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bearbreeder


Sep 3, 2012, 9:12 AM
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rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor
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http://bangordailynews.com/...g-60-feet-in-acadia/


A local rock-climbing instructor was hospitalized Wednesday after falling about 60 feet while rappelling from a cliff on Champlain Mountain.



billl7


Sep 3, 2012, 9:30 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
http://bangordailynews.com/...g-60-feet-in-acadia/


A local rock-climbing instructor was hospitalized Wednesday after falling about 60 feet while rappelling from a cliff on Champlain Mountain.
Best wishes to the fellow and those close to him.

Not one of us is immune.

Bill L


Bats


Sep 3, 2012, 4:55 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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I hope for a quick recovery.
I would like more details...I know the details will come out eventually.


wivanoff


Sep 3, 2012, 6:28 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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Ouch. Hope he's ok and was not with a client at the time. I think I met him a few weeks ago when we were in Acadia.


majid_sabet


Sep 3, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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Sterba is certified by the American Mountain Guide Association as a single-pitch climbing instructor, which means hes certified to teach rock climbing to novices. Hes also certified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education


wivanoff


Jan 2, 2013, 11:12 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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Anyone ever hear any details about this? What happened? What route? Was a client involved?


pyramid


Feb 3, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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The AMGA is so over-rated, all you need is to take and pass your single pitch toprope course and then you can take clients out toproping. I live in an AMGA infested town, and most are a joke.


socalclimber


Feb 3, 2013, 8:21 PM
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Re: [pyramid] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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pyramid wrote:
The AMGA is so over-rated, all you need is to take and pass your single pitch toprope course and then you can take clients out toproping. I live in an AMGA infested town, and most are a joke.

Here here! I do as well. Certifications have replaced qualifications. Now we have the PCGI, another miserable example of incompetence. What a great idea, let's just keep lowering the bar.

The AMGA is the worst though, boy do "their" guides think oh so highly of themselves. You can teach and learn all the fancy rope tricks you want. But YOU CANNOT TEACH PEOPLE HOW TEACH AND INTERACT WITH THEIR CLIENTS.

It's a joke.


bearbreeder


Feb 3, 2013, 11:40 PM
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Re: [socalclimber] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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mmmm ... we could say the same about RC "experts" Wink

id take any of the local guides up here over most RCers ...


yodadave


Feb 4, 2013, 12:01 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
The AMGA is the worst though

Maybe you forgot that the Boyscouts also have a "qualification"

Also for my part when i took an SPI course the instructor did make a strong emphasis on learning and teaching.


socalclimber


Feb 4, 2013, 1:52 AM
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God our school does tons of boy scout troops. A lot of the southern cal BS troops have given up on doing their own "guiding". We did have to get "Climbing Merit Badge" certified though. It was a worthless 10 minute video on how not to molest children, then a cute little presentation and "test" on climbing safety based on their standards.

Two of the five guides in our school took the very first AMGA class ever offered. Believe me, I know the curriculum. My biggest problem with the SPI course is that they will certify anyone. I know a number of people who got the cert that have no business guiding anyone based on pure lack of experience. It's become nothing more than a cash cow. $800 plus for a bunch of stuff you should already know how to do before you even consider guiding as a career or job.

We have 5 guides in our school. Between the five of us, we have over 170 years of climbing experience under our belts. I'm the young pup of the group and I'm just about to hit 50. Our senior guide has 35 years of guiding including senior guide for YMS, multiple major guide books he's authored, first ascents all over Yosemite, Joshua Tree and other areas. Another one of our guides has done more El Cap routes than any living person mashed in with about 20+ years of guide time, including first ascents all over Yosemite Joshua Tree etc.

I've only been guiding 10 years, and seriously for the last 5. Whenever I work in a group with any of these guys (meaning not a day when I'm doing privates), I learn something from them. Hell they all have been guiding longer than I have been climbing, and I've got over 20 years of climbing under my belt, and over 500 first ascents in Joshua Tree.

Three of us all have advanced wilderness medical training, and SAR backgrounds as well.

There is no AMGA class on the planet I could take that would teach more than I can learn from these guys. We have a picky bunch with this school when it comes to guides. Our boss just doesn't hire anyone. Our core teams is experienced, professional, and capable.

Keep your secret AMGA decoder rings. I want no part of it.


socalclimber


Feb 4, 2013, 2:26 AM
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bearbreeder wrote:
mmmm ... we could say the same about RC "experts" Wink

id take any of the local guides up here over most RCers ...

