Last year, I took the BCEP class with the Mazamas – Basic Climbing Education Program. It was interesting; a great chance to review my well-trained skills, practice some that I hadn’t used in ages, and get to meet some new climbing and outdoors people. It was fun, and ticked all the boxes that I had hoped that it would.
My faith in the outdoors community reinvigorated, I quickly and happily volunteered to help teach BCEP this year. I was expecting to assist with the same group that I’d taken the class with the previous year, since leaders tend to continue teaching year over year, so I was a bit surprised when I was placed with a different group… but it turns out, this new group was just starting out – the first year the leader had led a BCEP team on their own.
The chance to help out with a new group, and to help build a similar culture of excitement and optimism for the outdoors? All while getting to show people the unbridled joy of rock climbing? Of seeing new views off the side of a mountain?
Well. Sign me right the heck up.
After we finished up Hamilton Mountain, there was one more adventure of the day planned. Nothing big, and nothing too far… but an adventure I was exceptionally excited for nonetheless.
Why, you may ask?
It was my first chance to explore a new crag in years!
Looking back on it, I think I’d heard of Windy Slab before. Probably briefly in passing, since it’s anything but a popular large crag, but still – When the group leader recommended it, I jumped at the opportunity to help set up routes for the group.
We arrived, did a bit of scouting, and moved the teams up to the rock. I set a route while the leader set the one next to me, and we started walking the students through the whole process of climbing in the great outdoors.
Before climbing, we talked through leading – how it varies from top roping, what considerations to take in, etc…
While climbing, the assistants pointed out the details of what we were doing.
At the end, I got to climb one of the harder routes available to retrieve the anchor… but unfortunately the students didn’t get a chance to see, since I didn’t climb slowly enough. Yep. Not even remotely humble-brag right there.
Hey, it was a 10a, I’m okay being a bit proud that I crushed it record time.
What routes did Ben climb?
Night Music – 5.6, Sport
Dark Apron – 5.10a, Top Rope