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Saturday night live: Free Clinics Gunks
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By Joe Vitti
May 8, 2012
I love my job!
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.

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By Brassmonkey
May 8, 2012
Brass monkey
There is no better way to contribute than to pay it forward and help others with the knowledge you have. Thanks for volunteering your time!

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By JSH
Administrator
May 8, 2012
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker
Joe, this is just fantastic. Thank you so much for your work.

Everyone else -- if it appeals to you at all, I'd encourage you to show up & see what it's about.

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By Anthony Nguyen
From Philadelphia
May 8, 2012
Top of High Exposure
Cheers!

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
May 8, 2012
Rumney
Awesome idea Joe!!

I know I have to keep re-learning things, especially knots and alternative techniques for self-rescue because they're used so infrequently.

Recently I forgot my belay device at an anchor and didn't realize it until I topped out on the next pitch. I couldn't remember how to make a munter (I was close, one simple thing I memorized incorrectly kept tripping me up) and the hell if I could recall how to make a belay device with three biners. Thankfully there was three of us and two ropes so another climber in the party just pinky pointed their way up to me. It was very embarassing and humbling. I've been climbing for over 4 years, weekly for the last 2. I should have known.

Earlier this year I overlooked checking BOTH ends of the rope for knots, pulled the rope and got stuck on the rap anchor. Thank god it was the last rap and we were at the bottom (also lucked out with a climber being nearby who could free the rope for us).

These were both firsts, and in different circumstances could have been very problematic to resolve.

So you can never know enough, or too much. And constant vigilance!

Freedom of the Hills is required reading for all climbers. I'd suggest new climbers splurge on a copy. It's the only climbing book you really ever need to buy (we own many but really only come back to this with any frequency).

amazon.com/Mountaineering-Free...

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By tk1085
May 8, 2012
Flying high at mountain creek <br />
Hey i think this is great idea, and an awesome way to give back. I was just wondering, till what time will you be staying up there. As i am new to this sport ( 2-3 months outdoors )and know my skills could be greatly improved. I work in highland till 6. And would drive straight up if you will still be there. It would also be a way to get to know a few local faces. Tks again Tony

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
May 10, 2012
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard
I think this could use a bump. The first Saturday is this coming one, the 12th.

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By Joe Vitti
May 11, 2012
I love my job!
Thanks RG. I will be at the Uberfall by Ken's Crack at 5 this Saturday ready to talk about sound anchoring principle and anything else that people are interested in (like how do the Knicks become contenders?).

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
May 11, 2012
modern man
Joe Vitti wrote:
how do the Knicks become contenders?).


more clinics with Jeremy Lin, less Melo offense

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By Joe Vitti
May 14, 2012
I love my job!
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.

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By Joe Vitti
May 21, 2012
I love my job!
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.

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By Joe Vitti
May 28, 2012
I love my job!
Word is that this past Saturday's clinic went great. Matt Shove from Ragged Mt. Guides ran it and covered anchor building skills for top roping. Approximately sixteen people attended and I ran into an appreciative climber in the Trapps today who said it was great. Thanks Matt.

Next Saturday, June 2nd, I will cover the abbreviated territory from the 16th; rappelling. I'll go over rope management, saddle bags, tethers, backup with fireman's and friction hitches.

I'll also cover using friction hitches to ascend the rope.

Cheers, Joe.

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By gtluke
May 29, 2012
I was at the Clinic with Matt this weekend. It was fantastic, I learned a lot of cool tricks and extra safety that I didn't know. Absolutely worth the price of free!
Thanks!
-Luke

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By rogerbenton
Jun 3, 2012
Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible.
I was also able to catch the clinic with Matt on sat 5/26 and it's definitely worth being there for.

Thanks again Matt-

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Jun 3, 2012
Rumney
Truly a service to the climbing community. You guys rawk!

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By Joe Vitti
Jun 5, 2012
I love my job!
Clinic on Saturday, 6/9, will be given by Ryan Stefiuk at the Uberfall at 5:10. He'll be talking about materials, dyneema vs. nylon, when, why, where. He'll also go over rappelling tricks, rope management, etc (last Saturday cancelled cause of rain). See you there.

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By Jacq
From new york, ny
Jun 10, 2012
hi! are there any other clinics this summer?

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By Joe Vitti
Jun 10, 2012
I love my job!
There won't be a formal clinic this cing Saturday, I am away and dropped the ball about getting another guide on board. We'll get back at it on the 23rdPlease send me an email at joe@oalpineendeavors.com if you are planning to come.

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By Dave Schultz
From Everett, Washington
Jun 20, 2012
Trap Dike
anything for this coming Saturday?

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By Joe Vitti
Aug 7, 2012
I love my job!
I'll be doing a clinic at 6 this coming Saturday. The topic will be self rescue skills, belay escape, ascending the rope with friction hitches, counterbalance rappel, use of releasable knots, a "spider" and tandem rappel. These are advanced skills but please don't stay away if there are more basic skills that you are interested in, I'm happy to talk about whatever skills folks are interested in.

As always, please RSVP if you plan to come and plan to come if you RSVP (sending me a note at five on Saturday saying you won't be coming doesn't make it hurt less). I'm doing the clinic a bit later to suit folks who are out climbing for the day but I'd just as soon go home or climbing myself if folks are going to leave me hanging.

joe@alpineendeavors.com

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By rogerbenton
Aug 10, 2012
Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible.
wish i could make it up for this one.

this is such a great service, and this is a topic most all climbers could brush up on.

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By Alex Shagiev
Aug 15, 2012
Thanks for the clinic Joe. Great way to meet gunks climbers and get professional advice and all for great cause.

Scott & I practiced the rap technique you shared with us it is great! When is your next clinic on rescue, this time the dinner is on me if you fancy?

Regards,

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By Joe Vitti
Aug 18, 2012
I love my job!
There will be a clinic at six O'clock on Saturday, 9/1. I'll leave the topic open for the moment but am inclined to go back to self rescue skills.

As always please RSVP to joe@alpineendeavors.com if you are interested in coming out and come out if you RSVP.

See you out there, J.

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