever else folks want to discuss (like; The Knicks, future contenders or terminal pretenders?)

OOhh, if you are talking about basketball then I'll be there. The Knicks will never win a championship with Carmelo or Amare. Sorry. Now, my Celtics, on the other hand are going to prove a lot of people wrong Tongue

Josh


Partner happiegrrrl


May 11, 2012, 10:56 AM
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Maybe the Saturday Night Live clinics will become the new version of the wine and cheese parties that used to be happening in the Uberfall...

Next weekend(2nd Saturday Night Live clinic) will be followed by what is sure to be an awesome slideshow at R&S(Russ Clune)


Partner cracklover


May 11, 2012, 1:32 PM
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What a wonderful idea. Very appropriate, and very generous.

I only fear that you'll be swamped, though.

Cheers!

GO


sween345


May 11, 2012, 2:27 PM
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In reply to:
I only fear that you'll be swamped, though.
Actually, that might be a good thing.


jvitti


May 14, 2012, 12:17 PM
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The clinic was fun to do. About fifteen people showed up, five guides, five or six long time locals and five or so new(er) climbers.

I went over what people seemed interested in and was relevant to their experience level. I talked about belaying from above, stance and rope management, strengths and weaknesses of auto-locking or plaquette style devices (ATC Guide, Gi Gi, Reverso) and the Gri Gri.

It was great to see a bunch of friends and familiar faces and to talk about some techniques that can make a leader more efficient and safe.

Thanks a million to Coppertone for sprucing up and printing 100 copies of my flier. While I appreciate everybody's suggestions about gyms that would be good spots to post the flier I have to say that the likelihood of me getting to those places anytime soon is slim to none. So, I am leaving a bunch of copies at Rock and Snow and will look to those of you that are interested to take a flier and put it up at your local gym.

I will post a note every Sunday or so in this forum with a guide and topic for the following Saturday Night Live clinic. There has been a great response to this idea, to essentially bring back the free clinics that have, at various points, been a common thing.

Next Saturday there will be a couple of guides at the Uberfall at 5:15 to talk about fixed anchors and about rappelling (rope management, tethers, back ups, saddlebags, tag lines, EDK; Awesome!)

See you there.


wonderwoman


May 14, 2012, 1:32 PM
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Congrats on a great turnout, and thanks again for your generosity!


blueeyedclimber


May 15, 2012, 9:07 AM
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We climbed til just about dark, so we didn't make it over there. I was starving and wanted to catch the Celtics game at Bacchus. Glad to hear it went well.

Josh


jvitti


May 21, 2012, 5:10 AM
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Saturday's clinic on rappelling was off to a good start when a woman came running down the carriage road shouting that someone had fallen. Several of us raced down to the base of Belly Roll to find some people attending to a woman who had rappelled off the end of the rope, the ends of which swayed slightly ten feet above.

The climber was likely not injured too severely and with help from a bunch of people Preserve rangers got her on a backboard, into a litter and out to a waiting ambulance pretty fast.

This incident provided an unfortunate exclamation point for my opening to the clinic; KNOT THE ENDS OF THE ROPE WHEN RAPPELLING.

Thanks to everyone who attended the clinic and especially to Jason Hurwitz from EMS who stayed and talked about anchor building with an interested person after I had to leave (to see my daughter's dance performance). We will be sure to come back to this subject of rappelling safety and efficiency again over the course of this season's clinics.

Saturday the 26th, Matt Shove from Ragged Mt. Guides will be giving the clinic and will cover anchor building. Meet below Ken's Crack in the Uberfall at 5.

Cheers, Joe.


Partner rgold


May 22, 2012, 2:39 PM
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Some climbers who knot their ropes don't have enough stuff with them to extricate themselves if they end up dangling in space with the knots jammed in their rappel device. In a place like the Trapps, this would just be an amusing epic, since there will be plenty of parties around to help out. But in a remote setting, it can be a serious problem.

So if we're going to recommend knotting the ends of ropes on rappel, there should also be a codicil: know what to do if the system is actually invoked.


(This post was edited by rgold on May 22, 2012, 6:21 PM)


TradEddie


May 22, 2012, 6:25 PM
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rgold wrote:
Some climbers who knot their ropes don't have enough stuff with them to extricate themselves if they end up dangling in space with the knots jammed in their rappel device. In a place like the Trapps, this would just be an amusing epic, since there will be plenty of parties around to help out. But in a remote setting, it can be a serious problem.

Can't think of many situations where I'd prefer to accidentally rap off the ends over getting stuck, or how any climber in a remote setting wouldn't have at least a shoelace.

On the other hand, to be left hanging for the amusement of everyone on the carriage road could seem worse than a helicopter ride...

TE


billcoe_


May 22, 2012, 7:46 PM
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Saturday Night Live; Free clinics in the Gunks. [In reply to]
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I saw the "free clinic" and my brain shut off thinking "WHHOO HOOO" I'm finally getting that pesky drip fixed fer cheap!! Then I finished reading it. Different thing. *cough* Good on you folks for getting on the important stuff. The lives you save will make a difference.


Partner happiegrrrl


May 23, 2012, 11:04 AM
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rgold wrote:
So if we're going to recommend knotting the ends of ropes on rappel, there should also be a codicil: know what to do if the system is actually invoked.


Good point. Take a look at the harnesses of people next time out at the crag, and see the number who have prussiks. So many people have absolutely no clue who to ascend a rope. And, just knowing how is a bit different than actually having done so and realizing just how much of an effort can be involved, depending on the situation.

I have to admit I have quite a bit of experience in prussiking, but I'd rather say that than be like so many others I have seen, dangling in space and finding that they've "fallen and can't get up."

I don't "always knot ends" and I am actually against supporting that blanket statement. Saying "Always do this" seems to me just one way of reducing the acceptance of responsibility for our selves.

The only "always do this" I can think of, when it comes to rappelling is "always pay attention to your set-up and rope!"


shockabuku


May 23, 2012, 11:26 AM
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Maybe the take-away should be something like - Always consider how you will prevent yourself from rappelling off the end(s) of your rope. With options: ...

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