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Mountaineering

The term Mountaineering at one spectrum can include peak bagging, where little technical skills and equipment is needed to reach the summit of the mountain. At the other end of the spectrum, Mountaineering can be full blown expeditions to the highest peaks on earth in terrible weather conditions. Also known as Alpinism, this can be a very challenging and hence rewarding experience. It is important I note that it can be as dangerous as you want it to be as many large mountains are more like a afternoon hike and require no training or danger.

The more challenging forms of Mountaineering can be more dangerous and require condition and skill training in advance. The famous Seven Summits Mountaineers strive to climb are Everest, Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid, Denali, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, and Vinson. These 8,000 plus meter mountains scattered around the world are an incredible experience when the climb is accomplished.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Mountaineering resources. We have a Mountaineering forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Mountaineering how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Mountaineering books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Intro


Okay, so you love heights and wish to explore the mountainous terrains around you! If you wish to learn mountaineering for the endeavor, then this is the right place for you as you will now learn quite a bit about mountaineering basics, rules and etiquettes, physical fitness and equipment required for mountaineering. To cut it short, you are going to learn the basics so that you can start your mountaineering expedition to feel that adrenaline rush through your body.




Physical fitness


A pre-requisite of mountaineering is physical fitness. You require strength and endurance for climbing. Thus, to make it a safe climb you need to go through preparation and training to condition your body and your mindset. Physical conditions are very demanding and you need to workout specifically for mountaineering. However, you can make it an enjoyable exercise by keeping yourself motivated. Every person`s body is different and hence, every person needs to progress at his/her own speed and pace, depending upon how much of physical exercise can one endure at a point of time. First and foremost you need to get a medical checkup done so that you are fully aware of your present health condition. Based on this, you need to minimize potential problems and chalk out a fitness regime for yourself.


 


Before you start your regular fitness schedule, you should practice a few stretching exercises. This will relax the tension in your muscles and will make it more flexible, thus preventing injuries and strain. Another important aspect of climbing, or for that matter, any physically demanding job, is breathing properly. You should learn a few breathing exercises to increase your capacity to breathe efficiently. Cardiovascular stamina is also very necessary for mountaineering. You should try various physical activities like running, stepping, swimming, and bicycling to increase your cardiovascular stamina and level of endurance. This will also strengthen your leg muscles that will help you for climbing. As you progress with physically demanding exercises, you can increase their duration. While practicing running up and down the stairs, you can start doing so with some load on your back. Keep increasing the load as you progress. Mountaineering is done on rugged terrains so try practicing the same on rocky local site.




Rules and Regulations of Mountaineering


Like any other sport, mountaineering too has some basic rules to be followed. Always keep them in mind so that you can make the most of your expedition. Before you set off, be sure that you are absolutely fit for this kind of strenuous activity. People who are out of shape or not medically fit have more chances of getting injured and having accidents. This is sure to come in the way of your fellow mountaineers too. Additionally, you should also make sure that you have good equipment and adequate food and water to meet your requirements. Always try to carry out the activity within a team so that there are people around when you need help. You should also be well informed about the mountain you wish to climb. For this, you can either join an expedition team that already knows about the mountain or you should carry the latest trail map of the same.




A very important thing to do before climbing is to inform people of your climb so that they can look out for you if you do not get there on the scheduled time. On your way up or down, preserve the surroundings. Do not litter the place and do not take anything from the mountain. Use products that are eco-friendly and do not pollute water by any means. Always follow the instructions of your team leader and do not trail. It not only causes harm to nature, but also increases your chances of getting lost. You might feel like going on, but when the odds are against you, do not climb any further.




Plan your Climb


Before embarking upon your trip, you need to know your climbing area very well. Find out how difficult is it to climb the mountain of your choice and how long is it going to take. People who have already climbed that mountain can help you with tips and advice. It is better if someone, who knows the mountain or the trail, can join you during your campaign. Though weather conditions depend upon the time of the year you are climbing, it is said that anything can happen on the mountains. So, you should be ready for the unexpected. Do not forget to carry along all the necessary equipment, food, water, jackets, first-aid kit, extra clothing, flash, etc. You can water proof your bags by placing a plastic bag inside the bag you wish to carry. Additionally, you should also wear proper clothes that allow you freedom of movement. You should prepare your body for the physical hardships expected and your mindset to deal with these hardships with a calm and poised attitude.




Mountaineering Equipment


Mountaineering is simple if you are trekking or hiking. However, the same task becomes very tough and risky if you take on ice-mountaineering. If you wish to attempt ice-mountaineering, you should have the basic knowledge of how to use crampons and the ice-axe. You should also have a sound knowledge of rope-work and knots and have advanced skills of navigation. Winter mountaineering has more risk involved as there are chances of suffering from medical conditions like hypothermia or from mountain hazards like crevasses and snow slopes. Some equipments required for ice-mountaineering are crampons, ice axes, ropes, harnesses, sleeping bags, tents, alpine backpacks, map, compass, shovel, whistle, first aid kit, waterproof pants and jackets, woolens, snow boots, sunglasses, and of course food and water.




Once you have made your self physically fit and have equipped your self with the necessary equipment and knowledge, you are ready for your mountain expedition. So, start with it right away and get going for the adventure of a lifetime, which is sure to come time and time again as you fall in love with the mountains and their beauty.