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Getting into Winter Climbing

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Getting into Winter Climbing

Postby crosscountryclimber » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:19 pm

I am new to SP, but have been climbing/backpacking most of my life. A couple of friends and I would really like to get into winter climbing, but unfortunately don't know the best place to start. I have been climbing and backpacking ever since I was little, and have climbed quite a few exposed class 4 routes, but have never learned how to use ropes etc. I keep ending up in dangerous situations and figure it would be good to learn before I get killed. I would like to learn the basics of lead climbing and climbing peaks in the winter, and was wondering if anyone had any good articles they would recommend, or peaks in Idaho that they would recommend as a first time ascent. Like I said, I'm not a beginner when it comes to climbing peaks in general, being on exposed routes, etc., I would just like to learn to do it safely and begin winter climbing. Thanks!
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Re: Getting into Winter Climbing

Postby talusfinder » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:36 pm

Don't rush into winter technical climbs. I would suggest splitting up your goals:

1) climb easy, non-technical peaks in the winter.
2) learn how to lead technical climbs in the summer. Take a class, hire a guide for a couple of days, find a more experienced climber to take you, read Freedom of the Hills, practice, practice practice, etc. etc.
3) combine for a technical winter ascent after doing both 1) and 2) a whole bunch of times.

Good luck!
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Re: Getting into Winter Climbing

Postby Grampahawk » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:04 pm

talusfinder wrote:Don't rush into winter technical climbs. I would suggest splitting up your goals:

1) climb easy, non-technical peaks in the winter.
2) learn how to lead technical climbs in the summer. Take a class, hire a guide for a couple of days, find a more experienced climber to take you, read Freedom of the Hills, practice, practice practice, etc. etc.
3) combine for a technical winter ascent after doing both 1) and 2) a whole bunch of times.

Good luck!


That about says it all
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Re: Getting into Winter Climbing

Postby JHH60 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:32 pm

One other suggestion would be to take a basic avalanche class. While avy beacons, probes, etc. may not save your life in a real avalanche, they definitely won't if you don't know how to use them.
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Re: Getting into Winter Climbing

Postby Pete Castricone » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:11 am

JHH60 wrote:One other suggestion would be to take a basic avalanche class. While avy beacons, probes, etc. may not save your life in a real avalanche, they definitely won't if you don't know how to use them.


Ditto that. Beacon/probe/shovel/partner with same are completely useless if you don't have all the components and know how to use them...and mostly useless even if you do (except for recovery). A basic avy course will hopefully teach you how to assess and avoid avalanche terrain. Someone recommended "Freedom of the Hills." I recommend "Snow Sense." Be safe.
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Re: Getting into Winter Climbing

Postby england » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:16 am

castricone7 wrote:
JHH60 wrote:One other suggestion would be to take a basic avalanche class. While avy beacons, probes, etc. may not save your life in a real avalanche, they definitely won't if you don't know how to use them.


Ditto that. Beacon/probe/shovel/partner with same are completely useless if you don't have all the components and know how to use them...and mostly useless even if you do (except for recovery). A basic avy course will hopefully teach you how to assess and avoid avalanche terrain. Someone recommended "Freedom of the Hills." I recommend "Snow Sense." Be safe.

I would suggest staying away from the areas that require the beacons/probe/shovel/etc. starting out, as it can be a little to much info overload at first. Baby steps. Snow pack/conditions take many years in the back country to get a feel for, and a wrong move can get you killed. Baby steps, baby steps. Get out, and just start messin around. Snowshoeing can be a very fun winter activity to get you started, and will make you aware of just how more difficult things are to do in the winter.
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Re: Getting into Winter Climbing

Postby Wollv » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:41 pm

I am in the same boat as you. A buddy of mine and i started doing winter hiking by doing just that. No huge peaks to begin with and just stuck to you the little trails. Recently we have started doing to non technical peaks as suggested and those have been a blast. Just be safe.
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