If you enjoy camping or any other outdoor activities, but you feel a need to add something to the experience, then mountaineering will be good for you. Mountaineering is a very simple sport as you only need to go to the top of a chosen mountain. The challenges one will face vary and depend on how big the mountain is and how long you are going to stay in the wilderness. The following are a few things that novice mountaineers need to know when engaging in the sport:
Learn the basic mountaineering terms
Learning mountaineering terminology is very important when one wants to know more about the sport and understand the rest of this article. Mountains are usually categorized according to height. In the United States, a mountain that is at least 14,000 feet is known as a 14er while the rest of the word uses meters which makes 4kers to 8kers common. Mountain climbing is also graded by ‘class’ which is usually determined by steepness or exposure of the mountain. A mountain that has less exposure to danger is considered as Class 1. The next Class is 2 and 3 which are slightly steeper with few challenging obstacles. Class 4 will mainly involve the hands and the knees while Class 5 is the technical climbing which requires a lot of skills and experience.
Basic skills needed
Most 14ers in the United States have routes that are easy to climb. Examples include Humboldt Peak, Pikes, and Longs. Some of this mountains are usually overcrowded during summer. If you want to start serious mountain climbing, you need to participate in rock climbing at a crag or rock gym which will give you the required skills.
Basic Gear Needed for the Hike
The most important factor here is safety. A cheap tent will not hold up in a strong mountain storm. You should get a 4 season tent which is usually expensive. You will also need a bivy gear and rain protection. Some specifics to bring on a one day Class 1 hike include: a small backpack which should be enough to fit your camping stove and a rain jacket. The rain jacket should be lightweight and made of breathable material. You will also need a water purifier as the water is usually not safe for drinking and small first aid. You will also need food. Two meals will be enough for the hike. If you are starting early before the sun comes up, carry a headlamp. The headlamp should fit around the helmet if you have one and be adjustable to fit around the bare head. Only bring the necessary items when packing. Don’t forget your skin necessities. Being exposed to elements can have damaging results to your skin, bring natural moisturizer for very dry skin.
Planning for the Trip
Planning involves preparing yourself for the event itself. First you will need enough information about the mountain you are going to climb. There is a lot of information on the internet and books about mountain routes. Make sure you read them before any trip. Join a forum and ask questions to get a better understanding. You will also need to carry a lot of pictures of the mountain, a compass and a map during the trip so as to avoid getting lost. You should also be familiar with the weather of that area and always have a plan B in mind. If the route is questionable, you will need to find another one so as to avoid getting lost, meeting wild animals or encountering harsh weather.