Mountaineering 101: 6 Tips to Get You Started
Author: Grace Plant for Expeditions Connect – She is a UK-based freelance writer with a passion for travel and adventure
Are you a casual hiker who is keen to try your hand at mountaineering? Perhaps you’ve experimented with indoor rock climbing, and now you’re ready to take your skills to the next level. Or maybe you’re a complete beginner, but you can hear the mountains calling you.
Even the world’s top mountaineering experts were beginners at one point. They had to learn the basics of the sport before they could progress, and the same is true for all of us.
So, in this post, I’ll break down six essential tips to help get you started on your mountain adventures.
To traverse a mountainside, you need to be pretty fit. So, if you’re not already in good shape, build up your strength and stamina before you dive into your first expedition.
Incorporate walking and stair climbing into your daily routine, and if you have hills in your local area, get out there and explore them on foot.
Practice cardio such as running and cycling, and consider adding some strength training into your workouts.
Think of the mountains that are accessible to you, and research their terrain and conditions. Once you know a little more about where you’re headed, you can tailor your training and preparation appropriately.
Avoid being too ambitious in the beginning. It’s much better to pick an achievable goal than to be disappointed that you didn’t make it to the summit on your first attempt.
A great resource to help you pick your mountain and start planning is summitpost.org. They have a huge amount of information on mountains across the globe to help you prepare for a trip.
There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can dive into without much professional help, but mountaineering isn’t one of them. To stay safe and get the most out of mountaineering, you should always get some basic training from professionals.
At Rise & Summit, we offer training and guiding to suit any level of expertise, including complete beginners. Book with us and you’ll get real-world coaching in things like route planning, logistics, navigation, rock climbing, and avalanche awareness.
Maps are the foundation of mountain adventures; we’d literally be lost without them!
The more you can familiarize yourself with maps and map reading, the better. Use the internet, read books, and consider online courses to build up your knowledge of things like GPS, compass reading, bearings, map contours, and triangulation.
You can practice your map reading skills in the comfort of your own home using real-life routes. Try picking two points on the map and plotting your potential course between them.
Most climates and terrains will require you to layer up. Microfibre materials help to keep you cool and insulated at the same time. And Merino-wool socks will keep your feet warm while wicking away sweat and preventing blisters.
Boots are another integral investment, and it’s worth spending extra to make sure you have a high-quality pair that are both comfortable and protective.
If you’re going to be incorporating climbing into your trips, then you’ll need to consider your helmet, harness, ropes, carabiners, etc. Explore the rest of our blog to find information on the different types of equipment you might need. Or feel free to contact us via email, we are always happy to help.
Plan a realistic pace, and remember that what looks easy on paper may be much tougher in real life. Your pack is heavy, altitude can take a huge toll on your stamina, and weather conditions can change in an instant, even in the summertime.
Make sure to take every safety precaution you learned from your professional training, and consider going with an organised group or with us at Rise and Summit for your first few ascents.