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Topic: Just starting, learning< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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hiker1212 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2011, 12:54 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Im looking at getting into the mountaneering world, and just doing a little looking, it seems there are mountains of information out there.  Anyone got any advice on where to start at getting into this sport.
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jfriesema Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2011, 3:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A great place to start is reading the book Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills.  It's an unrivaled resource of mountaineering knowledge.

If you don't have a mentor to learn from I'd recommend at least taking a few mountaineering classes, or doing a guided trip that teaches as you go.

Where do you live?  The western US has some great mountains to get started.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2011, 4:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Haha i just bought that book right befor i saw the post about it.  Im currently in Alaska until around november.  After that i will be moving to Washington, so i am in and will be in great mountaineering areas that i know offer several dont courses.
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WildBlue Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2011, 11:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One resource I have found to be helpful is the websites of the various guiding companies, such as Alpine Ascents, or RMI.  I have never actually paid for their services yet, but I use the gear lists and study the itineraries for different climbs on their websites, which provides me with a wealth of insight for planning.
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hiker1212 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2011, 12:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wildblue, thanks for the tip.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2011, 8:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Start with scrambling. Get a helmet and crampons, practice ice ax arrest, sharpen your off-trail navigation and route finding. There's several lifetimes of summits and traverses in Washington that you'll never have to rope up for.

More experienced scrambling partners are a great way to gain confidence and learn new skills. Push your limits scrambling and find out what kind of mountains you want to climb and what skills you need to climb them.

Consider taking an avalanche course first, then a glacier or rock course depending on your goals. You can take a basic mountaineering course that covers it all but don't expect the same in-depth instruction as you'd get from taking separate courses.

And don't forget that networking is really important. It doesn't matter how skilled or experienced you are, or what classes you've taken, if you don't have someone to hold the other end of the rope.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2011, 7:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Mountaineering Handbook, Craig Connally  ISBN 0-07-143010-5

It is a good companion to Mountaineering:  Freedom of the Hills.

Connally puts a good, reasonable approach to getting ready for and doing any kind of hike.

You will save more than the price of the book just on gear, clothing and time it takes to get ready for a hike.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2011, 2:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

anyone know any good places to get started with some networking?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2011, 3:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can find a lot of good mountaineering info and get great advice from experienced people at www.summitpost.org

Welcome to the sport and stay safe!


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                                      James A. Michener
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2011, 3:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Seattle has an active group of climbers willing to share information.  Google Mountaineering, Seattle.  

REI is a good place to start.  They have courses as well as a connection to glacier climbers.  The Mountaineers and the book store is a start.  

I'm not sure how active the Sierra Club is in and around Washington, but worth a try.  They have, for example in Southern Calif, a special interest group in mountaineering that has an impressive list of assents.

Other sites such as this abound -- for example http://www.trailspace.com/forums/  that you can also ask around in.

If you have the cash, spend a bit on being guided up Rainier to see how you like the exercise.  Best you be well fit before you start there.  

http://www.alpineascents.com/denali-train.asp

is an example of being ready.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 18 2011, 12:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm not sure where you live, but down in my neck of the woods (Southern California) there are meetup.com groups for mountaineering that do all kinds of neat trips and offer classes and stuff to brush up on skills.  I'd definitely check out www.meetup.com for your area and see if there are any mountaineering groups.

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"The trail has given me blessed release from care and worry... Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail... and my cares fall from me, and I am happy." -Hamlin Garland
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 20 2011, 9:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Lots of good advice on this thread.   Mountaineering is the one sport where it pays to take your time and learn it properly and safely.   A lot of people get impatient and quickly get in situations above their ability, resulting in disaster.   If you do it properly and patiently, you'll have a long life.   Mountaineering courses are great, but nothing can replace lots of experience.    So get out into the hills, start easy, and work up to the hard stuff over time.   The beauty of the sport......there is always a more difficult  mountain.  :)  

Good luck in your endeavors!


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 21 2011, 7:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Join the mountaineering club of Alaska and partake in their outings.   www.mcak.org

lots of fun things to do with some excellent guides and fun people to go with.  for instance, Steve Gruhn is leading a trip tonight and he's a great guy.  They have stuff all summer long,.

