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Looking to get in to alpineering

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by CalvinA » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:10 pm

Hi folks,

TLDR; I want seriously take up a alpine mountaineering seriously, I am looking for guidance and mentorship

Total noob when it comes to mixed climbing. I took an introductory ice climbing class over the course of this past winter ( and fell in love with it) In addition, I regularly snowshoe up the 4k peaks in NH regularly. I have a membership at my local indoor climbing gym (Carabineers, in New Bedford) and am reasonably fit.

I am looking to get into the culture of mountaineering, learn how to mix climb, ice climb and within the next 3 years go "alpine style" mountaineering.

What are the best ways to get into the lifestyle safely? What training would you recommend? Etc,
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Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:51 pm

by DonGillespie » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:22 pm

Hi Calvin,
Step one is usually to get familiar with trad climbing, protection, and anchor building. The Rock Program put on by AMC is a good place to start. After you've gotten comfortable with those skills the Ice Program is an optional next step. It tends to have a heavy focus on waterfall ice but the skills are certainly applicable to the alpine. Traditional rock climbing is where you want to start so that you can develop your skills in a slightly more predictable environment before you dive into alpinism.
If the Rock and Ice programs aren't for you then there are plenty of guides up in NH who teach these skills. I took a crevasse rescue course through IME a few years back and an avalanche course through NEM and had good experiences with both.
Check out the gym nights or later in the year Climbers nights if you're interested in connecting with people face to face.

Rock program: http://www.amcbostonclimbers.com/rock-program/
Ice Program: http://www.amcbostonclimbers.com/ice-program/
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Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:36 am

by cwoodall » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:40 pm

I second Don's comments! I do think the AMC Ice Program is a good follow on to the Rock Program, especially if you are not willing to go on guided trips outside of the northeast. A winter hiking course or program (the AMC also offers these), could be a good follow on too if you don't feel ready for the Ice program. There is also a Adirondacks Winter Mountaineering school, which might be more well suited to your aims (https://www.winterschool.org/). Winter in New England, especially off the beaten path or on more technical routes is actually really good training for larger objectives, it will give you an environment to test your skills in. NOTE: don't make the mistake of assuming the risk in New England is significantly lower than in some of the great ranges, yes the mountains are smaller and the conditions can be a little easier; however, the situation is still serious and as a new climber it would be wise to give them the respect they deserve... Avalanches, white out conditions, etc are all still possible in New England and can be just as deadly as their big mountain counterparts.

Also it is helpful to find partners who you can practice these skills, and glacier rescue with.

Anyway, best of luck!
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Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:43 am

by Yuki » Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:15 pm

Hi Calvin

It sounds like you want to do alpine climbing, i.e., climbing on mixed routes, but not like acrobatic ice climbing competition style. The mixed route means the routes are on the rock face covered with snow and ice, like we see them in the Alps.

Taking the climbing courses seems to be one of the quick ways, but it will not be safe for going out your own. Learning climbing techniques are important, but mountaineering safety is another things you have to learn. This is not a complete list of the mountaineering safety topics, but the weather, speed, and efficiency may not be taught in the courses.

Regardless of learning from the courses, you can learn a lot from textbooks. I would recommend to read many different textbooks since there are different techniques and emphasis by authors. An idea of learning from many different textbooks is that you don’t want to miss out any information which may lead to the mountaineering safety.

For an example, one technique/method works on most conditions, but it may not work on the different situation which you may encounter due to the weather changes, loss/damaged of equipment, or anything can occur. Knowledge of many different techniques or “improvised methods” may lead you to succeed safely.

Alpine climbing is wonderful, never get bored! Why am I doing alpine climbing safely last 50 plus years?
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Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:25 pm

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