Newbie perhaps asking dumb questions...

12:52 a.m. on June 24, 2004 (EDT)
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... but at least I am bothering to ask them instead of going out and doing something dumb.
First off, does anyone know of some place reputable to learn proper ice axe usage and general knowledge of more technical mountaineering skills other than an extended NOLS trip.
Secondly, I am looking to hear from anyone who has bagged peaks in the Collegiate Range of Colorado or hiked through the Weminuche Wilderness also in Colorado, I am trying to decide where to head on a trip this August.
My current situation is that I have some experience, have been to a few cool places, and walked around some great country in the western US and southern Canada. I am at the point where the more I learn about backpacking and climbing, the more I realize I don't know and really should before doing the kind of things I really would like to do. I have been out with some reputable summer camping organizations, and have the basics of extended backpacking pretty well understood, but know very little about safe mountaineering practices and more advanced knowledge of dangerous situations, rescues, weather conditions, and terrain evaluation. Perhaps I am over thinking this, but after seeing Touching the Void and Into Thin Air, I am a little more cautious even about my seemingly less serious endeavors in the Rockies.
Any thoughts on the above would be appreciated.
SCS

4:02 p.m. on June 24, 2004 (EDT)
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408 forum posts
Go to the snow...

Quote:

First off, does anyone know of some place reputable to learn proper ice axe usage and general knowledge of more technical mountaineering skills other than an extended NOLS trip.

You might try a guide service located near any place that has at least seasonal snow or glaciers. Most offer a day of introductory ice axe usage.

Quote:

...but know very little about safe mountaineering practices and more advanced knowledge of dangerous situations, rescues, weather conditions, and terrain evaluation.

Hard to learn about some of that stuff in less than a whole lifetime or ten...

Outside the scope of a short, half day class.

You might try to find a mentor through a local climbing/mountaineering club.

As they say, good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement... Er something like that.

Read up in Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills and/or the like, and get out there. Start small. Yada yada.

There's a lot of stuff to know. Sometimes, with some common sense, you can fake it.

Brian in SLC

2:31 p.m. on June 29, 2004 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
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938 forum posts

Hi Skander, welcome to Trailspace.

Brian's advice is, as usual, spot-on.

Do your homework: Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills is a great place to start reading. It covers a lot of the topics you asked about -- weather, routefinding, leadership and judgement, in addition to the technical nuts and bolts (no pun intended, but it does talk about both) including knots, crampon technique, etc.

Once you feel comfortable with the basic concepts, head for the hills and hire a reputable guide service to get some on-mountain training and practice. You'll begin to discover a lot of nuances that the books only hint about, and build experience putting the techniques to use in the real world. And any guide worth his salt should be able to give you an honest assessment of your abilities and what sort of routes you should realisticly expect to be able climb.

Of course, unless you have an unlimited guiding budget, you'll eventually want to find yourslef a regular climbing partner or partners. Start hanging around the local crags, climbing shops, etc. and you'll eventually hook up with somebody who shares your goals and abilities. If you're lucky you'll find a more experienced climber who's willing to be your mentor.

-Dave

3:44 p.m. on August 22, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: Go to the snow...

..community colleges or college or university may have a night school class in mountaineering, with trips scheduled on the weekends.

I started out in a community college program, rope leader the next year class, and "drafted" in to Mt. Rescue.

The class consisted of mandatory lectures, Thursday night, if you wanted to go on the trip the next weekend. The presentations in class, followed by practical experience on the weekends, resulted in some excellent training !

July 25, 2014
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