That's the truth!


socalclimber


Feb 4, 2013, 3:07 AM
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Re: [yodadave] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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yodadave wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
The AMGA is the worst though

Maybe you forgot that the Boyscouts also have a "qualification"

Also for my part when i took an SPI course the instructor did make a strong emphasis on learning and teaching.

I think you're missing the point. You cannot teach someone how to teach. You can certainly give guidelines and recommendations, but you cannot teach someone how to teach.

Think back on your days in school. There are always teachers who were hard asses, or awkward, who just didn't do their job well. They didn't interact with the students well, they struggled or outright used heavy handed tactics to enforce their rule over students. That's not teaching. These people had degrees and certifications to do a job they just were no good at.

I'm sure most people have had a teacher from their past who was just a natural. They were hell bent on making sure every student got at least some attention and that the material was presented in a manner and fashion that motivated you to do your best. Learning was fun.

We had a guide for a short time at our school who could climb hard, but he was a horrible guide. On one particular day in a large group he was pressuring the clients to the point where people were getting pissed at him. "Is that how you want to live your life, giving up?". He didn't last long.

There is no class or course you can take that will teach you how to teach.


colatownkid


Feb 4, 2013, 7:32 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
yodadave wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
The AMGA is the worst though

Maybe you forgot that the Boyscouts also have a "qualification"

Also for my part when i took an SPI course the instructor did make a strong emphasis on learning and teaching.

I think you're missing the point. You cannot teach someone how to teach. You can certainly give guidelines and recommendations, but you cannot teach someone how to teach.

Think back on your days in school. There are always teachers who were hard asses, or awkward, who just didn't do their job well. They didn't interact with the students well, they struggled or outright used heavy handed tactics to enforce their rule over students. That's not teaching. These people had degrees and certifications to do a job they just were no good at.

I'm sure most people have had a teacher from their past who was just a natural. They were hell bent on making sure every student got at least some attention and that the material was presented in a manner and fashion that motivated you to do your best. Learning was fun.

We had a guide for a short time at our school who could climb hard, but he was a horrible guide. On one particular day in a large group he was pressuring the clients to the point where people were getting pissed at him. "Is that how you want to live your life, giving up?". He didn't last long.

There is no class or course you can take that will teach you how to teach.

I'll start with a disclaimer:
I'm not out to start a flame war, and this will probably be a one-and-done post. However, as an AMGA member working my way through the programs, I feel the need to represent the other side of this discussion as objectively as possible.

First, I'll address the issues with the perceived inadequacy of the Single Pitch Instructor program. I willingly admit that the program is not perfect and that there are certainly students who pass their exam while not necessarily demonstrating the most exemplary skills. Like any examination process, this is certainly possible. However, the current failure rate on the SPI exam is around 40% at the last count. To me, this indicates that those candidates who truly are woefully unprepared are not passing the assessment. My personal experience also bears this out, having known many potential candidates and shadowed/assisted on exams--it's usually obvious who does and does not know what they're doing.

Second, I think the notion of "experience" and the fallacy that it necessarily retains a causal link to expertise should be examined. For example, I could be a very experienced driver of cars, who lives in Florida. I could drive for 20 years and never get in a wreck. But put me on a gravel road in a little bit of snow and I might fishtail and careen into a ditch almost immediately. My 20 years of experience and perfect driving record did nothing to prepare me for this because it only included a very specific subset of skills not directly related to the task at hand. My particular, individual experience was not up to par for a new and different task. You can apply similar arguments to why I might choose not to wear a seat belt, too--I heard about this person who survived only because the were ejected in a car crash. Possible, but in the vast majority of cases, ejection makes death and injury far more likely. There just might not be a causal relationship between experience and what's actually likely.

A similar argument applies to decades of experience in rock climbing at Joshua Tree and Yosemite. Don't misunderstand me--I am certain that there is a correlation between putting up over 500 first ascents and one's ability to climb safely, efficiently, and over difficult rock terrain. And certainly there is a correlation between this climbing ability and one's ability to guide safely and successfully. However, that correlation is not necessarily particularly strong. Simply because one climbs hard or puts up first ascents does not make one a good guide. Case in point:

socalclimber wrote:
We had a guide for a short time at our school who could climb hard, but he was a horrible guide

Indeed, I can think of at least a half-dozen examples of climbers with 20 or more years of experience who brought me up a pitch belaying me directly off their waist using an ATC while clipped into a single cam anchor with a dyneema sling girth hitched to their belay loop. Certainly, this is one way to solve the problem of belaying from the top, but without exception there were more appropriate and safer methods that could have been employed had that climber known of their existence. In almost every guiding context I can think of, belaying in this manner is not the best choice. However, these were experienced climbers. Unfortunately, this type of climbing experience does not necessarily translate to guiding expertise. I would be more impressed by guides with years of guiding experience than climbing experience in most cases.

