SCMA : worth joining?


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Trad climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 09:59am PT
Hopefully I'm not feeding a troll...

I know someone who is a member and a competent, cool climber. He has taken several trips with the group and offered me camping opportunities that I never needed. So if you need those camping opportunities and partners it may be worth it.

I never became a member for a couple reasons. 1) I never really need camping opportunities or climbing partners, I already have lots of friends for both.

2)My friend who is a member once bailed on me with no notice to do a practice run up "white maiden's walkway" the week before the guy was going to do his multi-pitch evaluation. I like "white maiden's" but I don't think it says much about whether or not you are a competent climber as an evaluation. It gave me the impression that the evaluation wasn't worth much. I also had a bad taste in my mouth about getting bailed on with no notice for such a baby route (my opinion).

I ruined the friendship with my friend by getting drunk and having an argument over his using unemployment to finance his climbing trips instead of actually looking for a job. All in all I feel that the people I know who are members take advantage of the system and that never really set well with me. I am honest with my prospective partners and myself. I wouldn't want someone to fool me by passing a climbing test that was so easy and give me a false impression of their abilities.

If you do join, make sure you evaluate your partner's the same as you would if they didn't have a safety test.


Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Nov 19, 2012 - 10:36am PT
other, it sounds like your opinion of this organization is well-formed (and negative). Therefore, your OP has the strong whiff of 'troll'.

Those kinds of games are pretty transparent and disliked in these parts, but no doubt you'll probably find a number who are happy to jump on board with the hatin'. Have fun with that.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:48am PT
Yeah, Dave...I would too.

It seems quite clear that the OP has a pre-formed opinion about the SCMA (ironically, we share some sentiments), and that they are more interesting in 'outing' the organization than an honest inquiry. These kinds of thinly-veiled agendas are commonplace here, and I find them quite annoying, duplicitous, and negative.

other, if I'm wrong about your motivations, I'll take it all back.

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:49am PT
OK, here's my story.

After quitting work as a baker, I found I now had weekends off, and more importantly, three day holidays, and consecutive days off. As a baker, my outings were limited to dayhikes on Tuesdays. Walker Pass was pretty much the limit of what I could do and get to work that night. My big vacations would be fall backpacks in the Sierra. I was a solo guy.

With weekends off, the possibilities were unlimited! Now, all of my friends were more into the 3 Cs: Cocaine, Cerveza and Cigarettes. That limited my possibilities of partners, so I hooked up with the some Sierra Club hikes.

That's how I learned of SCMA.

Now while wondering around the Sierra, it's hard to miss Mt. Humphreys. If I was ever going to get to the top of that, I'd need some skills.

I went online and signed up for the SCMA class. I didn't know anybody. I was accepted. Took the class, learned a lot. I got my evaluation climbs to become associate in one weekend at Tahquitz. No hassles.

A year or so later, I felt up to it and did an evaluation climb to be a regular member. I had been encouraged to do so earlier. I led the Trough. The evaluation wasn't about climbing, it was about setting good pro and building good anchors. That's sort of makes sense doesn't it?

In the mean time, I've been on evaluation climbs of others. On one climb up White Maiden with Bob, who was an applicant, it was obvious within a few minutes that Bob knew what he was doing. I said so on the evaluation form to the Safety Committee, to skip associate, and make Bob a regular member right away. And that's what happened.

I don't get where people talk about the difficulty of joining. Whatever.

Mountain climber
portland, Maine
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
For myself organized climbing groups and I don't mix. So I wouldn't join. Nor would I know if you should. I don't know the rules or what they have to offer.

Simply put if are asking or wondering about joining. Then you should. The only thing you have to lose is your life.

I have seen a climbing group kick rocks off the top and laugh. SCMA

I did the volcanoes in Mexico with this guy many years ago. I took him to Big Rock so we could get to know each other. He didn't know to clean the gear as he climbed. 6 months later he was an instructor for SCMA.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 19, 2012 - 01:01pm PT
I looked into the SCMA 20 years ago and choked on the silly requirements.
You mean I can be an old skool AAC member with FA's around the world and
some bozo is gonna take me up White Maiden to check me out? LOL!
Of course they need to have rules and regs. And rules and regs are made to
have exceptions.
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