A participant in a Los Alamos Mountaineers Climbing School in the 2010s. Photo Courtesy LAM
BY BILL PRIEDHORSKY
Los Alamos Mountaineers
The Mountaineers are thrilled to bring back a full, month-long climbing school, for the first time since 2017. For decades, the school was a significant event for the community and the club, and brought one generation after another to the sport of rock climbing. The school will be put on in conjunction with Mountain Skills Rock Climbing Adventures of Taos. Details can be found on the climbing school page, https://lamountaineers.org/drupal7/node/1169.
Mountain Skills, supported by Mountaineers volunteers, will teach rock climbing with a safety first attitude, including movement on rock, belaying, rappelling, cleaning protective gear, and removing anchors, with extensive on-rock practice. The course book will be “How To Rock Climb” by John Long and Bob Gaines.The course objective is that successful students should develop the skills needed to participate in top roping, follow a leader in a multi-pitch trad climb, and be able to climb or descend moderate technical obstacles in unplanned backcountry situations using improvised gear (e.g. rope and carabiners). No previous rock climbing experience is required.
Outdoor sessions will be held at Northern New Mexico climbing areas, principally Tres Piedras; the Mountaineers encourage and will help organize car pooling. The outdoor sessions will encompass a full day (6 hours) on the Saturdays of April 1, 8, 15, and 22, with a backup date to make up any weather cancellation on April 29. There will be an evening session in Los Alamos the week of March 27 to discuss movement on rock and a few simple knots, and one the week of April 10 to discuss anchors. Participants will sign a Los Alamos Mountaineers waiver at the first session, and additional waivers as requested by Mountain Skills. Mountain Skills will provide equipment (helmets, harnesses, climbing shoes) based on the information provided by participants in their registration form.
The cost for the school will be $650; a slot in the school will be secured when (1) participants sign up online, (2) payment is received by the Mountaineers, and (3) participants sign up for Mountaineer membership, if needed. Payment may be made by check, made out to “Los Alamos Mountaineers”, mailed to LAM c/o Cecile Hemez at 1060-B 49th Street, Los Alamos, NM, 87544. The school will take place if we register at least 7 participants, and will fill at 25 participants. Payment will be refunded only if the slot can be filled by a suitable replacement. Participants will be responsible for obtaining their own copy of the course book (http://falcon.com/books/9781493056255). Registration will close on March 1.
Participants should be at least 18 years old, except that 16 or 17 year olds can take part if a parent or guardian is present at all outdoor activities, either as a fellow student or an observer. All participants should be members of the Los Alamos Mountaineers; joining the Mountaineers is easy, and can be done at https://www.lamountaineers.org/drupal7/Member_Benefits.html.
We recognize that the cost may pose an impediment to some potential participants. The Mountaineers are offering two scholarship slots to club members for whom cost poses a barrier. One scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Jan Studebaker, and the other to the memory of Don Liska and in honor of Alice Liska. For details, see the climbing school page.
The climbing school was a highlight of the Mountaineers year for decades, and the Club is excited to bring it back. Friendships made at the climbing school lasted for years, and participants went on to become Mountaineers participants and leaders. We trust that the renewed climbing school will open the door to adventures for decades to come.