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A Beginner's Order of Investment

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A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby ascasson » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:33 am

Hi folks!

First, I'm new to climbing. Second, I'm going to need gear to climb -- obviously.

I have established some goals for my first season, most of which include (rock/snow) climbing education. I'm likely attempting Mt. Hood (SS) in May or early June, and I'd like to get to Adams. I'll also be doing some multi-day backpacking trips.

What gear is worth buying in my first season, and what should I just rent? What can I invest in that will set me up for the first few seasons of alpine climbing?

I'm sorry if these are vague questions. Ultimately, any investment direction will help.

Thank you! :)

Ant
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:46 am

I would focus on buying personal gear, rather than shared gear like ropes, racks, tents, stoves, as you will likely be climbing with more experienced partners who should already own that gear.

Clothing
Boots (lightly insulated, full shank, leather boots (LS Nepal Evo, Scarpa Mont Blac, whatever fits best)
Crampons
Ice axe
Harness
Helmet
Headlamp
Backpack (50 liter climbing pack)
Sleeping bag ~20 degree
Sleeping pad
HMS carabiner
Belay device

There is a fairly flexible and comprehensive list of clothing and other gear specific to Rainier, but good for any 4,000 meter peak in CONUS, the Alps, Rockies, etc http://www.summitpost.org/so-you-want-t ... ier/507227
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby lcarreau » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:16 am

Nothing like a good pair of boots ! :!:

When I first started out several years ago, THIS is what was playing on the AM Radio ..

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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby bkva » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:56 pm

When I started, I purchased everything that I could use elsewhere just in case the alpine climbing didn't work out. For example, I purchased all of my own shells and insulating layers, which could all be used in everyday life. I didn't buy boots and crampons until I knew for sure that I was committed to alpine climbing.
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby ascasson » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:04 pm

bkva wrote:When I started, I purchased everything that I could use elsewhere just in case the alpine climbing didn't work out. For example, I purchased all of my own shells and insulating layers, which could all be used in everyday life. I didn't buy boots and crampons until I knew for sure that I was committed to alpine climbing.



I thought about this before posting, and I do agree. Thinking you want to do something and knowing you want to do something are different things; I'll heed your advice.

This is definitely good help, guys. Thank yall!
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby Kai » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:04 pm

I'd pretty much agree with this list, except I would put clothing last, not first. I'd spend my first dollars on boots, then buy the rest of the stuff, and whatever money I have left over I'd spend on clothing. You can get serviceable clothing quite cheap if you don't have to have the latest high-tech stuff. Cheap fleece, army surplus, wool, and old school waterproofs will still work. If you do have some money left over and want to buy high-tech clothing, buy it off of ebay or Sierra Trading post or the like.

Also, note that boots for climbing snow and ice are not the same as boots that you would use for multi-day backpacking. For multi-day backpacking, the best "boots" are not boots, but trail running shoes.


ExcitableBoy wrote:I would focus on buying personal gear, rather than shared gear like ropes, racks, tents, stoves, as you will likely be climbing with more experienced partners who should already own that gear.

Clothing
Boots (lightly insulated, full shank, leather boots (LS Nepal Evo, Scarpa Mont Blac, whatever fits best)
Crampons
Ice axe
Harness
Helmet
Headlamp
Backpack (50 liter climbing pack)
Sleeping bag ~20 degree
Sleeping pad
HMS carabiner
Belay device

There is a fairly flexible and comprehensive list of clothing and other gear specific to Rainier, but good for any 4,000 meter peak in CONUS, the Alps, Rockies, etc http://www.summitpost.org/so-you-want-t ... ier/507227
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:47 pm

Kai wrote:I'd pretty much agree with this list, except I would put clothing last, not first. I'd spend my first dollars on boots, then buy the rest of the stuff, and whatever money I have left over I'd spend on clothing. You can get serviceable clothing quite cheap if you don't have to have the latest high-tech stuff. Cheap fleece, army surplus, wool, and old school waterproofs will still work. If you do have some money left over and want to buy high-tech clothing, buy it off of ebay or Sierra Trading post or the like.

Also, note that boots for climbing snow and ice are not the same as boots that you would use for multi-day backpacking. For multi-day backpacking, the best "boots" are not boots, but trail running shoes.


ExcitableBoy wrote:I would focus on buying personal gear, rather than shared gear like ropes, racks, tents, stoves, as you will likely be climbing with more experienced partners who should already own that gear.

Clothing
Boots (lightly insulated, full shank, leather boots (LS Nepal Evo, Scarpa Mont Blac, whatever fits best)
Crampons
Ice axe
Harness
Helmet
Headlamp
Backpack (50 liter climbing pack)
Sleeping bag ~20 degree
Sleeping pad
HMS carabiner
Belay device

There is a fairly flexible and comprehensive list of clothing and other gear specific to Rainier, but good for any 4,000 meter peak in CONUS, the Alps, Rockies, etc http://www.summitpost.org/so-you-want-t ... ier/507227

Agreed. My list was not exactly in order, just the things one would need immediately to accomplish the OP's stated goals. Few items have the ability to make or break a trip like boots do. Get an ill fitting pair, or a pair not meant for the task and it can make your life miserable.
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby Fletch » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:57 pm

Get your "system" down as soon as you can. It starts with boots (and socks, and liners). Then find a pack that you like and allows you to do the things you want - you dont need an 80L pack for Hood and if Hood is the 'limit' of what you want to do, then think of a light and fast 'system.' If Hood is the presumed beginning, then go cheap and see what works well and what doesn't. Find the brand of gloves you like, find out if you are a balaclava guy or a facemask guy. Get your eyewear dialed in, what kind of pants do you like. Water system, etc...

