The Real Outdoor Climbing Knowledge Introductory Training (ROCK IT) program is the Calgary Section’s newest addition to our mountain skill building program. We had our first group of new climbers through the program in 2016 and we’re hoping for a repeat of our success in 2017. This is for all people new to rock climbing or for people who need a refresher from scratch. No previous experience in any climbing activity is required; however, a certain amount of basic fitness for the approaches (max 30min) and to carry a backpack with gear to the crag would be an advantage.
ROCK IT is not a training program for your physical strength, but we will set you up with the technical knowledge necessary to take part on other Section trips posted on the trip schedule throughout the summer like the weekly Rock Rage, as well as other ACC day and weekend trips. The ultimate goal of the program is to take participants from the beginner level to self sufficient climbers who can climb on their own and be safe and competent climbing partners. All of the sessions will be posted on the club calendar, so keep an eye out for them.
The First Session will be a orientation meeting somewhere in Calgary so we can answer your questions, set expectations, talk about what climbing gear you need as a minimum, and what that gear is for. We also will talk about the potential hazards of rock climbing and what other general gear/clothing you will need to enjoy this program and while you go out by yourself or as part of other Section trips. Please don`t buy your gear for this session, as we might be able to give you some tips for buying it and we might be able to tell you what you actually need and what not. If you have already gear, no problem, feel free to bring it.
The Second Session will be held somewhere at one of the front range climbing crags (likely Wasootch or Porcupine Creek) where we will start with our hands-on training right away. That day we will go over your personal climbing gear, how to fit and use it. We also will learn the first knot, how to belay somebody on top-rope as well as rope commands and some basic climbing techniques. Of course we will climb a lot to get as much practice in as possible.
The Third Session will be focused on how to set up and take down top-rope anchors, as well as reviewing the skills from session two. You also will learn one or two more knots to connect different types of slings/cord together for an anchor as well as how to rappel on a rope.
Session Four and Session Five will be dependent on participant progression in the previous sessions. They will either review skills covered in previous sessions or cover new information.
If you’ve never rock climbed before, you should make an effort to attend all the sessions to get the full benefit of the program. If you’ve got a bit of experience, you are still totally welcome to attend all of the sessions, or you can pick which ones you want to attend. Young ACC members (under 18) are welcome to join; they’ll need a guardian to attend at least their first session along with them.
There may be additional trips posted under the ROCK IT program name throughout the summer to hone your skills or teach you additional techniques (multi-pitch climbing, trad climbing). Anytime you see an Alpine Club trip on the calendar with ROCK-IT in the title, that is an indication to you that novices who are learning climbing skills are very welcome on the trip.
CAUTION: These sessions are intended to show you the skills necessary to become independent, but you still need to go out and practice these skills by yourself or within the other ACC programs, as it takes more than one evening to get proficient in everything you were shown. There are usually more ways to do things, but we teach you the skills to the best of our knowledge based on our own experience, best practice, etc. So if someone shows you something different, neither his nor our approach is necessarily wrong, it just might be different.
Fine Print, please read, but don’t take this part too seriously ;-).
The whole ROCK IT program is run by volunteers, but to make this program a success, they will follow the international recognized basic climbing rules established at the legendary climbers meeting in Konstein 1981:
#1 Gym climbing is NOT climbing
#2 There is no beer after climbing, but having beer is part of climbing*
#3 Real climbers don’t use clip sticks
#4 Extreme Couching (no pillows!!!) makes you stronger
#5 Harden the f#$% up!
*after endless discussions, weighting the pros and cons, five years of voting, vetos, lots of beer etc, the International Über Climbing Ethic Commission (IÜCEC) in Lausanne (Switzerland) softened the rule a bit, so Cider can be used instead of beer without the affected person getting dismissed from the rest of the climbing society by calling him or her a “Gym Climber” or even getting awarded the “Gym Climber of the Year Trophy”
In addition, all of our “instructors” went through extensive training where only the best will pass which means they have to be able to put their harness on while still hungover without falling over and climb at least 5.9 in the purest climbing style ever: Onsighttopropeflash. So, they all are hard core, – f%&ing hard core 😉
If anyone has any questions or comments, post them in the comments of this article and one of the ROCK-IT instructors will be sure to reply.