Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Trad Climbing:
What are your best and worst teaching experiences?
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Trad Climbing

Premier Sponsor:

 


rokshoxbkr19


Oct 20, 2003, 6:02 PM
Post #1 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 29, 2002
Posts: 767

What are your best and worst teaching experiences?
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey everyone,
I took out dredsovrn yesterday to start schooling him on trad cimbing, anchors and the like. He did a really awesome job. I started by simply showing him my gear, and giving him some examples of good placements in this small cave area to the right of the main face at Chickies Rock. Then I expalined Cordelletes and let him set one up. It was great, because he had really read up on everything and already had a great base knowledge for learning. I lead an easy trad climb, placing a ton of gear and had him clean it. Then we toproped the climb and I had him place gear on toprope. I taught out west this summer and while I loved it, sometimes it was frustrating when people didn't have the patience for safety or really learning properly. It makes such a difference when people are open to truly learning the art of trad and all climbing aspects like Dredsovrn. What are some of your best and worst experiences when teaching climbing to others???


broce


Oct 20, 2003, 6:13 PM
Post #2 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 5, 2003
Posts: 20

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

My best and worst teaching experiences came in the gym, believe it or not.

I was in there one Saturday years ago setting a beginner's route. A couple had just finished their first lesson, and were trying to climb. She wasnt having any success, and he was being very patronizing... "Well, honey, you arent very strong, ya know...this really takes MUSCLES. Why dont you try and boulder around and I'll go climb in the cave. You wouldnt be able to do that." She looked crushed, and not a little frustrated. He walked away. I said to the woman "Hey, I have a little time, I'd be happy to belay and you give you a couple of pointers." So....I spent maybe a half hour with her, showing her how to use flexibility, footwork and balance instead of trying to do pullups on the wall. She picked it up quickly and by the time we were done she was getting up the wall pretty well. It was probably a 5.6 climb, and played to what I had taught her. Her hubby came back over, and I went back to my routesetting, keeping an eye on them. She scampered up the route. He couldnt get off the ground. He was mortified, and she was pretty damned pleased with herself. I think I taught them *both* something about climbing.

The worst experience? Teaching my teenage son to climb. I hear it's really annoying when your 45 year old mother, who walks with a cane and has screws in her leg, outclimbs you in front of teenage girls. Its even more annoying when she gives you advice on something athletic, and she turns out to be right. But Im told the most annoying thing is when you ask the cool guys who work there for advice, and they tell you to go talk to your mother :wink:


pico23


Oct 22, 2003, 12:37 AM
Post #3 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 14, 2003
Posts: 2378

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

my worst experience has been teaching my sister to clean gear while I lead a climb I could solo. I went up a climb that I typically take a first time partner on because I know it well and I can see what they know. On the ground she gave me a non chalant I got it attitude as I taught her how to clean various pieces, break down an anchor, and other things, but I knew she'd leave a piece of two in. Sure enough the first piece was stuck among other problems like me looking down and seeing her swatting bugs while i was on (actually off) belay.

It had to be 100F (or it felt like it) in the sun on that belay ledge as set up a 3 point anchor that was bomber but easy to clean. I decided to rappel off the top of the pitch but my rope turned into a huge cluster f'ck and it was really hot so I was getting frustrated ( I don't tolerate heat well). To top it off there was some other guys at the base of the climb on a desserted weekday that just had to have that climb out of the 500 climbs on the cliff. That really pissed me off because on a weekday there is ABSOLUTELY NO reason to put any pressure on anyone.

I hate climbing in crowds and having someone who is a total space case as your partner only makes things that much more stressful when there is a line waiting for the climb.

So I'm sitting at the rappel tree trying to untangle the rope after she decided that she didn't want to do the second pitch (I was hoping she wouldn't because I wanted to clean my gear that she left) in full sun sweating like a pig thinking I will NEVER EVER guide a complete novice up a lead climb again if I'm by myself. I get the rappel setup and she tells me she isn't rappeling!!! I almost lost it but she'd only rappeled a few times before so I kept my mouth shut and recoiled the rope for a lower. I'd just set the rope up for a rapel and now she wants to be lowered. Uggh.