I also think the premise on teaching is somewhat flawed:

socalclimber wrote:
You cannot teach someone how to teach.

If this belief is held without equivocation or any appeal to reason, than my whole argument is moot since I can't convince someone who's already made up their mind and not open to alternative view points. I'll continue on the assumption that anyone reading this is open to considering both sides of the argument.

There are entire degree programs (anything at a post-secondary or post-graduate level with "education" in the title) based on the very premise that you can in fact teach someone how to be a better teacher. There are certainly those individuals who are naturally better teachers from the outset due to some innate combination of personal qualities to be sure, and there are those who receive training but are still poor educators. However, somewhere in the middle ground are those people whose teaching abilities did actually improve to some degree as a result of being taught how to be a better teacher.

I would argue that any individual capable of learning and a little self-examination who chooses to do so can become a better teacher by being taught by others how to be a better teacher and then practicing their craft. To say otherwise would be like proposing that it is impossible to teach anyone to be a better climber. There are those with innate predispositions that make them better or worse climbers, but teach someone how to hand jam or flag a foot and I assure you that if they choose to engage in their own learning, they can take that new-found skill and apply it more successfully than before they were aware of it.

To address you directly, socalclimber, I think the bigger heart of the issue is your purported but implicit direct connection between guiding and teaching. I agree that a good guide is also a good teacher; to propose otherwise would be disingenuous and misinformed. The best guides I know have a stellar combination of people skills, teaching ability, technical prowess, and climbing mastery. You are correct--better teachers make better guides.

However, I take exception to the notion that all the AMGA teaches are "fancy rope tricks." For starters, nearly every "fancy rope trick" I've learned from the AMGA has been an exceptionally practical and useful technique to manage guide security, client risk, or client care/reward for terrain that is otherwise challenge to assess/manage. A technically adept guide with good teaching skills will, in my opinion, nearly always be a better guide than a barely technically competent guide with good teaching skills because they are safer and more efficient. If one can lead or rig a climb more efficiently, that means less time spent away from the client and more time spent teaching them. If one can bail out from a climb in inclement weather more efficiently, that means more time spent on the ground in an alcove sheltered from the weather in a potentially safer or more conducive learning environment and less time spent being sopping wet, cold, and miserable on the wall in an inefficient retreat.

What the AMGA teaches are a variety of technical skills to be applied to the greatest effect across a variety of situations with the intent that mastery of these skills mean that safety and efficiency are taken as a given. Therefore, all of the guide's energy can be devoted to client care, client learning, and client reward because they barely have to think about their technical skills anymore because they're so dialed. Anyone who has ever passed an AMGA assessment can attest to the fact that the amount of work and dedication that goes in to honing one's craft in preparation for the examination truly helps one to become a better guide. I know that my exam prep has forced me to work on my weaknesses and made me a better guide. So, while teaching is not the major emphasis in AMGA courses/exams, it is absolutely addressed as part of the curriculum and plays a role in the greater scope of good guiding skills.

In response to:

socalclimber wrote:
There is no AMGA class on the planet I could take that would teach more than I can learn from these guys.

That may very well be true for you. I would argue that for me and many others, that is not true at all. The members of the AMGA instructor pool are almost without exception internationally-certified IFMGA guides. Since the AMGA is a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations, the AMGA curriculum comes from centuries (literally hundreds of years) of distilled knowledge from mountain guides all over the planet where guiding has been a profession since the late 1700s. The AMGA instructors guide Chamonix, Alaska, and Aconcagua and put up first ascents in the Himalaya and Patagonia. I learn a lot just by being in the same room as these people, let alone taking courses from them. They are truly experts in their fields with experience spanning decades around the globe on rock, ice, and snow. While I am sure that I have much to learn from a seasoned J-Tree guide, I am also sure I have much to learn from a seasoned IFMGA guide.

Finally, to conclude, I would ask that we not pick on Single Pitch Instructors. Bear in mind that a newly-minted SPI has just passed the first level of their guiding certification. They are inherently brand new guides. Now, they certainly worked hard to pass their exam and may feel more pride than they should, and I think there is something to be said about the AMGA's potential role in propagating unwarranted hubris. But, when looking at guiding "experts," we would not look to a brand-new guide who's only been at the job for a year or two, right? The assumption that the SPI is the logical conclusion of one's guiding education is fundamentally flawed. There will certainly be Single Pitch Instructors out there with much to learn because, like any new guide, there is much for them to learn. I don't think it's fair to characterize the entire AMGA based on the actions of its greenest members. Nor do I think it is fair to diminish or dismiss an SPI because of their AMGA credential--they may very well have worked hard to achieve that level of expertise at that point in their career. To do so would be like making fun of an 18 year old for not having a PhD yet when they're just excited that they managed to graduate high school.


sandstone


Feb 4, 2013, 7:59 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
... boy scout troops.. We did have to get "Climbing Merit Badge" certified though. It was a worthless 10 minute video on how not to molest children, then a cute little presentation and "test" on climbing safety based on their standards....

