I’m new to MAA, and honestly new to mountaineering in general. I’m working on acquiring gear and getting experience. I’m fairly comfortable with winter backpacking, have peakbagged a bit in the summer, and am looking to take things further. I’m hoping to climb Lassen this April and maybe Shasta via Avalanche Gulch in May. But my group may not be able to get the dates lined up in a way that works for me, so that’s all a bit up in the air.
I joined MAA to see if there are training opportunities to help me move up. When I look at the schedule, I see some great trips lined up, but they all require MTN 2, Snow 4, etc. But I don’t see a clear explanation of what those are.
I have seen some web and conference call trainings, the descriptions say things like “practice setting anchors”, but they are short online things instead of anything hands on. I’ve also seen some training events that take place at a restaurant in Sac, which seems cool but I’m up in Reno so that’s a bit more of a haul.
I’m not afraid of putting in the work or the time. I’m just wondering if someone could help by laying out what kind of opportunities MAA has for someone at my level. Time and money are both tight at this stage of my life, so I’m trying to map out a path that is as efficient as possible without skipping any necessary steps. I’m an experience learner, so hands on stuff is awesome. I can learn a lot of theory online and by reading books, but I gotta get my hands dirty if I’m gonna learn anything of any weight
I also understand that I will need to upgrade my account for a lot of this training. I’m cool with that too. Like I said, I’m just trying to figure out my path still.
Welcome to the club! Since no one else has responded I figured I'd chime in as just another member (so nothing official) with some response.
First, there aren't a lot of field trainings on the schedule right now, but they do happen, just keep your eyes open for it. Usually the non-snow trainings (MTN 1 and the ROCK sequence) will pop up in the summer. Also watch for events that include training (like the Mt. Whitney expedition next week included MTN 2 and ICE 1 training). If you aren't sure what the trainings are there is a PDF here: https://mountainascent.org/resources/Documents/MAA%202020%20Training%20Courses%20Overview%20-%20Sheet1.pdf (it's a bit hidden in the current iteration of the web interface).
Second, I would (unofficially) say that the "Skills Required" section of the trip descriptions are more guidelines than hard and fast rules. If you've gone backpacking in the snow then you have a lot of the skills associated with MTN 2, for example, although maybe not all of them. If there is a trip that you want to go on that requires MTN 2, I'd watch the associated online training so you at least have the associated knowledge then contact the Event Leader and see what they say. Just be open and honest about your experience and skills and depending on who else is on the trip they may still invite you along. EL's obviously won't want a trip full of less experienced people so you might get a "no", but the club is all about learning and improving so don't be afraid to ask. Trip participants often have a good mix of experience. Just don't shoot for a MTN 3, ICE 3 trip having never worn crampons. :)
Thanks for the reply! It answered a lot. I was looking at the Whitney trip and wasn't sure about the MTN 2 and ICE 1 portion. In the description it said it had those for training, but it also listed them in the "required skills" sections. I'll take your advice and start trying to join up on a few of them where my current skills align and as the schedule permits.