I think the whole experience was worse because it was a blood relative but I'm certain the only rock guiding I will ever do is top roping. I have no clue as to how guides put up with stuff like that on a daily basis.


Partner tradman


Oct 22, 2003, 4:59 AM
Post #4 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 14, 2003
Posts: 7159

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Couldn't agree more with your comments rokshoxbkr19.

I think teaching's kind of a necessary evil for most amateur climbers - so there's nothing better than taking someone up who's been cruising rc.com for info and is really open to learning.

My best teaching experience was with my mate Ricy, who asked me to take him up his first winter climb. When we got there, he not only had all the gear he needed picked out, it turned out he'd been out running round the park three nights a week for the last month to boost his cv fitness, as well as reading every website and book he could get his hands on! He then followed every instruction I gave him to the letter without hesitation and copied perfectly all my axe and crampon techniques without being asked.

End result? A really enjoyable, really safe day on a low-grade climb and a new partner who I'm looking forward to climbing with this winter. Nice.


totigers


Oct 22, 2003, 7:32 AM
Post #5 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 30, 2002
Posts: 257

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'll keep this short. Best, watching my daughters climb as they were growing up. A few head aches but very fun to watch.
Worst, I took my cousin out for his first time and we did some easy stuff in Joshua Tree. I was collecting gear and getting set up to do another climb when I turned to see him free soloing a 200' rock. What could I do then? Just grab the camcorder and start filming so I could prove to his parents that the reason he's splattered all over some rocks was not my fault. But he made it to the top and jumped from boulder to boulder down the back side like a billygoat.
Now the video, I had to put music to it to hide all my cursing.


robmcc


Oct 22, 2003, 7:38 AM
Post #6 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 2176

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Best? Don't remember. It's been a loooong time.

Worst? A 20ish me, accustomed to climbing with a rather testosterone heavy group, took my then gf climbing. The methods my partners and I used to motivate each other, not surprisingly, were less than effective, and in fact, she was having a pretty miserable time there for a while until some guy with a clue (not me), soloed up to her, barefoot no less, and gave her some pointers. The most memorable of which was "This is supposed to be fun." He was right, and that's a lesson that I've never forgotten to this day.


dredsovrn


Oct 23, 2003, 8:54 AM
Post #7 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 24, 2003
Posts: 1226

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey I just came across this. Rokshoxbkr19 did a great job! We hooked up at Chickies and I learned a ton. I look forward to more. It was a great example of the finest tradition of the climbing community. I appreciate the open dialogue and the desire to pass on knowledge.


gat


Oct 23, 2003, 1:08 PM
Post #8 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 3, 2003
Posts: 420

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I was in college and a friend told me about a beginner's climbing trip. The outdoor club was going to a local crag and the guy leading it was someone they went to school with. What a waste of time...the guys sets up a climb that aboslutely NO beginner was going to get up. We are all in tennis shoes, he's in rock shoes. Essentially what he got was a group of belay slaves. Totally turned me off to climbing - I never really even climbed because I never got off the ground.

A couple years later (still in college) an outdoor oriented physed class I was in went climbing for a day...bought my toproping gear the next day as soon as the shop opened. Remeber how much that first experience can influence the student and act accordingly.


climbingrules


Nov 13, 2003, 9:24 AM
Post #9 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 28, 2003
Posts: 30

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

worst experience: The dingleberry that took me for the first time didn't know what he was doing! He had me rap off a 90 footer ancored by one very old piece of webbing (with maybe an inch of tail on either side of the knot) which was tied around an old and very small tree trunk using only one, non-locking carabiner. The rope was shot to sh*t. My harness was at least 20 years old. Looking back, I'm glad I survived. Later that same year I recieved proper instruction from an experienced climber in Colorado Springs. Thankfully, I didn't let my first experience side track my desire to climb. Climb safe-- don't take the fast way down......


capn_morgan


Nov 13, 2003, 9:35 AM
Post #10 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 7, 2003
Posts: 565

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
I have no clue as to how guides put up with stuff like that on a daily basis.

