Yeah, it's almost always inadvisable to use them on the uphills. Glad you learned this.
I should probably make that tip #1 for Melissa.
Surprisingly I actually do ride the brakes on uphills sometimes. If it's rocky and uneven enough that you'd overpedal the small gear your in but not enough to shift, the brakes help keep the speed even and make it easier to balance.
Sounds like you ride places with uphills that take longer than a few seconds.
He's also sheared the crank arms off on an aggressive climb -- too much brake?.