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Goals/how to become a Mountaineer

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Goals/how to become a Mountaineer

Postby Eman2005 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:40 am

So, I have decided to make a list of places to make goals to climb. As a little introduction, I live in the Pittsburgh area, and I am 17 and have a decent amount of climbing/belaying experience through school. I have read the Freedom of the Hills. I have also marked my first goal as to complete a climb of Mt. Washington with the IMCS three day course. Based on my skill level and age, I am looking for a place to start, and goals to move along on my path. If you could help me out with tips, or what I could place on my goal list below that would be awesome.
I know that most people are pretty tired of a newbie topic. Thank you.

1.IMCS Mt. Washington
2. Possibly a summit of An Adirondack mountain
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Postby Tom Fralich » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:09 am

I'd recommend a basic glacier skills course on Baker or Rainier.
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Postby timd » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:04 am

Tom Fralich wrote:I'd recommend a basic glacier skills course on Baker or Rainier.


Good call.
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Postby Parenteau » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:44 pm

The best way to prepare for mountaineering / alpinism is to get out and climb (rock, ice, snow, mixed, aid) as much as possible. Aside from gaining valuable technical skills, this will also help you figure out your future goals (technical routes, snow slogs, etc). For example, on a recent trip to Peru, one climb I attempted had several mixed pitches which was pretty new to me, but I loved it and I now have the goal of attempting a mixed route on Cayesh next year.

My advice would be to do a day or two of private guiding in the Daks or New Hampshire early this winter, but focus on waterfall ice climbing as opposed to a basic winter skills course. This will get you comfortable using crampons and ice tools as well as climbing steep ice. Things such as self-arrest, snow climbing, and crampon technique you can easily practice on your own. Then you just need to find some partners and get out there and climb as much as you can. Some goals for this winter might be the Trap Dike, Gothics North Face, or the Huntington Ravine gullies on Mt. Washington.

Also, save your money. It is an expensive sport.
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Learn the craft

Postby asmrz » Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:29 pm

Years ago around campfires I heard the old timers talk about how to start this wonderful journey the right way. They talked about fundamentals needed for the sport. Learn how to rockclimb, find somebody who can teach you, or take a class with your local club etc. Then go and practice it for a few years. When you have that covered, move up to technical climbing in the mountains and acquire technical alpine skills, use of ice axes, glacier travel etc. After you have that, go up there and test yourself over and over. The most important thing is (at least for me) to find three or four likeminded people of your own age, or just a bit older, who are as commited to this activity as you are. There is no limit here, provided you get the basics covered. Without the basics, you will face gaps and issues for ever.
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Postby Diggler » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:19 pm

Appreciate suffering in all forms- (below) freezing cold temperatures, long & arduous approaches, stifling heat, lack of water, escaping terrifying thunderstorms above treeline, praying that sketch-looking slope resting on a bed of depth hoare won't slide when you try to cross it, cornice & snow bridge collapses, not being able to find your tent after not locating the correct descent drainage in the dark, uncomfortable unplanned bivies, marginal camp food, terrible rock on technical ascents, bad pro' or the risk of injury miles away from civilization, losing the trail/route, turning back after encountering unexpected terrible conditions, your partner's snoring or unbelievably foul-smelling feet after several days of nasty funk accumulation, etc.

When you graduate high school, move out West (& get a job, study, dirtbag, whatever) & start climbing.

Good luck & have fun- see you in the hills!
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Postby kheegster » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:08 am

Diggler wrote:Appreciate suffering in all forms- (below) freezing cold temperatures, long & arduous approaches, stifling heat, lack of water, escaping terrifying thunderstorms above treeline, praying that sketch-looking slope resting on a bed of depth hoare won't slide when you try to cross it, cornice & snow bridge collapses, not being able to find your tent after not locating the correct descent drainage in the dark, uncomfortable unplanned bivies, marginal camp food, terrible rock on technical ascents, bad pro' or the risk of injury miles away from civilization, losing the trail/route, turning back after encountering unexpected terrible conditions, your partner's snoring or unbelievably foul-smelling feet after several days of nasty funk accumulation, etc.