They arent getting paid for the climbing. :wink: Im with you on that though. I dont know if you could pay me enough to put up with something like that.....well, maybe :P


wiredclimber


Nov 13, 2003, 10:35 AM
Post #11 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 7, 2003
Posts: 33

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

great stories, keep em coming. can't say ive ever had a really bad teaching experiance so far, im sure one's coming though. the worst came from teaching a friend and his wife to climb. we had been climbing most of the day and after about 6 hours of them being really safe, i set up a toperope and went to practice some anchors with my then wife. casually i overhear "hey, im going to retie this knot, it doesnt look real good." didnt click at first but, then i realized his wife was about 30 ft in the air and had untied herself without any other sort of anchor. luckily i had time to swing over and retie her but, i definitly learned not to get lax with beginners.


cragb


Apr 9, 2005, 7:43 PM
Post #12 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 8, 2005
Posts: 101

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

When it comes to the worst teaching moment listen to this... So PC teaches a bunch of rock climbing classes every year and the teachers see a variety of experience levels. More often then not people joining the class are experienced and hooked on climbing, however, there is always a few students who don't have their heads in the right place. An instructor was leading a rope stretching pitch at the High Rappel Dells outside of town, planing on setting up a belay to bring some students up. As the teacher pushes upward he yells down to his belayer, "how much rope?" the student replies, "not much." at this point the teacher looks down upon his belayer to see that he is holding the tail end of the rope with two hands above the top of his head. The teacher: "Am I on F-ing belay? The student whimpers a "no," the teacher then proceeds to downclimb ten hairy feet to allow the belayer to rethread the rope through his belay device. He raps off and one can only wonder the conversation that ensued. Teaching is not easy, no matter how many times you reinforce certain points people have the ability to tune out and remain clueless. I personally would've retired after an episode like that! :shock:


Partner tattooed_climber


Apr 9, 2005, 8:45 PM
Post #13 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 13, 2003
Posts: 4838

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

trust comes before progress.....don't trust the person you're teaching until they have proven to be more than competent....common sense eh

as few times i've taken gurls i was dating at the time out climbing.....ussually to the same spot (lighthouse Park).....quiet and beautiful area....

I TR them, some them the ropes (so to speak), etc etc....

FIRST comes rapping.......prussiks and all....i show self rescue from rapping.....to unjam the prussik....locking off...etc....some easy stuff....

if its a LONG day i'll go over belaying (just TR)...i still haven;'t found a good way to teach this.....i always climb up to a distance where if i fell i'd survive (no more than 20 feet) then down climb, (while they lock me off)......make sure i'm fully locked off, then talk them into lowering me.....

repeat....

then i mix it up from here......but its scary some times......i trust a shitty nut placement more than some of the people i've tried to teach belaying to.....

half the time i say "stop, and no more learning for you today"......rather have fun then teach a dumbass.......and in this process i learn that the gurl i'm teaching is an idiot yuppie...... :roll:


paulraphael


Apr 11, 2005, 8:16 AM
Post #14 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 6, 2004
Posts: 670

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I have no clue as to how guides put up with stuff like that on a daily basis.

They arent getting paid for the climbing. :wink: Im with you on that though. I dont know if you could pay me enough to put up with something like that.....well, maybe :P

I also think they've learned how to avoid these headaches. The guides I've seen are very systematic about making sure the client knows every detail of what to do before they commit to anything. Most amateurs (me included) tend to be a lot more impatient with things like teaching someone how to belay. This is ridiculous, I know, but I feel wishful thinking taking over my sense of sanity when I rush through teaching sometimes. Guides and instructors know from experience how long they have to take, how often they have to go over everything, how to test what they just taught, etc. ... so they aren't discovering the inadequacies of the lesson when they're 100 feet up and not on belay anymore.

