I don't think the OP is a troll. His question is one I've heard often, in different forms, since I've moved to Southern CA.
The way the scma works is: If you know someone you are let in with no tests. If you don't youre put through the ringer and denied even doing the eval climbs so you can never make "regular member". It doesnt matter if youve done the Nose in a day, a non connected person's climbing resume is ignored.
I have no idea if any of the above is true, but I do know that that it echos a common perception of the SCMA. The rumors I've heard about it from non-members is that the membership requirements are similar to a country club - one has to "know someone" or have an extraordinary "game" - and if they don't, they will be required to jump through time-consuming hoops to prove their merit ("I can go climbing this weekend or I can take a test...") A common rumor is that the safety exam is more about stroking the instructor's ego than providing an objective evaluation.
No doubt the folklore has been exaggerated - but it is out there - and it is a deterrent to potential members. I do think the SCMA could benefit the community even more if it could project a more accurate image.
(BTW, some of the responses here aren't helping...)
I would probably attempt to join myself if I had more time to take advantage of the campgrounds, but I also wonder if it is "worth" the initial obstacles.
Serious question: What's the male to female ratio, approximately, of this group.
Not that I would join, since I am more apt to hang out with the imaginary Meth heads at the Pit.
I went through the "club" decision process when I started climbing with the Appies. First off, even though I was/am a timid climber and adventurer, I identified more with the Vulgarian ethos/pathos, and since the Appies had gotten laughed off the cliff BITD, there was just no way I could do it.
I do have one friend who is an Appie, and each year she takes one or two young leaders under her mentorship. Pauline alone, as a mentor, would have been worth joining had I done so.
On a humorous side:
I had another friend who was one, and one day she had been climbing with an old Appie and they stopped by my place after. I said "I don't think the Appies are for me. Is it TRUE they have a rule that all belayers must, without question, be anchored in? Even on the ground?"
He declined a direct answer, but went on to explain the potential perils a belayer could encounter, even on the ground...
"Yes, I know. But why not teach a person to analyze the circumstance for those potential hazzards, which certainly don't exist in every case, and especially not on a formation like the Brat, where we sometimes see people belaying from across the carriage road and tied down and in the way of everyone who passes through(especially if a ranger truth comes by...)"
He sighed. And then said "You're right."
I said "About changing the rule to analytical thinking?"
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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