Start with boots. Then go get the 10 essentials. Find a backpack. Then start, as Kai said, to look around for stuff at gear sales, army surplus, online, and borrow stuff from friends - don't go out and blow a grand on the newest and greatest. Next - find out if you are an overnight guy - if you are, look into bags, pads, tents, cooking stuff, etc...

Then go out for trekking poles, ice axe, crampons, helmet - then and only then, if you really like this stuff - go get some intro technical gear (harness, belay device, biners). Once you get to this point, you'll need another room in your house and you'll be on the forums asking the difference between Bluewater and New England ropes... it'll happen fast. good luck.
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby mountainsandsound » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:52 pm

I was backpacking and hiking before I got into mountaineering. So when I made the transition it was nice having the gear that will work for both activities if you like to do both. Buying gear that will work for both when you can would be my advice, although of course you will be making trade offs sometimes with that philosophy too. But you won't end up with an overflowing closet or garage of gear as quickly, which becomes stressful and irritates (non-climber) girlfriends.

Also, I would like to give you my two cents about boots. There is no perfect boot for backpacking and mountaineering, but you can get a boot that will work well (but be overkill) for backpacking and be perfectly sufficient for easier snow/glacier routes when the routes are in shape and where front pointing on hard ice is not done. A stiff-soled "backpacking" boot with a close-cropped sole and good ankle support has been good for me. I prefer leather and a rubber toe rand. I have used this type of boot for hiking/backpacking, cross-country trekking, lots of scrambling, and a few low-angle glacier/snow climbs last summer in prime conditions.

Another piece of advice, get boots from a place that has a no questions asked return policy like REI or sierra trading post. It's hard to see how a boot will perform by just walking around the store or your house. Sometimes it takes a few miles on the trail to realize the boots hate your feet.
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby ascasson » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:43 am

Thank you all very much!

What about renting boots for the first couple climbs?
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby mountainsandsound » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:20 pm

ascasson wrote:
What about renting boots for the first couple climbs?


That is not a bad idea for the volcanoes. I think plastic boots would be all that you could rent, likely Scarpa Invernos. For Hood and Adams they are probably a bit more than you would need, but they aren't as bad as some people make them out to be. I have a pair of Scarpa Invernos I snagged for 10 bucks from a thrift store. A bit clunkier than lots of the other options out there, but warm and waterproof.
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:52 pm

mountainsandsound wrote:
ascasson wrote:
What about renting boots for the first couple climbs?


That is not a bad idea for the volcanoes. I think plastic boots would be all that you could rent, likely Scarpa Invernos. For Hood and Adams they are probably a bit more than you would need, but they aren't as bad as some people make them out to be. I have a pair of Scarpa Invernos I snagged for 10 bucks from a thrift store. A bit clunkier than lots of the other options out there, but warm and waterproof.

+1

Also, look at Sierratradingpost.com for great deals on outdoor gear. If you don't have a specific brand in mind, you can almost always find good quality clothing, boots, and gear at generously discounted prices. They are a very good retailer to do business with and have an excellent return policy.
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby ascasson » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:41 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:
mountainsandsound wrote:
ascasson wrote:
What about renting boots for the first couple climbs?


That is not a bad idea for the volcanoes. I think plastic boots would be all that you could rent, likely Scarpa Invernos. For Hood and Adams they are probably a bit more than you would need, but they aren't as bad as some people make them out to be. I have a pair of Scarpa Invernos I snagged for 10 bucks from a thrift store. A bit clunkier than lots of the other options out there, but warm and waterproof.

+1

Also, look at Sierratradingpost.com for great deals on outdoor gear. If you don't have a specific brand in mind, you can almost always find good quality clothing, boots, and gear at generously discounted prices. They are a very good retailer to do business with and have an excellent return policy.


Should I go to an REI (I'm in Seattle/Portland often, and each has a huge REI) and try different sizes and buy online?
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby mountainsandsound » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:06 pm

You could, but REI is actually fairly limited in their selection, I think because they don't cater to climbers that much anymore. I am a big fan of Sierratradingpost. It is sort of a craps shoot as to what they have in stock, but the pricing is very good (you can make it better by getting readily available 20% off coupons found online), their return policy is unreal, and the customer service is excellent. If there are a pair of boots on there you want to try out, you could buy a couple pair of whatever size you might want, and return the ones you don't. The return shipping is only $6 for whatever you don't keep. You can also return them whenever in whatever condition as well. Last time I looked there were several different pairs of heavier duty "backpacking" boots with some really still soles if you do decide to go that route. Again, I personally like this style as a catch-all boot that can do backpacking/cross-country trekking/alpine scrambling/and even some glaciers and volcanoes in the summer time depending on conditions. If you did plan to do something that actually required a legitmate mountaineering boot, you could always rent the plastics when the time comes. Good luck, it might take you a bit of work to get your preffered system down.
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Re: A Beginner's Order of Investment

Postby Kai » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:44 pm

Don't know if it will be helpful or not, but I have some general information on mountain boots on my blog, here:

http://www.larsonweb.com/boots/
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