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Topic: Ready to Start Mountaineering, Need a gear list< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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rimmini Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 14 2011, 8:45 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am interesting in starting mountaineering. I just like doing things the hardway I guess. I would love to be able to summit Mount Washington when the parks roads are closed. Or perhaps hit Shasta above the tree line. I am comfortable backpacking difficult trails and I have some climbing experience. But what I don't have is gear.  Can someone please post a list of items I will need to get started? Thank you.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 15 2011, 12:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The first thing on your list? You need is an experienced partner that you trust.  That person would be best to guide you in the equipment you need for a particular event.

You must be as fit as you can get over a 6 month period and a life time of dedicated improvement.  Taking on Mt Washington in the middle of the winter is a unsane plan and you must be prepared for the kind of problems that kind of thinking will get you into.  The equipment list is the last thing you come up with in an ascent plan.  And then you only take along the stuff you know how to use competently.

You will need the specialized training that will allow you to be safe on a mountain.  I'm guessing that you have some expectations in the future that are beyond just putting a foot in front of another on a cross country trek and that you not only want altitude but steeper inclines.

You should take a course in traditional climbing - sport climbing on a climbing wall is a good place to begin.  You will get to know a bowline on a bight from a figure 8 and when to use them and other skills and knowledge.  You will over time collect a box of hardware and know how to use each member in it with one hand, your eyes closed.  You should take those skills and that list of needed protection outside and be comfortable with class 5 climbing on rock and graduate to mixed rock and ice.   You will have at the end, a set of proper tools and more important, the means to use them.  And you will be committing most of your waking hours to preparing to be a mountaineer.   Done properly you will not make a good day to day companion.   You just won't have the time for others.

You should be devouring all the popular books on climbing and taking on mountains that you can find the time to read, underline, outline notes and underscoring the most important information you can glean from them.  You should have a LARGE collection of books on the subject. You want to know more than Mother Nature on the subject.  She is definitely a bitch at the wrong time.

Normal weekend warriors on a back pack trip are taking on levels of risk that are different from their normal day to day city life.  When you go on snow and ice (which I am guessing are your plans), you assume risks that put you, your climbing mates and those that come to rescue or recover you at tenuous and dangerous odds.

You should be asking not so much for a list of equipment but a place to go to find out what equipment you need for your specific plan or goal.  Many books (library or outfitters) on mountaineering or mountain climbing give lists of what the expedition is bringing along and in some cases why.  Fun reads such as "No Shortcut to the Top" give you insights well beyond a list of things you need to keep you from being injured. Maybe you too should be running 6 miles EVERY day, no matter how you feel or the what the weather is.

Rather than asking if you need a helmet, crampons, ice ax, rope, hex nuts and other pro, ice screws, protection from elements, clothing, climbing harness, boots, goggles, beta, snow barriers, sleep system, climbing partner, base layers you should be asking which one is best for what you will be doing.

This is probably not the correct forum to get that kind of advice.  A course in mountaineering would be.  Sierra Club, members of Summitpost.com, climbing and mountain clubs all up and down the east coast (if that is where you are), and contacts you make from this network is where you want to be looking and asking how to get from where you are now - to up there.

If you don't go about getting the right information from the right places for what you want to specifically do with the next decade of your life, you will spend a lot of money unwisely and put yourself and others at risk.

And I understand your frustration at finding what you want to know.  The key is finding where to go locally to get the basics.  That is the key to what you need to do pronto.  Start simple and grow with it as far as you can.  You might find out soon enough that it really isn't quite what you want to do.

If you want to collect 'tops', there are lots of places to find out where and how to do it.  NH, VT have some challenging adventures.  After that get closer to the Rockies and see what it takes to do three 14rs in one nice warm summer day with a day pack.  Move to doing the Cascades for ice practice and glacier experience.  Then start having fun climbing high in the winter in the Sierra - a more benign place than either the Cascades or the Rockies.  Each level takes different kinds of gear.  You will soon find that you have not enough room to store most of it.

Then publish your list here and how you came about it.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 16 2011, 9:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rimmini,
Here is a link to a gear list from RMI for Mount Rainier.  This will give you a good idea of the necessary items for a standard technical mountaineering ascent.

http://www.rmiguides.com/rainier....uipment

Be careful on Mount Washington.  It almost killed me in a blizzard in the middle of the summer once.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 16 2011, 3:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great post SPeacock!  

