2019 Climbing School

About The School

The New Mexico Mountain Club Technical Climbing Section hosts an annual climb school open to all members. The course is designed as an introduction to students to learn how to stay safe while climbing. It is not intended to make you a better climber, but a safer climber. You will have the opportunity to learn and practice basic climbing knots, rope management, climber communication, belaying, and rappelling.

Skills Taught in the Course

  1. Ropes, Knots and Hitches.

  2. Coil a Rope with butterfly/pack-coil method.

  3. Throw rope for top rope or rappel use.

  4. Demonstrate/explain use of standard climbing signals used by the NMMC.

  5. Belay and climb skills - e.g. rope tie-in; loading and use of belay device; exchange of verbal, visual, and hands on safety checks; use of standard climb signals.

    • Belay from lower stance, catching and holding a climber's top rope fall.

    • Belay from upper stance, catching and holding a climber’s top rope fall.

    • Lead belay, catching and holding a climber's lead fall.

    • Demonstrate top rope climbing.

  6. Rappel Skills (protected by backup belay).

    • Demonstrate low or high angle rappel using mechanical rappel device.

    • Demonstrate high angle rappel using rappel device, including leg-wrap tie-off.

  7. Ascend an anchored top rope with prusik hitches; include backup tie-offs (protected by backup belay).

  8. Tie off a fallen climber with a mule knot to "hands free” (protected by backup belay).

  9. Demonstrate cleaning sport anchors.

  10. Participate in a multi-pitch climb.

School Dates

Before registering for the school, please ensure you are available on the following dates.

Attendance of all classes is mandatory unless noted.

Wednesday, April 10rd, 2019 (6-8:30pm)
Session 1: Knot Night - Introductory lecture & knot practice
Location: La Cueva High School

Saturday, April 13th, 2019 OR Sunday, April 14th, 2019 (7am - all day)
* students will attend only one of these days
Outdoor Session 1
Location: Lower La Cueva Canyon (Sandia Mountains)

Monday, April 15th, 2019 (7-8:30pm)
* optional; requires gym membership or day pass
Indoor climbing movement session
Location: Stone Age Climbing Gym

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 (7am - all day)
Outdoor Session 2
Location: White Rock

Saturday, April 27th, 2019 (7am - all day)
Outdoor Session 3
Location: Box Canyon, Socorro

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 (6-8pm)
Climb School Class Discussion & Final Exam - Location to be determined
Climb School Party - Date to be determined

April - May 2019 (weekends)
Multi-Pitch Graduation Climbs
Dates will be coordinated privately with each student

For Leaders & Assistants

Those interested in participating as a leader or assistant in the climb school can email nmmcclimbing@gmail.com. We are currently running a poll through the end of February that allows leaders/assistants to specify their availability to volunteer for the schedule above.

Gear Requirements

(excerpted from the Handbook)

  1. Personal Anchoring Device– Metolius or Sterling Personal Anchoring System (PAS) – This is a commonly used adjustable personal anchoring device utilizing a sling with sewn loops. Proper use will be demonstrated at Knot Night. The primary difference between the Metolius and Sterling PAS is the material. Sterling uses nylon while Metolius uses a Dyneema /nylon combination. The nylon provides a more dynamic tether that is considered by some to be safer. The Dyneema combination is lighter, less bulky and has a higher strength to weight ratio but it is less dynamic/stretchy than the nylon and it melts at a lower temperature than nylon.

  2. Four Locking Carabiners – One larger opening, HMS pear-shaped, screw-locking carabiner is preferred for your belay/rappel device. (For those interested in what “HMS” means: http:// arbtalk.co.uk/forum/climbers-talk/16557-know-what-hms-stands.html.) The wider opening is easier to work with when you use multiple pieces of equipment or devices and when you are attaching equipment to your climbing harness belay loop. Three smaller asymmetrical D-shaped locking carabiners are preferred for other applications. There are many variations of locking carabiners available on the market.

  3. Double Tube-Style Belay/Rappel Device – With enhanced friction and capacity for single and double 9 to 11mm climbing ropes. Examples: Black-Diamond ATC XP & ATC Guide; Trango Jaws; Wild-Country Pro Lite & Pro Guide Lite, Petzl Verso & Reverso. Note: The “Figure 8”, or auto-locking/auto-braking devices such as the Petzl GriGri, Wild Country Revo, are NOT suitable. Belay skills learned with a tubular device transfer to assisted braking devices. The basic tube-style belay device facilitates learning good belay technique. If you already own and wish to use a belay device without enhanced fiction capability (i.e., Black Diamond ATC, Trango Pyramid, etc), please contact the Climbing Chairperson.

  4. Commercial Climbing Harness – Fit a harness wearing the clothes you expect to wear while climbing. Hang test your harness before buying to check fit and comfort! Harness features can be useful or gimmicky (and expensive). All harness manufacturers make a safe product. Make sure you understand how to wear and buckle your specific harness. Keep the instructions!

  5. Helmet – A helmet designed for climbing is best, though if you’re uncertain whether you may continue climbing, you may use a bicycle helmet or a construction hard hat if it has the following mandatory features: A) Resilient shell B) Interior suspension system to hold the shell off the skull, ‘bicycle-style’ polystyrene foam, or hybrid of the two C) Adjustable chin strap attached to the shell.

  6. Climbing Shoes – Climbing shoes are optional for the first outdoor session. They are required for subsequent sessions and the multi-pitch climb. If you’ve never worn a pair of climbing shoes or are unsure what to buy, we recommend you rent climbing shoes from a retail store. Don’t buy new, expensive climbing shoes unless you are certain that you will continue climbing. If you must have a new pair, note that some climbing shoe sales folks will recommend tight-fitting climbing shoes. Tight-fitting shoes with radically down-turned toes DO make a difference in performance for the highly skilled climber, but not for the novice. You are looking for all day comfort not the ‘agony of de-feet’. On your multi-pitch climb, you will be wearing the shoes for a full day without taking them off. New climbers tend to wear out their first pair of shoes relatively quickly, so feel free to size them comfortably and opt for economy.

Local Source for Discounted Gear

Stone Age Climbing Gym (SACG) is offering NMMC Climb School members 15% off retail price for the following Climb School equipment package. Total Discounted Price for items 1-3 = $139.15.

  1. Personal Anchor System (Metolius PAS 22). Retail: $33.95/NMMC Price: $28.85

  2. Three (3) Camp Orbit Lock Screw Gate Carabiners. Retail: $9.95 ea./NMMC Price: $8.45 ea.

  3. Petzl Corax Kit or BD Momentum Womens Harness Package. Retail: $99.95/NMMC Price: $84.95. Harness package includes belay/rappel device, locking carabiner, as well as chalk bag and chalk.

  4. 15% Off any helmet in the shop (optional)

  5. 15% Off any shoes in the shop (optional)

    SACG is located at 4130 Cutler Ave NE in Albuquerque (505)341-2016, www.climbstoneage.com. REI also sells climbing gear in their Albuquerque and Santa Fe stores and www.rei.com.

How To Sign Up

Registration for the 2019 climb school is currently closed. Interested students for 2020 may preregister by emailing nmmcclimbing@gmail.com.

Official registration for the climbing school will be held at the New Mexico Mountain Club's General Meeting on February 20, 2019 at 7pm. If you cannot attend, please make sure to email your completed application to nmmcclimbing@gmail.com.

Immanuel Presbyterian Church
114 Carlisle Blvd SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106