Climbing guide Alan Kline teaches haul systems to attendees of the Saturday Night Live free climbing clinics at the Gunks in May 2017. (photo: Tyler Shelley)

Saturday Night Live Free Climbing Clinics at the Gunks

Climbing guide Alan Kline teaches haul systems to attendees of the Saturday Night Live free climbing clinics at the Gunks in May 2017. (photo: Tyler Shelley)

Climbing guide Alan Kline teaches haul systems to attendees of the Saturday Night Live free climbing clinics at the Gunks in May 2017. (photo: Tyler Shelley)

The GCC spoke to Joe Vitti, of Vitti Mountain Guides, to learn about the free climbing clinics he organizes at the Gunks, which he calls “Saturday Night Live: Free Clinics.” We can’t thank Joe and the participating guides enough, and highly recommend attending. Topics are often chosen based on the interests of the participants and it becomes a learning experience for all as techniques are discussed in a group environment. If you’re new to climbing, here’s your chance to get free instruction. If you know how to climb, here’s an important opportunity to find out how much you DON’T know! Even if you have decades of experience, learn some new tricks to keep your climbing as safe and efficient as possible.

To keep up with when they will be scheduled, follow their Facebook community page, Saturday Night Live; Free Clinics, and if you’re planning to attend, RSVP to Joe at vittimtguides@gmail.com.

Alan Kline teaching haul systems at a free climbing clinic at the Gunks in May 2017.

Alan Kline teaching haul systems at a Saturday Night Live climbing clinic in May 2017. Tyler Shelley takes notes with his phone camera. (photo: Jake Ferrigno)

Joe Vitti Tells Us Why He Started the Free Climbing Clinics

I started the climbing clinics the week after Stephanie Prezant was killed. She fell while toproping Easy Keyhole. Ranger Hank Alicandri described it as the most heartbreakingly preventable, awful accident he’d responded to in 40 years working on the Preserve. I felt totally gut shot by this event and wanted to do something positive in response. I’ve been running the clinics intermittently in the spring ever since and have had a number of other AMGA certified local guides participate. Last summer Silas Rossi and Geoff Unger had the participants in a Rock Guide Course they were running give a clinic. This was a big hit. Alan Kline of Alpine Endeavors, Doug Ferguson, Dustin Portzline, Ryan Stefiuk of Mountain Skills and a number of other guides have given their time. The AMGA recognized the climbing clinics in fall of 2012 awarding me the years “president’s award.”

I’ll plan on offering a climbing clinic every other Saturday through October. The main challenges are to get word out, to be sure that people RSVP and then for them to show up when they say they will. The response from the guide community has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.

How You Can Help

You can help Joe get the word out by sharing social media posts about the Saturday Night Live free climbing clinics, and telling your friends. As Joe said, it’s important to show up if you RSVP for these clinics. These guides are offering their expertise for free, so please respect their time and show up if you sign up.

Dustin Portzline, Gunks climbing guide, offering his services.

Dustin Portzline, Gunks climbing guide and GCC Treasurer, offering his services.

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