Some people only learn from friends, mentors, experienced people bribed with beer, you know what I mean.
Some people only learn from books, and then just out and do what they read until it makes sense.
Some people only learn from guides, hell some people only go guided, but some people take courses and classes and structured learning.
Personally? I like a mix of all of the above options. I think a solid basis in safety technique is best acquired from guided courses, practiced with more experienced friends, and experimented with based on books and guides that you can read. Of course everyone has their own preferences, but, there is a reason for this rambling.
Confirmation just in, the course has enough people, so next weekend I am going for my first winter waterfall ice climbing day! It’s a one day ‘taster’ top roping course. It’s going to be followed up with a two day course on lead climbing ice after Christmas. But this one just got filled up, so I have been waiting eagerly to hear their were enough people. I am fricking excited its unreal. I tried it in the summer, and just loved it, loved all of it in a way I hated rock climbing at the time. Of course it will be different in the winter, on waterfalls and not ice falls, but I am still just so excited to get to go out and really start learning how to do these things. Sometimes I think you just need to spend some time and some money, and learn how to do things safely before you can go and frollick in the mountainside with your more experienced partners.