mountaineering $$

9:23 p.m. on February 17, 2007 (EST)

How do mountaineers fund their trips? Is it possible to get paid to become an explorer/mountaineer?

7:28 p.m. on February 18, 2007 (EST)
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I'd think most folks who climb/mountaineer have jobs...its a hobby for most, in spare time from working full time.

Probably the rare job out there, but, you'd have to report to "the man", methinks. Competition also seems fierce, with kids going to collage for degrees to give them the edge.

Personally, I've never wanted to mix vocation with vacation.

-Brian in SLC

7:49 p.m. on February 18, 2007 (EST)
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Complex question that would require a book to answer. But, a few sources of funding -

1. There are folks who spend time as professional guides, just as there are professional fishing and hunting guides. Some of them set up guide services, some work for guide services, some free-lance. There are certification programs that attempt to assure competency, and some states (and some countries) require such certification (same as fishing, hunting, etc guides).

2. Some people participate in climbing competitions. This is a relatively recent development in the history of climbing, but there is prize money to be had and for the top ones, appearance money.

3. Some folks are just rich. Many of the early climbers were rich Englishmen who paid professional guides to go with them up mountains.

4. Some governments paid climbers to climb for the glory of the Fatherland (Nazi Germany did that).

5. Some expeditions are funded as scientific research projects by governments or scientific foundations (e.g., National Geographic in the US).

6. Some people spend their vacation money on climbing instead of wasting it on gambling in Las Vegas or laying around on the beach, ogling the beach bunnies.

7. There is some grant money available through climbing associations for special expeditions or to support promising young climbers.

8. Some people have occupations that use climbing - such as nature photographers who include lots of photos of climbing in their portfolios, or riggers who climb in their off-duty hours. Or some who run climbing websites (who do we know who does this?)

9. It is rumored that some climbers have funded their climbing through various questionable activities (such as outlined in a book soon to come out concerning a plane that crashed in a lake in the Sierra with a cargo of controlled agricultural materials).

10. The vast majority are just dirtbags who scrounge enough cash to barely fund their climbing, often through odd jobs. In the UK in the 1960s, many climbers lived on the dole for half or more of the year, then repaired to the Alps or Cloggy for the summer (or even to the Himalaya, in the cases of several famous Brits from the Midlands). Some of these dirtbags manage to manufacture gear which they sell from the backs of their cars until they build up a multi-million dollar business selling climbing hardware or outdoor clothing. The rest of us just continue to live like dirtbags (closely related to ski bums, which some are in the winter, when not being climbing bums in the summer).

Oh, yeah, your last question - is it possible to become a paid explorer/climber? Yup. If you are clever and talented enough, you too can build a multimillion dollar business in "lifestyle" clothing or climbing gear. If you are not quite clever or talented enough, you stay a dirtbag all your life, like the majority of climbers (or else find a different occupation).

12:56 p.m. on February 19, 2007 (EST)
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Or some who run climbing websites (who do we know who does this?)

Hmmm. Unfortunately it's all too easy to wind up in front of the computer all day, picking away at some to-do list instead of being out climbing or skiing or whatever else you'd really prefer to be doing. :-)

11:43 a.m. on February 20, 2007 (EST)
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I hear ya, Dave. I took early retirement among other reasons to give me time to do more than the hurried weekend trip. But I seem to be doing fewer days climbing than when I was working for a living. At least I have 15 nights sleeping in the snow and ice since January 1, which is more than usual this early in the year. But only 5 days skiing and 1 climbing on water ice. And February is almost over.

June 21, 2018
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