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Akshay Bedi Apr 16 2014

10 things to keep in mind when going mountain climbing

Anupriya Bedi Apr 16 2014
2 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes
Here are 10 things to keep in mind when going mountain climbing. Mountaineering is just not about climbing summits or peaks but about challenging and improving ourselves. Like William Blake famously said: “Great things are done when men and mountains meet’’.

While climbing a mountain, each day is a challenge and a pleasure as the landscape slowly unfolds right in front of your eyes revealing its treasures and unexplored beauty. Mountain climbing can be a dangerous activity if done without prior planning and training. Not being fully prepared for mountain climbing can result in serious injuries and accidents. So here are some quick pointers to keep in mind before setting off on a mountain climbing holiday.

1. Choose the location and time carefully

Choosing the right peak or summit to climb is of utmost importance. It depends on two factors mainly--budget and physical endurance. For example, Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is definitely a big ‘NO’ for a beginner. Research the best time to climb mountains in different regions of the world as there are different alpine seasons across the globe. For example, in Europe the best time for mountaineering is between July and September whereas in New Zealand, the best time to go mountain climbing would be between December and March.

Photo of Shimshal Mountaineers (by Hasil Shah)

2. Research: Read books and watch DVDs

One should definitely do extensive research either by reading books on mountaineering or going through blogs written by experienced mountaineers. One can also watch DVDs to get information. For book lovers, Mountaineering: The Freedom Of Hills by Steve M. Cox and Kris Fulaas is worth a read.

Photo of some recommended Mountaineering books (by Summit Post)

3. Be mentally prepared

Being mentally prepared for mountain climbing is as important as being physically fit. Mountaineering is an extreme sport and definitely involves pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. You have to be ready to deal with the unexpected. You also must be smart enough not to push your body beyond its pain threshold. You have to be mentally tough to correctly assess your strengths and weaknesses.

Photo of mountaineers at the starting point of their climb (by Adventure Jay)

4. Be physically prepared

Being physically at your best is the only factor of the mountain climbing that is within your control. You can start getting yourself in shape by walking, hiking or running. You can also practice climbing by doing some rock wall climbing, indoor climbing or taking an ice climbing lesson as these increase your physical strength.

Photo of Running (by Ralph Daily)

Photo of Hiking (by Farm)

5. Get the right mountain gear

Acquiring the right mountain gear is an essential prerequisite for mountaineering. You can either buy yourself a new gear kit or hire it from someone. In case you are hiring the gear, be sure that you hire it from a reputable outfitter. But do remember the principle of travelling light without compromising on safety since it’s you who will have to carry your bag throughout the climb.

Photo of Mountain Gear (by Slodave)

Photo of Mountain Gear (by Mouser Williams)

6. Get the right training

If it is your first climb, enroll in a training programme. Mountain clubs run specialized courses in skills like ice climbing, descending, crevasse rescue, glacier walking and self arrest techniques. You can also get extensive training in climbing techniques as well as safety and first aid techniques.

Photo of Rock Wall climbing (by ShareAlike 2.5)

Photo of Indoor Climbing Training (by Romary)

7. Know all about camping

Camping is the ‘first’ step before climbing a mountain as you usually set a base camp which serves as a departure point and sometimes your only shelter for the days with inclement weather.

Photo of a base camp (by Josh Lewis)

8. Learn about personal hygiene practices and mountaineering ethics

Learning about mountaineering ethics and personal hygiene practices while mountain climbing is a must. Respect for Mother Nature and following the ‘Leave No Trace’ code is very important. Also brush up the Climbing Code before you set off for mountaineering

Photo of ‘Leave No Trace’ set of principles (from the Official Website)

9. Find a good guide for your expedition

Finding a good guide for the climb is worth the effort. A guide will not only help you through the climb but he or she will also be your companion during the journey. You can join a mountain climbing club or group near your city. Network and research the social media to help find a reputed and experienced guide for your climb.

Photo of Mountaineers with their guide (by Adventure Jay)

10. Plan in advance to descend back safely and in time

Since descending is really dangerous and hard, it should be planned properly. Make sure to follow all safety measures and be careful to reach the base camp on time. A lot of accidents tend to take place during the descent. So, be very careful with your descending techniques.

Photo of Descending back the mountain cliff (by benh LIEU SONG)

Now that you know the 10 things to keep in mind when going mountain climbing start packing your bags and get ready to explore Mother Nature.
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