Luke, through all of your hard to understand rambling that I've managed to digest in the few months I've been here, I get the feeling that you advocate no formal education for any kind of mountaineering. Unless, of course, it's through FOTH and then its ok. Instead you think it should be learned through trial and error on the mountain. Is that correct?
The death of a climber always make me angry. I feel without resources and guilty to did nothing when it was time. I begun to talk about safety for that reason. In Quebec, for three years, we didn't have any death. I was very agressive in my writing because they bring people to follow a set of rules and think that they are safe. I wrote again last year because there was three death. Actually, it is calm.
Formal or informal education, I am for both. I don't think that because I critic Dman similarity with some Quebec mentality make me for or against formal education. As I said in the recent avalache thread, I think that FOTH, to the fifth edition, try to bring togheter all the knowledge, good and bad, that the climber old and young use or used. For example, they say that it is dangerous to thread a sling true the loop of a stopper. That you are better to use a carabiner.
Today, and it is what I think of Dman, they won't say that it is dangerous...they will say don't do that
. If you have an accident your stupid (in general, those who accuse other of stupid have not a lot of place in my heart, you understand that dman accuse a women in mt jackson because she didn't bring a map!!!).
But if you are a climber and you run out of carabiner for many reasons...are you going to tie a sling? And if you have to do so...look on the fifth version of FOTH, they will show you a way that can probably save your life.
The problem is that the course is not a collection of techniques that can save your life, but a state-of-the-arttechnique that work for you...but maybe not for an other climber or situation. For example the triangle technique in ice is a state of the art technique (the highest level of development at a particular time), but I climbed at Frankeinstein three weeks ago and there was a layer of ice over snow or roten ice and the monkey hang technique was a lot more safer.
A collection of techniques...you must climbed to learn it and trained to master it. Don't be confused with a collection of thing that you can't use because it is completely not climbing, some course that gave you an impression of knowledge but you have to climb on low avalanche avy.