If OP is in New England it might make sense to look into some of the courses offered by folks like Rick Wilcox (International Mountain Equipment) or Mark Synnott (synnott Mountain Guides) - both based in the North Conway, NH area.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 16 2011, 4:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(SPeacock @ May 15 2011, 12:22 pm)
QUOTE
And you will be committing most of your waking hours to preparing to be a mountaineer.   Done properly you will not make a good day to day companion.   You just won't have the time for others.

There are plenty of people who do challenging, rewarding roped climbs in the wilderness while still having time for spouse, family, friends, career, and other hobbies. Unless your goal is to be a truly elite climber I would argue that done properly you will find a balance that allows room for the other people, projects, and passions in your life.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 16 2011, 6:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

True that, DaneB.  

Most of the people I knew when I was young enough to get out there,  were athletes who were driven to succeed.  Some did, and a few kept other than climbing friends close.

Collecting summits or routes can be a fun goal if they can spend enough time to prepare to perform at the level they are interested in to be safe.

A lot of rock and ice bums still take a job as a way to pay for their obsession.

It all depends upon how bitten they are to get up there.  And most of us who catch an occasional route or good ascent enjoy being out there - but not all the time.  And hopefully stay a bit below the levels at which we are competent.

Many who get involved catch the 'bug' and will tend to orient a good portion of their life around their 'hobby'.  The topic of conversation they are most interested in is the area they have just returned from or will be going to next.

But, I admit, I generalized too much.  In the same vein, I still think the definition of being old is when you spend most of your discussions about the prescriptions you have as compared to the other person and for good measure toss in a current disease or a friend who has one.   I remember when those same people used to talk about cars, girls, hardware, routes and ascents...and sometimes a good beer.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 17 2011, 3:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Peacock,

It's very frustrating trying to find people to climb with. I tend to devote more time to it and have a more open schedule in regards to it than anyone I really know. So, I end up going solo or with just one or two other people very occasionally. To the original post, I would start collecting summits in the summer. Then, move onto summer snow/glacier/couloir climbs. For instance, the most technical I've probably gotten is Gannett or Hood, both of which weren't technical in the sense of needing anything more than an ice ax, crampons, gaiters, heavy gloves, and good waterproof boots. So I would say start with the warm/waterproof clothing that will keep you comfortable on any of the high peaks in the lower 48 during the summer.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 17 2011, 6:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/climbing/

This used to be Rec.backpacking

Might find some more pointers here...especially for east coasters.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 18 2011, 10:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Reminiscence @ May 17 2011, 3:38 pm)
QUOTE
It's very frustrating trying to find people to climb with.

That has always been my problem.  I would go all the time if I could find someone to go with me.  My wife and kids will backpack with me, but mountaineering is a whole different level.  I'm not sure I really want to expose them to the danger anyway.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 18 2011, 5:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not many people would like to backpack with me either, haha. Part of the reason I enjoy mountaineering is that for many peaks the routes are off trails, and I take traveling off trail while backpacking often as well.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 23 2011, 9:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the advice. On going with an experienced mountaineer thats common sense but I understand lots of folks have been rescued....or killed for a lack of that. ( We had a guy down here in Reading, PA who just got a Kayak and wanted to try some whitewater. Rather than read up on river features or even going out to a rapid up stream, he decided to play at the base of a low head at a local tourist spot. Wound up going for a swim in a washing machine.)

On equipment looks like I'll need to get my backpacking base down so that I can add more specialized gear as I gain experience.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 25 2011, 9:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

there is no substitute for acquiring actual experience safely, and doing a course is a great way to do that.   once you feel comfortable striking out on 'your own,' you definitely need to do this with a partner or a group, with people who are (a) trustworthy (b) experienced and © safe.  no point in winter climbing with people who push too hard or ignore the weather during the winter.  if you have any doubts about that, read 'not without peril' by Nicholas Howe.  a series of cautionary tales about the Presidentials.  

there are a few references that would be worth your time.  Mountaineering, The Freedom of the Hills (now in its 8th edition) is, in my view, the best basic reference.  a lot of great information about clothing, gear, layering, etc.  if you get into winter climbing more, you might consider The Mountaineering Handbook or Alpine Climbing, which offer some alternative points of view about climbing styles, techniques, equipment - points that aren't really terribly meaningful for a beginner.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2011, 4:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ice ax and the skill, knowledge and training to know how to use it.
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