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Five more basic questions about climbing mountains

Thanks for asking your five more basic questions about mountain climbing. I will answer them one by one. Remember, Traditional (Alpine) Mountaineering includes on and off trail hiking, scrambling, light weight wilderness backpacking, Leave-No-Trace camping and bivouacking, technical travel and mountaineering on snow, rock and ice, glacier travel, technical rock climbing as well as summitting peaks.

First, I suggest you read our essays about The Sport of Alpine Mountaineering, Climbing Together, Leading, Following, The Mountaineers Rope, the Ten Essential Systems, and the Four Basic Responsibilities of anyone hiking the hills or climbing to the summits. Look at the photos. Read the Information page about dangers hidden to the uninformed, and the mitigation of risks by knowledge, gear and learning from the experiences of others. Check out the Links. Read everything you can.

"How does weather affect mountain climbing?" I guess weather may be the second most important factor after the terrain of the mountain itself. Summer, winter, spring, fall – all have their special factors. Hot summer sun and a long dry scree approach means you will have to carry a lot of water at eight pounds per gallon. The same climb in winter or spring may require just a light Platypus bag and a one pound stove with fuel as the snow offers a smooth but dangerous way to the peak. Heavy rain can destabilize a slope, create a hypothermia danger and make the climbers miserable. Fall weather can kill the inexperienced, ill equipped hiker or climber. Can you think why? Read of the death of Danny Curran at News, on our web.

"How does health affect mountain climbing?" Mountaineering is basically an aerobic sport. A good runner is often a good climber. However, qualities of strength, agility and balance added to aerobic capacity make the best climbers. Sherpas may smoke but it certainly affects them – don’t smoke, it will kill you in very bad ways.

"What was the best part about climbing a mountain?" The best part is climbing with friends. "It is not the summit or the route that I remember, it is the shared companionship of the climb.”

"What was the worst part about climbing a mountain?" The worst part about mountaineering is the altitude gain. To climb South Sister in Summer by the South Ridge, you have to lug your body weight and your gear UP 5,000 feet in the air. If you are really fit, and climbing with considerate companions, it can be a joyful struggle.

"Do you enjoy climbing mountains?" Yes, I still enjoy alpine mountaineering. Read the essay Sport, to see how I got started.  See the Photos depicting the fun of summitting peaks. I am 79 and I have been mountaineering off and on for 40 years. It is a very healthy sport if you try to know what you are doing and don’t get hurt or killed.
--On Belay, Bob Speik




Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can in part, be mitigated


  About Alpine Mountaineering:
  The Sport of Alpine Mountaineering
  Climbing Together
  Following the Leader
  The Mountaineers' Rope
  Basic Responsibilities       Cuatro Responsabiliades Basicas de Quienes Salen al Campo
  The Ten Essential Systems        
Los Diez Sistemas Esenciales

  Suggested Leader's Guidelines and Needed Information:
  Suggested Leader Guidelines    Suggested information you should receive from your organized Leaders
Sign-in Agreements, Waivers and Prospectus     This pdf form will need to be signed by you at the trail head
Sample Prospectus    Make sure every leader tells you what the group is going to do; print a copy for your "responsible person"
Participant Information Form    This pdf form can be printed and mailed or handed to the Leader if requested or required
Emergency and Incident Report Form    Copy and print this form. Carry two copies with your Essentials 
Participant and Group First Aid Kit   
Print this form. Make up your own first aid essentials (kits) 

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The Three Sisters and Broken Top
South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister (the sinister sister) and Broken Top in the Three Sisters Wilderness near Bend, Oregon USA
Copyright© 2004 - 2007 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.