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  Training is an important function of the Vertical Section. We currently provide two avenues for this function:

  1. Vertical Techniques Workshop
    (a 4-hour workshop held annually at the NSS Convention)

  2. Vertical Training Programs   [Basic and Intermediate]
    (class training materials for organizations to train their members)

Details of these offerings are as follows:

Vertical Techniques Workshop

This 4-hour workshop is conducted at every NSS Convention. The students are given a basic overview of climbing equipment, techniques, and safety considerations for American-style Single Rope Techniques. They experience hands-on sessions on knot tying, belaying, rappelling, and several ascending systems ... the Gibbs and Mitchell ropewalkers, the Frog, and Prusik knot systems. The workshop is conducted by experienced instructors of the Vertical Section.

While not an alternative to a thorough training course, this intense workshop will give the novice climber a good exposure to different systems. The student can try different systems in a controlled environment, with ample opportunities to ask questions of the instructors, while actually performing the different techniques.

The Vertical Techniques Workshop can only accommodate a limited number of students each year, so a low ratio of students-to-instructors can be maintained. Cost and availability for the Workshop is available from the Convention Registration staff prior to each NSS Convention. Registrations are generally sold out during the pre-registration period, so don't wait until your arrival at the Convention to register.

Questions about how the Workshop is conducted may be directed to the Vertical Techniques Workshop Coordinator, Kurt Waldron, via E-mail at keystrokeaero@hotmail.com.

Please direct requests for attendance at the Workshop to the NSS Convention Registration Committee. Their address is located on each year's NSS Convention Web Page.


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Vertical Training Programs

Questions about the Section's Training materials may be directed to the Education Coordinator, {This Position is currently Open}. Until a new Education Coordinator is selected, questions should be directed to the Vertical Section Chairman.

(1) The NSS Vertical Section has created a BASIC VERTICAL TRAINING course for grottos and similar agencies to use to teach a standardized curriculum. The course covers the minimum skills a student needs to know to be "vertically trained". The class is laid out to be taught in either one intensive weekend or over several, more leisurely, weekends.

This course is NOT designed to "teach yourself to climb". Attempting to learn ropework from a book is foolhardy and will most likely result in your death. Such skills, just like scuba diving and skydiving, require hands-on training from a competent instructor. This course is designed to aid such instructors, by providing a unified outline of skills to be covered and training materials to aid in that task.

Class Instructors may download the Manual and course materials by clicking on the links below. All four files are required to conduct the class.

  • The Basic Vertical Class Manual (PDF - 1.07Mb) - 2012 Revised
    The instructor should print a copy for each student.
     
  • The Basic Vertical Skills Checklist (PDF - 14Kb) - (one per student) The instructor should check off the successful completion of each skill for each student as they work through the course.
     
  • The Basic Vertical Course Written Test (PDF - 33Kb) - (one per student) Each student should complete the test in the presence of the instructor at the completion of the course.
     
  • The Blowout List (PDF - 10Kb) - Selected scenarios students should be able to handle to be truly vertical qualified.
     

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(2) The NSS Vertical Section has also created an INTERMEDIATE VERTICAL TRAINING course for competent vertical instructors to use to teach a higher level of skills to accomplished basic climbers. The course requires a one-on-one pairing of instructor to student.

As with the BASIC Course, the Intermediate course is NOT designed to "teach yourself to climb". Attempting to learn ropework from a book is foolhardy and will most likely result in your death. Such skills require hands-on training from a competent instructor. This course is designed to aid such instructors, by providing a unified outline of skills to be covered and training materials to aid in that task.

Unlike the Basic Vertical Course which is structured in a more or less classroom style followed by practice, the Intermediate Vertical Course depends on the assignment of mentors (experts in each subject area) to work one-on-one with the student. After these mentors sign off on the student's completion and mastery of the skills on the Check-off Card, the card is submitted to the Vertical Section Education Coordinator (This position is currently open) for the awarding of the final Certificate of Completion. (Until a new Education Coordinator is selected, Check-off Cards should be directed to the Vertical Section Chairman.)

Instructors may download the Manual and Skills Sign-off Checklist by clicking on the links below. Both files are required to complete the course.


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Page Last Updated on March 6, 2017