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Beginner needs help

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Beginner needs help

Postby JK » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:18 am

A little bit about me: A student in the middle of nowhere in Illinois, backpacking (cascades and sierras) + indoor climbing experience, lived an alpine life vicariously through summitpost for the last couple of years (thanks for the trip reports, awesome photos and the words of wisdom).
Since I am going to graduate in a year, I have decided to take the plunge and invest time + money on learning the right techniques this year. To learn the techniques of off-trail alpine travel, I am planning to sign up for an intro mountaineering course in the summer. I am seriously considering AAI's 6 day class + baker summit but would love to hear about any other suggestions that the experts here might have. AAI's was less expensive than alpine ascents and mountain madness. Since I can take off for > 6 days (more like 10-12) I am interested in doing some off-trail alpine exploration (like the ptarmigan or isolation traverse say, as an example) after the class but without signing up for a guided service as I cannot afford it. I do not want to do this solo and I do not know anyone experienced who could be a partner. I do not care for the area or the number of summits. I just want to learn the skills so I can confidently navigate through the mountains for scenery and solitude. Suffering is ok as long as I can get back home and not go to the hospital. Is there a good way I can explore the mountains (off-trail) as a poor newbie with no mentor?
Please help.

Here's my new year gift to all the summitposters with no adventure this winter:http://www.cascadecrusades.org/SkiMountaineering/pickettraverse/pickettraverse2010/pickets2010.htm
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Re: Beginner needs help

Postby rgg » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:58 am

You can do worse than start by reading Alpinism 101 - An Introduction. And then just find other people that are happy to have you come along and explore the world.

Good luck, and happy new year.
Rob
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Re: Beginner needs help

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:13 pm

First off, I would recommned American Alpine Institute's courses. IF money is not an issue, you could do a 12 day alpine leadership course or some such thing. From a purely pedagalogical view, this would be the most eficient use of your time. If you do a Cascades trip, do it in July. I don't think soloing even easy mountaineering/alpine routes in the Cascades is a good thing to do. It is a rugged, unforgiving range. If you decide to do some extra curcicular climbing, hook up with a partner. Casscadeclimbers.com is a good place for this. There are also a few very active Cascade Range clmbers who lurk hrere.
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Re: Beginner needs help

Postby JK » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:40 am

I would love to go on the 12 day class but can't afford the 2200$. Is there a reason to prefer July (as against mid Aug)? I will check out cascadeclimbers for partners too. Thanks.
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Re: Beginner needs help

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:29 pm

August is good too, stable weather and yet the creveasses on Baker, etc should be fine.
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Re: Beginner needs help

Postby Wastral » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:38 am

JK wrote:Here's my new year gift to all the summitposters with no adventure this winter:http://www.cascadecrusades.org/SkiMountaineering/pickettraverse/pickettraverse2010/pickets2010.htm


Learning is no more than doing. Don't need a course. Won't teach anymore than you can learn by reading a book. Otherwise its all about doing. You will learn far more planning your own trip. Packing your own crap. Learning what crap you don't need. Planning your own route and how to read the lay of the land and applying that to reading a map.

Personally, all such courses are a waste of money except the emergency Aid classes. What said classes DO DO FOR YOU is get you in contact with others who are like minded. Problem is you are in Illinois and most if not all those in said class with you will be from Washington State.

You want to do it this summer? July? Good time to go. 2nd week of July onwards is great. You can traverse the picket range with nothing harder than class 3. If its harder than this you are OFF route. Quite easy to do in the pickets for someone who doesn't have experience reading the lay of the land.

I may be available, but best place to find a partner would be as others have said cascadeclimbers.com or nwhikers.net. Warning there are a lot of old women/men at heart who are afraid of their own shadows when it comes to going "off route" for the uninitiated.

Take extra food and plan on having route finding issues.

Yup that link along with all of their adventures is an awesome resource and place to learn what to do and what you can do. Those guys started off no different than you and worked into bigger and badder stuff until they got into white water kayaking for seeking thrills. It cost them their best friend doing that though. I have done just enough white water creek/river kayaking to be scared spitless of it honestly. Makes mountaineering look safe. I so far know personally have lost 2 friends lost to white water kayaking. I will admit traveling a river in a kayak is an amazing experience, but don't take it too far.

You will note in his chronology he has never gone white river kayaking again down small creeks. Only large rivers and no more than class III.

RIP Ben Manfredi.

Thrills are one thing, dieing is another.
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Re: Beginner needs help

Postby JK » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:56 pm

Wastral wrote:
JK wrote:Here's my new year gift to all the summitposters with no adventure this winter:http://www.cascadecrusades.org/SkiMountaineering/pickettraverse/pickettraverse2010/pickets2010.htm


Learning is no more than doing. Don't need a course. Won't teach anymore than you can learn by reading a book. Otherwise its all about doing. You will learn far more planning your own trip. Packing your own crap. Learning what crap you don't need. Planning your own route and how to read the lay of the land and applying that to reading a map.


I agree. They are pricey and after reading all the advice (on the internet) on how to not take the cascades lightly, It would be reckless on my part to ignore the techiques and take it easy. I would rather do this once and build the contacts + confidence from here

Personally, all such courses are a waste of money except the emergency Aid classes. What said classes DO DO FOR YOU is get you in contact with others who are like minded. Problem is you are in Illinois and most if not all those in said class with you will be from Washington State.


That is precisely why I want to go on a trip immediately after the class. So I can be confident about what I am getting myself into and enjoy the area with like-minded folks.
You want to do it this summer? July? Good time to go. 2nd week of July onwards is great. You can traverse the picket range with nothing harder than class 3. If its harder than this you are OFF route. Quite easy to do in the pickets for someone who doesn't have experience reading the lay of the land.


Really? I should really look into Pickets then (depending on the partners). It was out of my radar since many trip reports suggested that even a traverse is too complex for a first timer.

I may be available, but best place to find a partner would be as others have said cascadeclimbers.com or nwhikers.net. Warning there are a lot of old women/men at heart who are afraid of their own shadows when it comes to going "off route" for the uninitiated.

Take extra food and plan on having route finding issues.


Do let me know if you are available (~ July 25 - Aug 15). I will post a request for partners once I get my dates sorted out.
Thanks for the advice.

Yup that link along with all of their adventures is an awesome resource and place to learn what to do and what you can do. Those guys started off no different than you and worked into bigger and badder stuff until they got into white water kayaking for seeking thrills. It cost them their best friend doing that though. I have done just enough white water creek/river kayaking to be scared spitless of it honestly. Makes mountaineering look safe. I so far know personally have lost 2 friends lost to white water kayaking. I will admit traveling a river in a kayak is an amazing experience, but don't take it too far.

You will note in his chronology he has never gone white river kayaking again down small creeks. Only large rivers and no more than class III.

RIP Ben Manfredi.

Thrills are one thing, dieing is another.


Yes. That is most unfortunate. At that skill level, it is very easy for an adventure to turn into a serious situation.
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