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Three day head start for basic students who don't yet have 3 climbs

Good afternoon Jeff,

Jim Nelson asked that I get in contact with you about a website feature we would like to explore in support of the Basic Climbing Course. We would like for the website to be able to flag Basic Course students who have not yet completed three climbs and give them a three-day head start in signing up for Basic climbs. As soon as a student has three successful climbs, the flag comes off and they have the same priority in signing up for climbs as prior-year Basic course graduates.

This change addresses two long-simmering concerns:

1. It gives students who have yet to complete the three-climb requirement for graduation a leg up in signing up for climbs and improves their ability to get three climbs.
2. It puts prior year Basic Course graduates on equal footing with current year Basic Course students who have already completed the three-climb requirement, improving their chances of getting on climbs.

Our thinking is that prior-year Basic Course graduates and current-year Basic Course students who already have three climbs are equally likely to seek additional basic climbs and advance to the Intermediate Course. This revised website functionality might keep prior-year Basic Course graduates more active in our climbing community and might encourage them to move forward with the Intermediate Course, climb leadership, etc. Also, it is our guess that this functionality change would not dampen the enthusiasm of highly motivated current-year Basic Course students for seeking additional basic climbs and moving forward to the Intermediate Course.


Bill Ashby
(206) 852 3008 (mobile)

15 votes
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We’ll send you updates on this idea

Bill Ashby shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
Declined  ·  Garrett Arnold responded  · 

Hi Climbers,

Thanks for posting your suggestions on the feedback site. This has been an issue for many years, and this is not a problem with a technology solution – at least not right now (take a look at another Feedback idea with a healthy number of votes in opposition to pre-filling rosters before a trip is posted-

Every option proposed has implications for every activity across the entire organization. If we allow trip rosters to be filled with students, we limit the availability of roster spots for course graduates like basic climbing students (who will leave The Mountaineers when climbs aren’t available to them). Whether we decide to favor students over general membership is a policy decision that needs to be made at a higher level in the organization, not by staff or a single committee. Because website/technology solutions apply to every activity we offer we need to consider the widest reaching implications of these types of decisions.

We know trip shortages are an issue for all climbers: students and graduates alike. The “easier said than done” answer is to identify more Leaders to offer more trips. How to do that while maintaining our high standards is the subject of great debate (as you are all aware and engaged in yourselves). While we collectively work on growing volunteers, we believe robust cross-branch summits and sharing ideas with other committees who’ve addressed similar issues can generate good interim solutions. For example, we have seen the Conditioning Hiking Series manage extremely heavy competition for spots on rosters with some sign-up limitations imposed by the Hiking Committee. They post all hikes for a given month at the same time (on the 3rd Monday of the month). Students are only allowed to register for a maximum of 2 hikes at first, then can register for more when they receive an email stating more openings are available.

Because of the policy implications, we have to decline this idea as proposed. We appreciate the efforts you’re putting in to graduating our students so that they can become leaders. If we decide, as an organization, that this should take priority over members having the chance to climb with us – those will be our marching orders. But we’re not certain it’s the right thing to do at this time.

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  • Rob Busack commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I like this idea, and I've added my votes to it.

    It's an interesting approach to the delicate climb scarcity problem, which is described here:

    I would suggest a slightly modified implementation though: once a Basic student in need of credit has registered for five climbs, then they should lose their 3-day head start. Otherwise, there's a loophole where a Basic student would have no limit to the number of climbs they could sign up for using this 3-day head start, as long as they did so before the third climb actually completes. For example, if a student's third successful climb is in August, and they start registering for climbs in April, it sounds like they'll continue to get the 3-day head start even if they sign up for 10 or 20 different climbs, as long as they sign up before August. I don't think we want that loophole, so I suggest only allowing the 3-day head start as long as they're registered for fewer than 5 future climb rosters.

    - Rob Busack

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