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Goals/how to become a Mountaineer

Post general questions and discuss issues related to climbing.
 

Postby dan2see » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:10 am

Yesterday I shared a summit rock with my hiking buddy.

We observed how the clouds swirled around us, and got thrilled when a hole in the cloud-bottom revealed the Bow Valley, 'way down there. We tried to be cool enough to keep the chipmunks and grey-jays away from my sandwich without yelling "shoo". And laughing.

Mountaineering? Goals?

It seems so simple (although it's not easy). Just get out there. Just do it.
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Postby RickF » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:45 pm

First: Goal
Second: Plan
Third: Execution

I believe most people have some kind of plan when they head for an outing in the mountains. At a minimum, at least we check to see if we have a few essentials in our packs. Sometimes I just get a few things together and get my kids in the car, then drive to a trailhead for a day-hike. But for the longer and more challenging trips I do a lot of planning. What date to go, how to get permits, how to coordinate time away from work and family, what partners will be available, what to wear, what to pack, where to camp, what route to take, what equipment to bring, how to shuttle vehicles if neccessary, what are the options if an obstacle is encountered. And the planning goes on from there.

In order to make a plan first you have to have some kind of objective (O.K. call it a GOAL) in mind. I have a lot of goals. Not just mountaineering but life goals in general. I have'nt paid any proffessional, lecturing snake-oil salesman to tell me how to set my goals or plan the steps of how to acheive my goals. Some of us have to set our sights on something to motivate us to take action.

Yes, at some point you have to execute your plan and just "git-er-done".

I just got back from a six-day trip where I along with two partners summited Polemonium, North Palisade, and Starlight Peak. I made a goal several years ago to climb all 15 of the California Fourteeners. The three peaks we climbed on this trip were a part of my overall goal. I along with my partners, spent months discussing details and planning. I derived great satisfaction from the planning phase of the trip but the real reward was getting out there and doing it.

In my opinion, goals and planning are important prerequistes to execution. I acknowledge there are some people who are more talk than action. But I wouldn't suggest to those new to mountaineering to head off into the hills without a plan.

"I love it when a plan comes together"
-One of my favorite quotes utterred by a cigar wielding George Peppard, playing the role of the squad leader on the A-Team.
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Postby xDoogiex » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:48 am

For us east of the Mississippi river, where are good places out west to make our first trips?
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Postby kheegster » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:36 am

xDoogiex wrote:For us east of the Mississippi river, where are good places out west to make our first trips?


It depends on what sort of stuff you want to do. If you want to do glacier mountaineering, the best place in the lower 48 is Washington although the weather can be chancy. For scrambles or technical alpine rock, I'd suggest RMNP as it's the more accessible than the Sierras or the Tetons.
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Postby KevinCraig » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:27 am

Having grown up there and now living in Colorado, my advice is GTFOOP i.e Get The Frack Out Of P'burgh. While there's more climbing in the area than when I lived there e.g. McConnell's Mill, Seneca, The New, and Cooper's Rock (where I climbed when it was still illegal and long before it was a major bouldering destination), most of the climbing is either too short (climbing-wise), or too long of a drive (esp. if you're 17).

Apply to lots of colleges near climbing areas in the West (CU Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, CSU, Univ of WY, Univ. of Utah, lots of colleges in Calif. etc.). When you get to one, most have outdoor clubs, join one. Learn to climb and get out lots starting on easy stuff. Do lots of cragging. Learn self-rescue. Take advanced first aid and avalanche training.

OTOH, be sure to keep your head on and keep a good balance between school and climbing.

Good luck, have fun, enjoy the journey.
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Postby xDoogiex » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:32 pm

I need to get to back in school. Plus out of Ohio. What about basic mountaineering? How high til you start to feel the lack of oxygen? I've only been out west once and that was driving through it.
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Postby xDoogiex » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:03 pm

I meant to add on to that, can I rent mountaineering boots and crampons at a lot of places out west?
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Postby DudeThatMustHurt » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:21 pm

xDoogiex wrote:I meant to add on to that, can I rent mountaineering boots and crampons at a lot of places out west?


Almost every mountaineering store and or REI rents equipment for honestly reasonable prices... That's also something a lot of people use to "try before you buy" things like sleeping bags, boots, ice tools exc.
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Postby rasgoat » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:31 pm

There are many avenues to gaining experience as you can see in these responses. Depending on how much time and money you have, maybe you could do them all. For someone just starting out in the mountaineering game, don't forget why you are doing it. For me it is to have fun and to be out in nature as well as the challenge that mountains bring.

Finding out what type of climbing YOU like is part of the journey, and this information only comes by trying different things, over time, with like minded people. For me it is equally important that I am with people that share my love for mountains as the mountains I am climbing themselves. I will admit, it is more difficult to find mountain enthusiasts in the East but there are enough.

Do you want to climb Mt. Rainier next year? fine, take some courses, train alot, and you will do it. Or do you just want to get out there and learn as you go?

Don't think because you live in the East that you can't have fun in the mountains there. Read the books, study the maps, and go the the mountains, East or West. You can find challenges in these places and learn what you like.
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Postby aggiegeog » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:30 pm

I am in the same boat not much climbing around. I am at Texas A&M for another year then hopefully move to Colo. I try to go to NM when I can, some decent climbs in the Sangres.
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