The Basics of Mountain Climbing
How to get started in the challenging sport of mountain climbing
Preparing to Climb Your First Mountain
Mountain climbing gives the climber an exhilarating experience. However, anyone looking to enter the sport needs to understand that it can be dangerous if you are not prepared for the mountain you plan to take on. You need to plan your experience and you need to have the proper equipment before you set out on your challenge.
Have you heard of the following: glissade, crampons, self-arrest? If you answered ‘no’ then you need some training. If you know one but not all of them, you, too, need to learn the basics. There are several ways you can gain the knowledge you need. The first way is to research. There are many great sites on the web that can give you the basic information you need in regards to equipment, methods, and key terms.
You might also turn to a friend who is an experienced climber. S/he may be willing to spend the needed time with you in order to train you in the proper way to climb a mountain. If you can afford the expense one of the best ways to learn everything you need to know is to join a mountain climbing school. Here you will learn the basics. Most schools also offer walls, usually referred to as a ‘rock wall,’ for you to begin your basic climbing. They will also teach you about the equipment as well as how to use it. Whatever you decide just make certain you are prepared before you undertake your first climb.
When you decide you want to begin this sport, after you have received some basic training, you will need to have the proper gear. Usually you can rent the major items needed. This is often the best way to go as you might decide, after your first or second climb, that the sport is not what you want to perfect after all. If you have rented then you will not lose, what can be, a somewhat large monetary investment.
Although some people do not realize the value of being in shape in order to climb a mountain it is really an important aspect of the sport. You should first hit the gym before trying to climb a mountain. You would be wise to concentrate on some activities to increase your leg strength along with stair climbing. Outside the gym you should increase your running distance. Long hikes will also benefit you.
You should put some effort into planning your climb. It is wise to have a minimum of one other person climbing with you. A small group of climbers is a better option. However, under no circumstances should a person start out alone on a climb.
When you are ready for your first climb you have already learned to use your crampons, how to glissade, the self-arrest position, and how to use the ropes. Make certain you have the needed equipment. This will vary depending on the mountain you plan to challenge. If you plan to spend a day then you will not need a tent, for example. Most people begin with a basic mountain so the items you will need include warm clothing. It is better not to have clothing that is made from cotton. Your most important equipment will be your climbing boots along with crampons. You will need to carry a backpack with basic items such as water, food, and a first-aid kit (at a minimum). You will, of course, need rope. In some areas you will also need a climbing permit. Sometimes these are issued at no cost but often there is a charge involved.
During your initial climbs you should try to start early in the day. Always remember to stay with your group and to stay close to the more experienced climbers. During your trip you should make certain to frequently drink fluids and to keep yourself hydrated. After your first climb is under your belt you will, most likely, be hooked and ready to plan your next trip.