Mountaineering Course

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Brianeg

 
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Mountaineering Course

by Brianeg » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:11 am

Hi everyone. I have hiked Mount Whitney and now I have made it a goal to hike all the California 14ers. I have never done mountaineering before and would really like to take a mountaineering course from a local group in the Sierra Nevadas.

I have researched a few groups that do courses but I wanted to hear who everyone would recommend. Who do you recommend and why? Thanks in advance.

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bobpickering

 
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Re: Mountaineering Course

by bobpickering » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:22 pm

Brian, if you had asked this question a year ago, I would have suggested the Sierra Club (Angeles Chapter) SPS group. They teach courses and organize outings all the time. Unfortunately, your timing couldn’t be worse. The Sierra Club cancelled all their activities for 2020 due to COVID-19, the Forest Service has closed all Forest Service land in California due to fires, and there is so much smoke that a sane person wouldn’t go most places right now even if they were open.

First, I would get a couple of books: “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills” and “The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, Trails”. The first will tell you more than you will ever need to know about mountaineering. The second will give you enough ideas for routes to climb in the Sierra to last a lifetime.

I wouldn’t obsess about the 14ers yet. Some of them require ropes and gear and a bunch of skill. I would go get some experience and have some fun climbing easier stuff first. There are hundreds of class 2 and class 3 peaks out there. Many of them are worthwhile moderate day-hikes. When you feel comfortable scrambling and route-finding off trail, you can start picking off the harder 14ers. And you can climb White Mountain Peak and Langley as soon as they open the forests again.

Professional guide services aren’t cheap, but they are a great way to up your skills or climb something you couldn’t do on your own (yet). Sport climbing and gym climbing aren’t the same as mountaineering, but they will help. Feel free to post more questions. I hope this helps.

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Brianeg

 
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Re: Mountaineering Course

by Brianeg » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:11 am

Thanks for the reply bobpickering. I definitely don’t plan on doing a course or start hiking again until next summer. I’m hoping al the Covid stuff will have calmed down by then. But I will look into the Sierra club for some engineering courses. I will also definitely get the books you have recommended. I want to start hiking the 14ers but I only plan on doing class 1-3 14ers for the next few years. Plus some other hikes out there. I wouldn’t do anything harder until years later. This is a great start though! I can read the book from now until summer. Again thanks for the info. I will definitely be asking more questions in the future.

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phydeux

 
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Re: Mountaineering Course

by phydeux » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:19 pm

As bobpickering mentioned, get some experience on lower peaks if you can. Almost all of the 14rs in the Sierra Nevada mountains have class 3 or lower grade routes, so you shouldn't have any issues if you're used to scrambling on boulder fields and hiking up scree (ugh!). Some peaks I wouldn't even consider worth it; example would be Starlight Peak, which I consider just an odd knob on the Palisades ridgeline.

Since you've already done Mt, Whitney by the trail, you could easily do White Mountain next spring, too. Biggest issue there is driving to the trailhead, then its just putting one foot ahead of the other for 7.5 miles. Its also nice to do it as an overnight backpack when there's still snow up top (water source).

The three I can think of that require alpine skills would be North Palisade, Mt Shasta, and Thunderbolt - all require some proficiency with crampons /ice axe /ropes.

Have fun with it.

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bobpickering

 
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Re: Mountaineering Course

by bobpickering » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:54 pm

phydeux wrote:Some peaks I wouldn't even consider worth it; example would be Starlight Peak, which I consider just an odd knob on the Palisades ridgeline.

The summit block is spectacular, and getting there isn’t trivial, no matter which way you go. If it’s too easy for you, you might do it in the winter.


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