These episodes are not tests of the student ..they're tests of the teacher. Always remember that.


landongw


Apr 28, 2005, 2:48 AM
Post #15 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 2, 2004
Posts: 114

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I had a bad experience with a newbie...

Me and and another experienced friend took out a guy from work for his first climbing experience. We warmed up on some 8 and .9's and taught him to belay. To begin with when i teach i make one rule: "if i tell you to do something, you do it no questions asked, and don't do anything i don't tell you to do." He did well and climbed fairly naturally. Then my buddy and i decided to do something that would challenge us a little bit, easy 11. Each of us climbed it, came back down. Then the newbie wants to try so, "ok, but if you can't do it, and you probably can't on your first day, just come back down." So he climbs up, stops just below the crux and hangs out trying to figure a way up but obviously won't get it. After a while we start calling to him to come back down. But, he ignores us and won't, so i have no choice but to keep him on belay and take in the slack. The TR anchor was 25 feet above his head and he starts traversing out to his right, WAY out, he climbs the lenght of his leash (while i'm yelling at him to come back down, until he's at the same height as the anchor, and then pumps out. He pendulumed 40 feet, with no idea of how to fall, rolling and tumbliing out of control. Luckily all he sustained was a cut on his scalp that bled a lot.

Lesson1- you have to make a judgement about the character of your student, since then i have said no to a lot of people wanting to climb. Even though you may do everything right, a newbie could still hurt himself or die because he has poor judgement.

Lesson2- when teaching, make your student wear a helmet. there is an art to falling safely that doesn't necessarily come naturally.


warthog


Apr 28, 2005, 7:44 AM
Post #16 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 28, 2005
Posts: 78

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

First rule of being a climbing guide: climb as if your clients are trying to kill you at all times.


Partner yannbuse


Apr 28, 2005, 11:17 PM
Post #17 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 15, 2003
Posts: 112

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Ive always had a good experience teaching people how to climb, but the worst experience was from my end....
while i was living in chamonix, i decided to take one of my roomates out for her first climb at the gailland (sport). I led a straight forward easy 5a and rapelled myself back down. I explained the whole jist of moving over rock with your feet, the system of protection through ropes, weight, etc.... After already living in chamonix for 2 years she had heard and seen enough to have a relative idea of how to climb and how the gear works. So her motivation was high and she had done her homework.
Once on belay she started to climb. She was comfortable and smoothly made her way up the rock. The sun was hotter than hell (it was the summer where europe got the heat wave), and i should have known. But suddenly it all fell on me like a ton of bricks: the heat, the sun, working late (i was a bartender), and i got real dizzy and felt sick. I felt like i was going to pass out.... i could hardly keep my head above my shoulders.... but i was belaying! So i screamed up and told her to stop...I wrapped the rope around my leg, sat down and immediately began to anchor myself down and putting a prussik on the rope so that whatever happened to me, she was not going anywhere. I told her that i was going to lower her down and that she should not worry about the quickdraws up top. I dont think she knew what was going on as she was asking me to lower her down faster, but i had a prussik in. While lowering her down i was getting worse, i spotted a couple local friends cragging and told them to assist me. I managed to lower her all the way down, when i quickly drank water and asked my buddies to throw me in the near by lake.
I apologised to her and to this day feel pretty bad about the whole situation. Ive taken a few dozen people out for their first time and have always had a pretty good experience, but that situation just made me feel like an asshole.


Partner climbinginchico


Apr 28, 2005, 11:52 PM
Post #18 of 18 (3501 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 23, 2004
Posts: 3032

Re: What are your best and worst teaching experiences? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Well, I have had good, patient teachers. Part of this stems from me keeping my mouth shut and asking good questions, and not trying to do too much.

I taught my girlfriend how to climb after she asked me to. It has been a good experience for her. Has totally boosted her self-confidence as well. She likes to follow some of my easy trad leads too. Good time together. My plan: be patient and don't push too hard. Worked so far.


Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Trad Climbing

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook