When I started the class, I didn't even know what perlon was, or why I would need a personal anchor, or how to use a prusik. But I feel like I've learned a ton already. With classes on Tuesday nights and field trips on Saturdays, and attendance mandatory to both, we can cover a lot of material. It's a good pace though- challenging and stimulating without being overwhelming.
So far we've had four Saturday field trips. The first was to Mount Si, just outside North Bend. That was a bit of a fitness test, to see how we'd do hiking four miles up with 3,200 feet of elevation gain with 30+ pounds on our backs. We have a strict packing list, and here we are in the parking lot for pack checks.
And then, once we got to the top, it was good practice to stay dry and warm for the rest of the day. I've hiked Mt. Si lots of times, but usually in warmer weather, or I eat a snack and descend. But this day in March, it was snowing and we still had hours of standing in the snow as we did rotating workshops.
We also had another really cool station rotation where we learned to ascend a rope using a Texas prusik. This is how you would get yourself out of a crevasse if need be. We all climbed at least 25 feet up in a tree, inching our way up toward a bag of candy on a high branch.
We were lucky enough to be on the edge of the rain shadow, and while it poured rain just east of us and in Seattle, we barely got a sprinkle all day. It was cold though, and the wind was howling. We did a lot of yelling, but it was still nearly impossible to hear calls from the top of the cliff like "rope!" or "off belay!"
We also had an anchors station. The class doesn't teach us necessarily how to build anchors, but how to at least check anchors for safety.