Got Skills? Sport Climbing with Tino

Tino, tugging tufas in Cuba, 2009. Photo Anne Skidmore

Tino, tugging tufas in Cuba, 2009. Photo Anne Skidmore Photography

In an effort to share our excitement about the new Skills Series programs, we thought we’d introduce you to each Series’ instructor. The Sport Climbing Series, scheduled for the evenings of October 6 and 13 plus an outdoor day on October 15, will be taught by Tino Fiumara.


SP: Which skills series are you teaching and in your own words, what is it about?

TF: Sport Climbing is one of the most beautiful evolutions in the sport of climbing.  For those who are used to just grabbing a rope basket from the front desk and clipping up our over hung wall of delicious plastic, there is much more to be learned.  In transitioning to sport climbing outside there are a lot more things to be aware of, as both a leader and a partner.  From the basics of what to bring and how to locate the crag, through the etiquette and risk management, this is an experience we really look forward to sharing with those who are psyched to learn.  

SP: Who would be a good candidate for participating in this skill series?

TF: This series is for anyone who intends to go sport climbing with a more experienced partner; for someone who has already gone and realized how much more there is to manage; and for those hungry for knowledge who endeavor to sport climb but personally need to be as well-prepared as possible.  Since being a lead climber is not a pre-requisite, this opens the gates to people who are psyched on knowing more about climbing and who just want as much experience as they can get!

SP: What would you say to someone who is considering joining but isn’t quite ready to pull the trigger?

TF: If you’re considering joining and aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger…Pull it 🙂  This means that you have questions or hesitations about going sport climbing outside and this is probably for you.  This is the opportunity to ask as many questions as possible, to practice risk management techniques that will add to your toolbox of skills, and to feel best prepared for your excursions into New England to clip bolts and have fun.  

"Becoming a self-reliant and capable climber is a never ending process and I am super psyched to be a teacher in the curious climber’s path to empowerment."

“Becoming a self-reliant and capable climber is a never ending process and I am super psyched to be a teacher in the curious climber’s path to empowerment.”

SP: Why are you uniquely qualified to teach it? 

TF: 21 years of sport climbing in more than half of a dozen countries on two continents has afforded me the opportunity to make the mistakes that one can make as well as the benefit of watching the evolution of the sport.  Every time there is a technique change or a special piece of gear designed for sport climbing, I have baseline against which to compare it.  I confer with other professionals in the industry on a regular basis and am tuned in to best practices.  Seeing the techniques and etiquettes practiced by all sorts of climbers on all sorts of terrain has deepened my skill set and also shown me the zany things that people think up to do – as important as knowing what to do is knowing what not to do and why.  Gear has limitations and we also need to know our own limitations.  It is easy to get in a pickle sport climbing because it is such an accessible form of the sport, and this is exactly why instruction on the gym to crag transition is so elemental.  

SP: What do you hope your participants will gain from the series?

TF: I would like participants to leave feeling exceptionally satisfied with their experience.  Participants should leave with the knowledge that is equal to their zeal to go sport climbing outside.  To me this means that they will have a better understanding of the the strategy involved in planning a successful day of sport climbing, the technical systems involved, and how to optimize their current level of experience while out on the rock.  

SP: Parting words?

TF: As a member of the climbing community at large, I have had the joy (and dismay) of assisting many strangers out at the crag because they were unprepared for the scenarios that can arise and get you into a jam.  It is easy to get psyched, buy a rack of draws and a rope, and head out sport climbing.  Everyone always says that they sport climbed with a buddy once and then read Climbing Magazine, and that level of ‘experience’ made them feel ready to go outside.  They then quickly realized how much different climbing outside really is.  Becoming a self-reliant and capable climber is a never ending process and I am super psyched to be a teacher in the curious climber’s path to empowerment.  

[dt_divider style=”thin” /]

Register for Tino’s Sport Climbing Skills Series or learn about the other Skills Series.

Zack Sawyer is teaching two different Trad Climbing Skills Series this fall, too. Read his perspective on who it’s for, what a participant will learn, and more.

Tino, doing what he loves.