knoback wrote:Mountaineering is cleverly finding the easiest way up. Alpinism is cleverly finding the hardest way up.
An 'alpine climber' is pretty much anyone who climbs a mountain, in any way, in alpine regions. It is a very general term, to distinguish practitioners from cragging rockclimbers, boulderers, hikers etc.
A 'mountaineer' is also a fairly general term for someone who climbs mountains, in whatever way. It could be used interchangeably with 'alpine climber' though in the latter there is maybe a slight implication that the terrain is a bit more technical, actually 'climbing', whereas a mountaineer's route on a mountain may be really just walking uphill.
So an 'alpine climb' may include a hiking approach, mountaineering up a glacier, rockclimbing up technical pitches, and hiking back down, all put together in one trip.
'Alpine style' is the way
in which you do an alpine climb - when you start on the route you go from bottom to top in one go, maybe camping or bivying on the way, and come down again, hopefully. No shuttling, no pre-placed camps, no porters above BC, no fixed ropes. And ideally, no one else on the route to inadvertently show the route and break trail. Below 20,000ft most
alpine climbs are done in alpine-style, but one does not necessarily follow the other. eg. a very difficult rock route on a 12,500ft peak in the Alps may
involve fixing ropes and shuttling up and down.
So an 'alpine climber' does not necessarily
climb in alpine style. A mountaineer can
climb in alpine style, if they climb that particular way described just above (continuous ascent, no fixing, no pre-placing camps etc).
So one is a description of a general
practitioner, the other a description of a specific
'single push' as it is commonly used nowadays is just slightly different, a non-stop
climb, no bivy or camping, no sleeping, other than nodding off at the belay drooling onto your parka ...
An 'alpinist' could
be quite a general term, but traditionally in climbing it means someone who is proficient at all of climbing technical rock and ice pitches, glacier snow slogs, and skiing, maybe all in the one outing. The reason for skiing is that it is considered necessary if one is to be able to travel across any
mountain terrain in any
condition at any
time of year - a complete mountain traveller (particularly in the European Alps, which are quite steep and glaciated). A mountaineer may not be able to climb technical rock, a rockclimber may not be able to ski - so they are not alpinists. Roughly, this skill set is based on what would be required in Europe (the Alps with a capital 'A') to become a fully qualified UIAGM / IMGA guide - which is pretty much the same as required now for the same qualifications in Canada, USA, NZ etc.
'expedition style' - ie. shuttling up and down to place and stock camps, fixing ropes and maybe using porters on the mountain.