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Specialty Courses


Specialty Course Descriptions, Dates, Registration and Payments

The LAM Climbing School teaches rock climbing basics. The club sponsors other specialty courses which are scheduled throughout the year lead by instructor(s). 

The specialty courses are open to all LAM Members for a fee of $25 each (unless noted otherwise). You MUST be a LAM Member to take a specialty course.  The Lead Instructor has the authority/responsibility to accept a student for a course, or to deny a student entry or to ask a student to leave a course in progress, based on the instructors judgement of the ability of each student to successfully and safely complete the course.  Some possible specialty courses include:

  • Catching a Leader Fall (Ludwig).
  • REALLY Understanding Rock Climbing Anchors.
  • Rescuing the Leader.
  • Introduction to Class 3 Scrambling.
  • Snow and Glacier Mountaineering Basics.
  • Introduction to Rock Climbing Leading.
  • Introduction to Canyoneering.

Registration for specialty courses will open on a course by course basis as these are scheduled by their instructors. For more information about these courses, watch the trip schedule. See basic descriptions below. 


Registration and Payment  (for LAM members only)

Catching a Leader Fall (Ludwig) - Not Scheduled

Instructor:  Ron Morgan (699-5816)

The ability to catch a leader fall is a critical skill... just ask a Leader!  If you are a new sport or trad climber, or if you're thinking about trying sport or trad climbing, the Ludwig class will teach you the skills required to catch a leader fall.  If you question your strength or ability, this class will answer those questions in a safe environment, where catching falls is injury-free and repeatable. Here is a LA Mountaineers' specialty course to get you over the confidence hurdle.  However, you MUST contact the lead instructor prior to signing up for this class.  The lead instructor will determine if he/she thinks you can successfully complete the class BEFORE you sign up/pay the fee.

This course will allow each student to catch one or more leader falls in a closely supervised manner. This class will have a central focus on safety.


REALLY Understanding Rock Climbing Anchors - Not Scheduled
 Instructor: TBD

Text for the course:  Rock Climbing Anchors, by Craig Luebben, published by The Mountaineers

Technique of movement and rock anchors are the two ways climbers stay attached to the cliff and enjoy a long, happy life. Technique you learn in the climbing course and by assiduous practice and experience. Anchors are the subject of this specialty course. In the first session (Friday evening) we will learn the subtleties of placing "passive" gear -- wire stoppers, hexes, tricams etc. -- with special attention paid to characteristics of cracks and the forces coming upon such gear in stopping falls.  We will also learn the techniques of placing "active" gear, specifically spring loaded cams. In the Saturday session we take up the subject of building belay and top rope anchors. These involve redundant, equalized, non-extending, multidirectional anchor points.  This course is a lot of fun and very much worth while for anyone serious about climbing safety.

Students are encouraged to read the text prior to the course.  Exact times and locations for the course will be sent to the registered students.

Rescuing the Leader - Not Scheduled

Instructor:  TBD

Your Leader takes a fall and is incapacitated.  What do you do?

This course is a demo of how to escape a belay, plus do's and don't's while getting your leader off the rock and into advanced care.  A number of case studies will be discussed.  Safety, of both Leader and Second, will be the focus.

Free to 2014 LAM Climbing School Students.

Introduction to Class 3 Scrambling - not scheduled

Instructor:  TBD

Have you ever wanted to climb a 14er but were afraid because the top is listed as "class 3 climbing"? Have you wanted to hike cross-country but were concerned about safety? Stay on trail or go off-trail? That is the question, or maybe, your dilemma! Alternately, the choice could be framed as one of safety vs. freedom. You might know that the go-to book for mountaineering is entitled "Freedom of the Hills" (shear coincidence, no doubt). If you have had concerns about going off-trail, have no fear: here is a new LA Mountaineers' specialty course to introduce you to low level (Class III) scrambling to get you over the confidence hurdle.

This fun introductory course includes an indoor evening session to go over general concepts, followed by a day of hiking near Albuquerque in an area that provides gradually increasing levels of difficulty for you to practice these new skills. This class will be really fun, adventurous, and of course, have a central focus on safety.


Snow and Glacier Mountaineering Basics - not scheduled

 Instructor: TBD

Are you doing Mt. Rainier this summer, or bagging a Colorado Fourteener next winter, or just wondering how or why mountaineers do what they do?  This class will give you a basic overview of how to safely navigate in the very-dangerous areas of big western mountains:  steep snow, avalanches, and glaciers.   It will include an evening indoors and a Saturday outdoors.  Class size will be limited to 9 students, so early registration is suggested.

The evening session will be a discussion that’s structured around photographs taken in the Rockies, Cascades and Coast Range of British Columbia, that cover concepts and details about: 

    • how glaciers and avalanches move, 
    • route planning, 
    • risk assessment, 
    • efficient gear configurations, 
    • roped travel, 
    • self-arrest, 
    • team belays and 
    • crevasse rescue.  

Detailed glacier-climbing guidelines prepared by the presenter should be downloaded and read by each participant prior to this session.  An email with the link to this file will be sent out upon your registration.  The Saturday outdoor class will be an all-day practice on a steep, hard-packed snow slope (probably at the Santa Fe Ski Basin) that’s appropriate for self-belay and self-arrest and been “prepared” to learn crevasse travel and rescue.  It will be a fun and full day of learning.


Introduction to Rock Climbing Leading - not scheduled
 Instructor: TBD

This beginning leading class will supplement basic climbing knowledge and will entail lots of details that are not extensively covered during the basic LAM Climbing School, including such topics as:

    • Falling and its relationship to climbing
    • Placement of gear
    • Anchors for leaders/belaying the second
    • Mistakes to avoid

There will be one evening lecture, and two Saturday mornings of outside sport and trad leading practice with experienced leaders.  Lead climbing will be the main activity.  The outdoor sessions will include:

    • Real falls on trad gear
    • Sport climbing
    • Trad climbing with passive gear

You will need your own rope, but not your own rack.  Exact times and locations for the course will be sent to the registered students.

Introduction to Canyoneering - not scheduled
Instructors:  TBD

This introductory course includes a 2-hour evening session of the course covers the essential skills required for descending slot canyons with minimal or no water hazards, the rating system for canyoneering, and how canyoneering is different from “normal” rock climbing.  We will then practice canyoneering skills on the following Saturday in a White Rock and Pajarito canyons.  

Students are expected to already know basic rock climbing knots and how to rappel.  This course will review rappelling on single ropes, anchors, and knots specific to canyoneering.  Students will then get the chance to experience fantastic canyoneering in Zion National Park in September.


Questions or Concerns?  Contact the 2012 Climbing School Director:
Rick Light at (505) 412-3976, or



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