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A group practicing guide-client rescue on the first pitch of Thin Air, on Sunday 4/28/13. (Sorry for the blurry picture, it's 5 guides on anchor, and 2 guides playing tired/exhausted 'clients' on rope below) <br />Not the time or the place?

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 19, 2014
By Mike McLean
Apr 29, 2013

Agreed ...

By MLevine
From: Nashua, NH
Apr 30, 2013

On a Sunday....wow

By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
May 1, 2013

Another way to look at it though: Why would they have any less right to use the route than anyone else and arguably for a good cause? If you were waiting to get on it, how long do you think you would wait if there were 4 normal teams before you? People are so lazy to walk a little bit to get to other great climbs or try something new, so some get over used and other great ones get re-covered in vegetation. Then 95% of the people who bitch and moan won't lift a finger to help keep routes clean, or re-equip. Sure, it can be annoying to have to wait, but get there first and you won't have to.

By joshua corbett
From: Wolfeboro NH
May 1, 2013

I agree With you Mark

By john strand
From: southern colo
May 1, 2013

The herd instinct applies to guides as well. This group could easy have moved 100' right and used the face below Standard route.

By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
May 1, 2013

While I do agree with you Mark that they have every right to be there. I also think they should have used better discretion when picking the route. Using the first pitch of one of the most popular climbs at Cathedral for their lesson probably wasn't the best choice. Could you imagine the outrage at Rumney if a rappelling lesson was taught on Underdog on a weekend?

By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
May 1, 2013

Agree. I wouldn't have picked that route for the lesson unless there is some particularity of it they needed (can't think of any), but I think outrage can be overdone. I wonder how long they were actually on the route? With lessons there may be time constraints and a easily accessible route would be needed. I just think a little slack should be cut if they aren't hogging the routes all the time. If it is actively being used and ropes aren't just hanging there, relax. Like 'em or not, guides are often very active in the community and put a lot of time into new routing, upkeep and rescue.

By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
May 1, 2013

Couldn't agree with you more!

By jim.dangle
May 1, 2013

Quote: "Like 'em or not, guides are often very active in the community and put a lot of time into new routing, upkeep and rescue."

I agree, Mark, but isn't that precisely why they shouldn't be doing it? Guides should be held to a higher standard than regular climbers. It's their responsibility to look out for the community and for the most part they do a pretty good job.

This is pretty poor form in book.

Jim

P.S. I heard there was some related monkey business going on Upper Refuse around this time too.

By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
May 1, 2013

I am a guide and when i am out doing my thing i make a point to teach my clients that it is bad form to hog crags or routes... respect for other climbers is built in to the lesson... so we do a little more hiking... we avoid putting up so many ropes that it annoys other climbers in the area... i will withhold judgement of this scene since i have no perspective on it... but i can say that if i was teaching a similar lesson on a weekend i would explain that it is good ethics to avoid clogging popular routes and that our lesson would take a little longer due to having to find another location and perhaps a trickier set up... Letting them know that it is the price we pay to be polite to our fellow climbers... again, i can't judge this scene from one photo, just putting in my 2 cents on the general topic...

Jim, i for one volunteer to be held to a higher standard and i think others should do the same...

By john strand
From: southern colo
May 1, 2013

good comments.. i agree.. route hogging is poor form and maybe guide should advise about options..

Nice job lee.

By john strand
From: southern colo
May 1, 2013

I'm tired too. A , great easy route is the first 2-3 pitches of Diagonal, perfect rock, easy, like 5,5 and a big , hair ball rap off

By Brendan Blanchard
From: Strafford, NH
May 3, 2013

Mark, I wouldn't say I was outraged, more disappointed. My partner and I had just finished Sliding Board, and headed to Cathedral to round out our day. I wanted to take him up Thin Air or Rapid Transit, but instead we did the Saigons.

The group was there when we got there, and packed up and left about an hour later, so they may have been there for 2 or more hours, someone else could tell you better than I could.

I posted the picture mostly for opinions, and overall it's about what I expected. My overall say on the matter is I wouldn't have gone up to them and told them they had no right to do this, but I also think they could have thought out their choice and the consequences a lot more.

By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
May 3, 2013

well reasoned...

By john strand
From: southern colo
May 3, 2013

Good comment s brandon

By chris magness
May 3, 2013

While not an ideal location for a Saturday, that area of the Thin Air face is commonly used for top rope groups and self rescue work, the face is littered with horizontals.

The anchor at the end of the first pitch appears to have been left open and there are a myriad of different starts. When you bump into this scenario again (and you will) simply climb around; there are options of 5.6 to 5.8 that will always be available if groups are working to the left of the first pitch anchor. If none of those lines are appealing to you, ask to climb through. Most guides will make an effort to accommodate recreational climbers.

