Alpine Adventures - Mountain Adventures In The Adirondacks Since 1985 - Instruction & Guiding For Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, Mountaineering And Backcountry Skiing
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Rock Mastery Method
Rock Courses-Level 1
Introduction To The Vertical World
A Week On The Rock - Level 1
Rock Courses - Level 2
Gaining Altitude
More Altitude
A Week On The Rock - Level 2
Efficient Rope Handling
Rock Courses - Level 3
Anchoring Methods
A Week On The Rock - Level 3
The Sharp End
Technique Intensives
Hard Rock
Advanced Leading
Advanced Leader's Week
Double Rope Techniques
Essentials Of Self-Rescue
Advanced Self-Rescue
High Angle Rescue
Essentials Of Aid
Advanced Aid
Big Wall Basics
A Week On The Wall
Top Rope Instructor Training
Guiding Skills
Rock Guiding
Rock Equipment

Rock Mastery MethodSM

The Rock Mastery Method is our own unique methodology for teaching rock climbing. Employing structured experiential learning, it offers an efficient learning path climbers can follow from their first tentative steps on the rock to ascents of the world’s great climbs. 

The Rock Mastery Method was designed to prepare you to climb independently, liberating you from the need to engage a more experienced partner every time you go out. To accomplish this goal, instruction is aimed at helping you acquire the specific skills associated with a particular “achievement milestone”. This incremental approach to acquiring skills and gaining independence allows you to learn as quickly as your talent, motivation and schedule will allow. It also allows you to reach an achievement plateau and remain there, perfecting your skills, until you are comfortable with the next step. To learn more about the rationale behind our instructional methodologies please go to our Promoting Effective Education page.

Learning protection placement

Leading out on traditional gear

The skills, techniques and attitudes we present in the Rock Mastery Method are aimed at teaching you to climb in the complex, and often demanding, environment of “traditional” climbing (sometimes called “adventure” climbing). All of the world’s great climbs demand traditional climbing skills and, without them, the door to these experiences is closed.

Today, many new climbers are taught practices and attitudes that apply solely to specialized, controlled environments such as climbing indoors or “sport climbing”. When applied on traditional climbs, these specialized techniques often lack efficacy, efficiency or both – and climbers can get into serious trouble employing them in this context. That is why, right from the start, we emphasize techniques and attitudes that apply to a wide diversity of environments. This is serious instruction for people who are serious about learning to climb.

Introductory Instruction - Level I
Instruction at this level is designed to get you started climbing on the right foot, and to lay a solid foundation upon which to build more advanced skills. We present the “big picture” at this point and we emphasize the need for a clear understanding of basic techniques to gain self-sufficiency. We begin by exposing you to broad safety principles and the basics of anchoring and belaying. Although climbing takes place in the relatively simple environment of top-roped climbing at first, we quickly progress to a more versatile environment where students learn to follow a leader on single-pitch climbs. We introduce basic techniques for moving on rock faces, cracks and slabs at various points in this level.

Skills presented at this level are grouped into six lessons. Completion of these six lessons requires two full days of instruction. Upon successful completion of this level of instruction students are not ready to climb independently but they should be able to determine if they wish to pursue further instruction and, eventually, gain independence. To learn about courses that offer this level of instruction please visit Rock Courses – Level I.

Following a multi-pitch climb

Learning about friction knots

Intermediate Instruction - Level II
Building on the basics presented in Level I, we emphasize efficient rope handling and movement while gaining the mileage needed to be confident in the vertical world. We begin this level of instruction by introducing multi-pitch climbing and the numerous skills it demands. Incrementally, we address specific techniques for ascent and descent along with techniques required to meet some of the contingencies that can arise while climbing in a multi-pitch setting. We devote two lessons to giving you a comprehensive understanding of belaying theory, mechanics and practice; important knowledge most climbers never acquire. We also make sure you have plenty of opportunity to develop crack face and slab climbing skills far above the ground where “exposure” intensifies the experience.

At the end of this level we complete our Following Skills Evaluation for each student. This formal evaluation provides written feedback and reviews the specific essential skills required to successfully attain our Level II milestone. Upon attaining this milestone (by successfully acquiring all of the skills presented in this level) climbers should feel comfortable following a competent, experienced leader on multi-pitch climbs. Skills presented at this level are grouped into nine lessons. Completion of these nine lessons requires four full days of instruction. We believe every serious rock climber should have a solid grasp of the skills we present in Level II and this is a prerequisite for all of our Rock Guiding programs. To learn about courses that offer this level of instruction please visit Rock Courses – Level II.

Advanced Instruction - Level III
Instruction at this level is for experienced climbers who have successfully completed our Following Skills Evaluation. At this level, instruction is directed at specific aspects of rock climbing, each of which requires, at least, a firm grasp of the general rock climbing techniques we present in Level II. Some instruction at this level focuses on movement skills, while other teaching is directed at more technical aspects. Students wishing to climb completely on their own can learn the anchoring skills required to set up safe top-roped climbs, while building skills that can be applied later as a leader. Our Anchoring Skills Evaluation provides essential feedback after reaching this important milestone. We offer comprehensive instruction for climbers wishing to pursue lead climbing and our Leading Skills Evaluation gives you a clear picture of your progress in becoming a competent leader.

We also offer specialized instruction, mostly for already-accomplished leaders, in self-rescue, aid/big wall climbing, and other areas of rock climbing. For the myriad skills at this level, lessons are unique to each specific area of instruction and time required for completion depends upon how instruction is arranged. To learn about courses that offer this level of instruction please visit Rock Courses – Level III

Rock Climbing Guiding
As we often point out, guiding is not instruction. Guiding focuses on adventure objectives, not learning objectives, but this does not mean that you can’t gain knowledge or skill while being guided. 

The Rock Mastery Method incorporates opportunities for mileage into all of our courses, however, many people, at various points within our instructional progression, feel they need a bit more mileage to perfect their skills in a real-world setting. We can’t think of a better way to solidify rock climbing skills than to practice them while climbing with a guide who understands exactly which skills need work and exactly which climbs would best serve that goal. In this manner you can gain the mileage required to perfect your skills while simultaneously pursuing an adventure objective. To learn about guiding opportunities please visit Rock Guiding.

Perfecting movement skils

Mileage on smooth rock

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~ Mountain Adventures In the Adirondacks Since 1985 ~

Alpine Adventures, Inc.
10873 NYS Route 9N, P.O. Box 179
Keene, New York 12942 USA

(518) 576-9881

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