So you're telling us they have minimum standards for youth protection and climbing safety, and required you to know what those were before you were turned loose with the youth?


bearbreeder


Feb 4, 2013, 9:45 AM
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socalclimber wrote:

We had a guide for a short time at our school who could climb hard, but he was a horrible guide. On one particular day in a large group he was pressuring the clients to the point where people were getting pissed at him. "Is that how you want to live your life, giving up?". He didn't last long.

id make a horrible guide ... because i tell my fellow climbers teh unvarnished truth

"what you wanna top rope moderates? ... if yr gonna top rope, at least be a tough guy !!!"

"you dont want to lead? ... well im not going to drag yourself up the chief"

"why the hell are you taking every bolt ... its an effing clean fall ... no more takes once you get half way up!!!"

"why the hell are you screaming louder than that screaming newbie gurl whos climbing harder than you"

"give up? ... you have even effing tried ... at least take the top rope fall"

"why the hell are you yapping about equalettes, dyneema, crossloaded belay biners when you only climb a few times a year and have no real experience ... you think 2 draws are dangerous? ... go to the local gym and see what they use at the top"

"just because you learned it from RC from some self proclaimed expert, doesnt mean its any good"

yup ... id make an AWFUL guide Wink


yodadave


Feb 4, 2013, 8:45 PM
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socalclimber wrote:
yodadave wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
The AMGA is the worst though

Maybe you forgot that the Boyscouts also have a "qualification"

Also for my part when i took an SPI course the instructor did make a strong emphasis on learning and teaching.

I think you're missing the point. You cannot teach someone how to teach. You can certainly give guidelines and recommendations, but you cannot teach someone how to teach.

no point missed, i was simply giving an anecdotal account of one SPI course by one guide. I agree you can't teach someone to be a good teacher. I do think that you can help people see their limitations and let them decide what to do with that.


socalclimber


Feb 5, 2013, 4:51 AM
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Re: [sandstone] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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sandstone wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
... boy scout troops.. We did have to get "Climbing Merit Badge" certified though. It was a worthless 10 minute video on how not to molest children, then a cute little presentation and "test" on climbing safety based on their standards....

So you're telling us they have minimum standards for youth protection and climbing safety, and required you to know what those were before you were turned loose with the youth?

At least in So Cal, they have some pretty low standards for "their" guides. A lot of BS troops have someone who does it for free. We get kids who have been taught to use a carabiner and a figure 8 to tie in with. That's just the beginning. Which of course is our job to correct. The reason we need to have that "cert" is so we can sign off on their blue card for their merit badge. There is a "national" standard on their website in terms of requirements for the merit badge. You have to realize that the boy scouts rely heavily on the parents for instruction and guidance to the scouts. It appears that the climbing side is now moving more towards professional guides than some friend of of someone to take the kids out for a day of climbing.

You have no idea of the horror shows I have witnessed out here with boy scout volunteer guides. Kids all over the tops of formations with very little "safe" places to sit while they learn to rap without any kind of back up. No fireman's belay, no top belay, jumping marine style down the face etc.

It is what is.


socalclimber


Feb 5, 2013, 6:11 AM
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You can try to sell me your rhetoric all you wish. I've heard it all before.

Of the 40% failure rate, from what I've seen, you have at least an additional %30 rate of certifying people who still have no where near the experience they need to guide.

My mind is plenty open as long as it makes sense. Your SPI program does not. I witnessed more than my fair share of your SPI folk running loose out here who have no business on their own.

How about this, take away the instructor side of the SPI. Call it the SPA (Single Pitch Apprentice). Then add a second layer that requires people to work for a guide service under close scrutiny where they are always being supervised. After that, then the next level comes.

Of the many problems I see with the process is that on any given day you have no idea what you are going to do with a client. You have to be able to make that decision on the fly based on your observations of your client. For all you know you may end up doing a multi pitch route with them. I certainly deal with that on a regular basis.

I just think the AMGA process is flawed in many ways. You cannot certify "guides" for "this activity only". It's just not realistic.