By mbakerwh
From: Gallup, NM
Nov 20, 2013

Hi all--

I want to add some perspective to this scene. I am the climber farthest right on the wall, blue jacket and orange BD helmet. This is a photo of a Single Pitch Instructor course from spring of last year (as the original dates say). I was unaware of this or I would have commented sooner; Hopefully I can clear some things up for you. We were working on mock guiding this day and chose this pitch as it had several moderate leads for some of our course-members to practice leading on. Since two folks can lead simultaneously on 5.6 or lower terrain to the same anchor ledge, it makes a lot of sense for a course to be working. Additionally, after the initial leads were done, we built separate trad gear anchors next to the "fixed" anchor of three bongs driven into the crack. In no way were we stopping anyone from climbing past us or even belaying from this anchor. Furthermore, on Thin Air, it's easy and perhaps even standard to link the first two pitches of the climb, eliminating a further crowded ledge. At least three parties climbed past us in the time that we were there. Brandon, I apologize that you felt you couldn't climb the route; if you had simply asked, or mentioned that you were looking to get on it, we would have made it clear you were welcome to do so. The reason we weren't below Standard is because that lead is more challenging and, for the course members who weren't comfortable leading 5.8, this pitch made a lot more sense. The requirement for a SPI is comfort leading 5.6 trad climbs--Asking course members to lead higher, without that comfort or experience doing so would have been irresponsible of our instructor that day in my opinion.

Furthermore, I take issue with the principle of the complaint. If it weren't for mountain guides, and particularly for guiding courses, certifications, etc, our sport would have a heck of a lot less credibility with the general public. I think instead of berating mountain guides, particularly those who are being conscious and careful about where they climb and those who make sure it's possible to climb past/through a lesson easily, the climbing community should support guides and encourage more folks to get into our niche sport. The course instructor for this course has been guiding in the whites since the 90s, developing new routes (rock, alpine, ice, all the good stuffs), and been an active and vocal advocate for the guiding community. The guide school (IMCS) has also been that in the North Conway area for a long time. The guide, as many of the instructors at IMCS are, is also a member of the MRS. Before berating guides for using certain areas, check on who they are, what they're up to, ask them why they chose that spot--They might have a really good answer. And remember--They might be the one picking you off a cliff someday if something goes wrong.

I hope this clarifies the situation to some degree.

--Matt

P.S. Jim, any monkey business on Upper Refuse would have been completely unrelated.

By Jay Knower
Administrator
From: Campton, NH
Nov 20, 2013

Hi Matt. I appreciate your thorough and well-reasoned response. I wonder, however, why the requirement for the instructor course is 5.6. It seems to me, that by having the requirement be 5.6, you're really narrowing your options on the cliff. And most of the pitches 5.6 and below tend to be really crowded anyway, which makes issues such as this more likely.

By Clint Valentine
From: Boston, MA
Nov 20, 2013

Jay, probably a comment for the AMGA SPI program. I don't think you will find an answer on MP.

amga.com/single-pitch-instructor/

Click prerequisites for the assessment.

By Jay Knower
Administrator
From: Campton, NH
Nov 20, 2013

Thanks Clint. The link is informative, but it doesn't explain the reasoning. But you're right--I'll probably have to contact the AMGA for an answer. Seems a bit weird to me. If I hired a guide, I'd want him/her to be comfortable on a lot of rock, not just 5.6 and below.

By Alex Madden
Nov 20, 2013

Well its only the first step in a long process to get cerified as a guide, the more advanced courses have higher requirements...

Anyhow, I second Matt's explaination as I'm down there in the blue puffy...just remember guys, things aren't always what they seem and some friendly conversation could never hurt in a situation like this. Sure at first glance we seem like assholes; next time just ask to pass and you'll likely be met with a smile.

By Jay Knower
Administrator
From: Campton, NH
Nov 20, 2013

Alex Madden wrote:
Well its only the first step in a long process to get cerified as a guide, the more advanced courses have higher requirements...


Good to know :)

By chris magness
Nov 22, 2013

The Single Pitch Instructor certification is just that, a guide certification for single pitch climbing which replaced the Toprope Site Manager Certification.

The SPI was an effort to strengthen and further standardize the old cert, which had no leading requirement. By requiring leads harder than 5.6, many capable climbers would be eliminated from eligibility-- a thorough knowledge of gear is necessary in some toprope scenarios, and perhaps a lead as a demo or cliff top access. Thus the requirement. The course is comprised of 3 days of instruction and a 2 day test, anyone who completes it is more than capable of safe toprope set-up, basic self rescue, and good client care.

The Rock Guide and Rock Instructor certs have stricter lead criteria, but are also much more involved and far more expensive and serve a much different purpose. The SPI is a stepping stool for some, and all that's needed for others. And it's worked: look at the standardization of bomber toprope setups that happen now with the widespread usage of static line versus webbing.

By Scott Brown
3 days ago

Hey all,

I'm also in this photo(behind matt). And I vividly remember our instructor yelling down to passing climbers(some who probably weren't even trying to get on thin air) to come on up, and we shouldn't be in there way if they wanted to climb. like matt said, we were left of the bong anchor by quite a bit. Doesn't seem like Hogging at all.

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A group practicing guide-client rescue on the first pitch of Thin Air, on Sunday 4/28/13. (Sorry for the blurry picture, it's 5 guides on anchor, and 2 guides playing tired/exhausted 'clients' on rope below)
Not the time or the place?

Submitted By: Brendan Blanchard on Apr 29, 2013
On this route:
Thin Air (5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b )