I've done some of the meetup outings in Anchorage but they have been sketchy on the safety issues.   You are also on your own with that group.  The leader is really a coordinator or facilitator so getting some guidance is absent.

at the commercial level alpine ascents is good and so is Colby Coombs group up in talkeetna but then again you are paying them for one shot deals.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 04 2011, 8:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am also wanting to get into mountaineering. I have hiked a couple of 14ers here in CO.  I have done Bierdstadt in the summer (not too fun with all the crowds) and Quandary a few weeks ago.  I have been using my snowshoes and microspikes for my winter hikes, but I want to start going on terrain that requires crampons and ice ax.  I have been backcountry skiing a decent amount this winter and have a decent amount of backcountry experience.

Is it necessary to take a snow skills course or is ice ax and crampon use something that can be self taught on easier slopes?  I want to start with doing some easier couloirs.  Any recommendations?

Also, is anyone here in the front range willing to have me as a hiking partner for easier mountain trips?

thanks


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PostIcon Posted on: May 06 2011, 6:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If in Colorado, check out the Colorado Mountain Club, The Sierra Club, The CU Mountain Club and others in your area. Drop into to REI (or other outfitters) and check with anybody about courses or trips that will be in the snow this spring.  Ask over in an appropriate forum if any body is going out in the snow for training and would they mind you tagging along.

You can certainly learn how to use crampons fairly quickly.  And do some longer walks on terrain that is not too steep.  This is mainly to check out if the crampons you have match your boots and they will stay taut.  

You might find early on that you really, REALLY need heavy duty gaiters to keep from slicing up your pants, and your legs.  In many cases you just don't have a lot of control where those points will stick or shred.

The general rule is that if you need crampons you probably will need an ice ax.  The crampons gets you into untenable situations, and the ice ax might keep you from serious injury.  Get the right type and length for what you plan to do.

The proper use of an ax is probably well worth a bit of time with somebody who knows what they are doing.  Could be free if you find out where they are practicing self arrests. Don't wear the crampons while learning how to self arrest.  If you miss the stop, not many will volunteer to retrieve you zipping by them and you could end up with your foot in your ear when the points catch.

Once you get off of general undulating snow and on to glaciers or steep grades then its time to sign up for the entire course that shows you how to recognize avalanche hazards, crevasse and other things that go bump, how to get somebody else out of one and more importantly how to train you how to self survive and traipse across a glacier with some ease of mind.

This is more TRAINING (repetition under guidance) than knowledge (reading how to do it in Freedom of the Hills).

It would be difficult to express how important it is to get to be as proficient in learning the use of your tools.  You have things that will get you in very deep trouble (crampons) within minutes.  You need to have the experience to cope with the high risk you will be experiencing.

Then you can sign up for the real fun.  Vertical ice.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 07 2011, 11:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the response, that was very helpful!

I currently do not do any type of vertical climbing.  Is that something I need to become experience at before doing the type of mountaineering that requires ropes?

I already have a pair of somewhat heavy duty gaiters (OR Verglas, granted not as tough as the Crocs) and just recently picked up a pair of Kayland MXT leather mountaineering boots.  I plan on getting a pair of Grivel G12 crampons and a BD raven ice ax.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 08 2011, 11:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you want to learn to go more vertical with exposures that can result in severe injury, find a climbing club or a wall and learn 'trad' - traditional climbing or sport climbing.  Anything you learn on dry walls is transferable to ice and snow.  You need more experience in specific placement of protection and use of tools when it gets steeper on ice/snow - and not necessarily vertical.

Usually the only times you use ropes for glacial travel is if there is a risk of falling into crevasses.  If you see a team with any slack between them being carried as a loop, you know they haven't been to a class.  It is questionable if you would want to be on a 'walking' or 'traveling' rope in steeper glacier/snow travel.  One goes, maybe all go.  Best to rely on each doing a successful arrest and recovering the remains if not.  If it is too chancy, then a protected belay is the only other alternative.

Read the two books mentioned above (and others at REI or Adventure 16).  You have a wealth of training resources along the front range there.

A Google search should turn over many clubs or groups.  Summitpost.com is a place to start as well.

To answer you general questions though, yes it all can be self taught, but you will get more enjoyment (and piece of mind) if you get some initial early assistance.  Besides, it gives you an opportunity to get connected with those that have like interests.

Good luck it is an exhilarating sport and you have so many good prospects to play with in the Rockies.

I always chose my climbing partners that had the skills to help me get back safely.   It is important that you can learn to be somebody's trusted partner.  Always make sure they understand your skill level and what you want to get out of the trip.


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To understand why details matter, you first need to notice them.
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