"Sufferneering". :D
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Postby charley » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:28 am

Take the explorers club of pittsburgh mountaineering school next fall/winter.
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Postby reddirt » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:51 pm

Parenteau wrote:Also, save your money. It is an expensive sport.


get a job at REI, put up with retail bullsht (hey, every industry has their own), & prodeal. Don't have to prodeal everything, just the expensive stuff that never goes on sale.

edit: listen to DMT! he's completely correct.
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Re: Goals/how to become a Mountaineer

Postby Wastral » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:55 pm

You are paying money to climb mt. washington? Save it... hike it yourself. There arent any mountains on the east coast which require belaying unless you find a cliff somewhere.

Next find a climbing partner to rock climb trad style. Top roping, the way east coasters "teach" climbing, teaches you bad habits. Trad style or sport routes with bolts for practice.

Next MOVE! East coast sucks for anything "mountain" related, has some good rock climbing in WV and NH though, guess some in NY too =-)

Mountains... at least move as far west as CO, if not CA or WA... MT and WY have good mountains too.

Glacier practice can be done at any ski resort in the winter or spring time. Find a steep slope and practice catching eachother on ice axes. Dont put crampons on the first time!!! For a vertical edge find where the snow plow makes a vertical cut over 12 feet high, usually right at the parking lot where they dump the snow and put 1 guy on top and practice setting up and hauling the guy up.

Everything can be self taught straight out of Freedom of the Hills and Crevasse Rescue book. Instructors like the schmucks in the "mountaineers" are usually just last years glacier class graduates. Even those who arent are quite often clueless. I have had to "teach" several "teachers" that I have come across. Practice 2 man crevasse rescue scenarios, then 3, since 2 is the hardest number. ACGM are good guys, dont take a class from the mountaineers, they are nothing but a social club, if you are going to pay money and come out west for a class that is...

Brian

Eman2005 wrote:So, I have decided to make a list of places to make goals to climb. As a little introduction, I live in the Pittsburgh area, and I am 17 and have a decent amount of climbing/belaying experience through school. I have read the Freedom of the Hills. I have also marked my first goal as to complete a climb of Mt. Washington with the IMCS three day course. Based on my skill level and age, I am looking for a place to start, and goals to move along on my path. If you could help me out with tips, or what I could place on my goal list below that would be awesome.
I know that most people are pretty tired of a newbie topic. Thank you.

1.IMCS Mt. Washington
2. Possibly a summit of An Adirondack mountain
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Postby adventuretactical » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:51 am

+ 1 to what Wastral stated.
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Postby adventuretactical » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:08 am

A general way to move into mountaineering is to rock climb within your limits for as long as it takes to get you bored enough to want to stretch those limits out to more challenging types of climbs. Decide what type of environment is your favorite to be in and you can go from there. Progression through the grades of rock climbing is a great way to test your skills and find your strengths before committing to the types of climbing that requires different types of gear, techniques, mentorship and steadfast experience. Remember that it's just like anything else in life.....there is constant learning. You never get to a point where you just simply know how to do everything.
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Re: Goals/how to become a Mountaineer

Postby aglane » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:41 am

Wastral wrote:You are paying money to climb mt. washington? Save it... hike it yourself. There arent any mountains on the east coast which require belaying unless you find a cliff somewhere.


I'll differ here. Washington up Huntington, down Tuckerman gives you a class 3 ascent, a true alpine plateau traverse, and (at least out of high season) an alpine descent. That's a start, even if not a long day in good weather.

The Pinnacle ridge in Huntington is a serious if not difficult 5.4 or so with some fancy arete, face, chimney and other quirky moves and pitches, plus some exposure.

Huntington in winter provides a fine first ice-climb in Central Gully, lots of ways to play around with some difficulty in Odell's, and a major climb in Pinnacle Gully when it's well iced-up (and again lots of exposure even when the upper pitches may be less strenuous).

And the winter Presidentials traverse can prepare for high range snow climbing.

There are days of good beginning training to be had there, and if the OP is paying for three days of winter snow safety/snow-climbing/ice-climbing/etc. it could be worth it.

Much can also be said for the Adirondacks. Nothing very high, granted, but both NY and NH have plenty of high wind, real cold, rapidly changing conditions, and more to make for a fine first season of moving to alpine.

Mind you, I've not done either summer or winter Pinnacle since ca. 1960, but the climbs are still there. And for higher demand, there's the Cannon face where the Whitney-Gilman should remain a must--a true arete climb.

Above 10,000 feet could wait for a year, cdn't it?
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