I'm not interested in a flame war either. I'm just telling you outright what I have witnessed from this particular course. It's a joke. People are being lead to believe they are ready for something they clearly are not. If your idea of success is that %15 to %20 percent of your "graduates" are ready, then you have set the bar far to low.

The multi pitch cert is a very different story. It's the SPI course where I have my problems.

I've made my points. I'm not interested in a 500 page discussion on the topic. I have very valid points. Maybe you should open your mind and recognize what it is I'm trying to tell you.

Your process is seriously flawed (meaning the AMGA).


jmeizis


Feb 5, 2013, 10:20 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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I think something that often gets missed is the fact that the AMGA certifies guides to a minimum standard. In the same way the bar and board certifications are meant to make sure that a lawyer or doctor has the minimum skills to enter that profession. For an SPI certification that is relatively low because the intention is to encourage certification and give guidelines for a minimal level of client interaction.

Employers have to enforce those standards and guidelines for them to work. Some are better at this than others. It doesn't help that AMGA standards are only semi-recognized industry standards whereas a bar certification is a widely accepted legal standard.

Whether people like the AMGA or not I think most people would agree that there should be some minimum standard for people to be able to call themselves a guide. Despite this there is no such standard in this country. Anyone, even someone who doesn't climb or just went to the gym once can call themselves a guide. I'm not exaggerating.

Most people wouldn't hire a lawyer that hasn't passed their bar but passing the bar doesn't automatically make someone Johnnie Cochran. Being good at anything requires a building of skills and experience and what the AMGA does is try to make sure that people have a minimum set of skills and experience and gives people guidelines on what terrain they should guide in. If an employer doesn't require those standards or doesn't enforce those terrain guidelines that is their perogative.

When I started "guiding" my employer didn't care that I took an SPI course they just wanted to make sure I could climb but I would say I was very unprepared for what they had me doing. Looking back I do not believe I met a minimum standard for what I was doing. Of course you learn from mistakes so in the long run it's worked out but it's on the employer to make sure that their employees can handle what they're doing. I think it's unfair to blame the AMGA for not doing the job that individual employers should be doing.

Blaming the AMGA because an SPI acts outside of their skill level is like blaming the board certification because a hospital let a med student do triple bypass surgery and killed the patient.

I agree with the apprentice idea but until their is a widely accepted legal standard the market will decide what standards there are and right now their are none.

Condolences to the guy from ACS, hope he recovers well and is willing to post some details.


yodadave


Feb 5, 2013, 11:17 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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Some really good points SoCal,

I agree that an apprenticeship component is vital to figuring out if you can truly call yourself an Instructor.

However if you look at the BMCs SPA qualification you will see that even that component is not a solve all.

The sad truth is that no matter how high the quality of a qualification is there will be people capable of obtaining it who should not practice whatever they are "qualified" in. This is true of Drs, Vets, Lawyers, Teachers, etc


wivanoff


Feb 6, 2013, 7:14 AM
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Re: [yodadave] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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So, no one knows anything about this accident? <crickets.wav>


pyramid


Feb 9, 2013, 7:25 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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I find it hilarious that the AMGA guide comes up with this huge dissertation to defend their position, these guides are attempting to make their work seem complicated with fancy terminology and create confusion, much like lawyers and doctors have done to their professions. Thus creating a need for their services. I in fact know and have known past presidents of the AMGA and we have discussed the policies of the AMGA for years. The AMGA makes money by signing up people to take their courses, it is in their immediate interests to have loads of students paying huge prices. Soon many 'guides' will not be able to find work because there will be a glut of guides in this country, seems like everybody is a guide these days.


acorneau


Feb 9, 2013, 3:56 PM
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Re: [pyramid] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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pyramid wrote:
Soon many 'guides' will not be able to find work because there will be a glut of guides in this country, seems like everybody is a guide these days.


What do you mean "soon"?!? It's here and now.


wivanoff


Feb 9, 2013, 4:52 PM
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Re: [acorneau] rappeling accident with rock climbing instructor [In reply to]
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acorneau wrote:
pyramid wrote:
Soon many 'guides' will not be able to find work because there will be a glut of guides in this country, seems like everybody is a guide these days.
What do you mean "soon"?!? It's here and now.

Shocked Then maybe it's time to convince land owners that only AMGA/PCGI guides and their clients should be allowed to climb. For safety sake, ya know? Liability concerns and all.

Oh, and people who are "approved" by AMGA/PCGI could climb, too. (Approval available by testing and for a small fee). That would be OK. Maybe the AMC could help with how to implement this?







/me wonders if anyone will take this post seriously..

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